The Cuckoo’s Nest Roleplaying Game

The past few weeks have been hard for you. Sleeping rough and eating trail rations has taken its toll, wearying you in both body and soul. And over the last day or so, this damned fog has chilled you to the bone. It was with some relief that you spotted the welcoming glow of a wayside inn, looming up out of the fog ahead. The sign creaks in the wind that has blown up suddenly out of nowhere. The pale last light of day enables you to read the faded lettering: The Cuckoo’s Nest. The door stands slightly ajar, allowing the scent of good food and the sound of voices and laughter to drift into the night. Enter, weary traveller.


Copyright ©Jon Jones, December 2006
The Cuckoo’s Nest Role Playing Game is subject to Copyright. The contents of this document may be reproduced free of charge provided that it is reproduced accurately and that the source and copyright status of the material is made evident to users.


Contents

Introduction
Creating a Character
  Character Generation Summary
  Concept
  Races
  Languages
Attributes
  Purchasing Attributes
  Strength
  Endurance
  Aura
Virtues and Flaws
  Virtues
  Flaws
Skills
  Notes on Skills
Liber Maleficarium
  Introduction
  Basic Magical Rules
Spells
  Mysticism
  Wizardry
  Thaumaturgy
  Elementalism
  Sorcery
  Naming Magic
  Prayer
  Channelling
Ritual Magic
Enchanted & Special Items
Playing a Character
  The Excuse
  Costuming & Props
Playing the Game
  The Adventure
  The Freeform
  Special Effects
  The End of the Game
  Game Mechanics
  Monster and Non-player Characters
  Glossary of Game Terms
A Character Archetypes for Quick Play

Introduction

What is a live role-playing game? In essence it is a game of “lets pretend” like the games we played as children, such as “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians”. To resolve a player’s actions and to try and avoid the disputes that characterised such childhood games (“I shot you. You’re dead!” “Am not!”), role-playing games employ a set of rules that help to define a game persona or character, and their abilities and skills. The rules provide a common framework or approach to minimise potential disputes.

To help interpret rules and provide a story for the character to adventure in, the game requires a Games Master or GM. The single most important rule in the game is that the GM is always right. When the GM is wrong see the previous rule. The rules of the game are not written on tablets of stone. They are simply a tool to avoid disputes. If the rules become the source of disputes then something has gone wrong.

In situations where the rules are not clear, or there is nothing relevant to the case in hand then the following principles should be applied to resolve the problem.

The Principle of Absolutism
— The GM is always right.

If a GM makes a call or gives an instruction during play then you must obey them straight away without argument. Debate the point after the game if you must, but during play their word is law.

The Principle of Equity
— If something is fair for one, then it is fair for all.

There are no “special” players, or if you prefer they are all “special”. The GM must always consider the broader impact of their decision and the “worst case scenario” when deciding if something is balanced. In a case where there is a direct conflict between the uses of different skills and abilities and the resolution cannot obviously be established within the rules, the person that has invested the most experience on attaining the ability in question should prevail.

The Principle of Parsimony
— If something seems too good to be true, then it is.

No new skill, virtue, spell, potion or any other game effect should be allowed that broadly replicates an existing game effect on a cheaper basis than is currently available. Be conservative when determining the points value of an ability. If in doubt, always assume that something costs more rather than less.

To play the game the first thing that you must do is create your character (like a character from a play, or book, or film). Then you need to get together an appropriate costume and (safe) weaponry. You will then be thrown into a situation as your character, amongst other people doing the same.

The actual game is like performing a play, with no script and no audience. Each person taking part plays a character and acts out what that character says and does.

The Cuckoo’s Nest is a fantasy game. A world peopled by peasants, warriors, kings and magicians. Your character may: undertake a quest to find a magical sword, rescue kings, and damn or save entire kingdoms. The most important thing is that you have fun whilst doing so.

So, draw up a stool, order a mug of ale, and join the tale-spinning session that’s currently going on around the table next to the fireplace. Begin to add your own tales of high adventure to the chronicles of The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Creating a Character

“Character — the sum and total of a person’s choices.”

— Fitzwater

The character is the fictional personality you will play in the game. The goal is to construct a rich and rewarding game persona for your adventures.

As a player you will, in close conjunction with a Games Master, make up your own character: invent their life story, their desires, feelings, ambitions, moods and thoughts. The character created may be completely different from you. They can be anyone from a lowly street rat to a noble knight; or other, far stranger, things.

All characters start with the same level of ability; just starting out on the road to greater adventure. As they progress through adventures, the character will learn more, from people they meet or just through the raw experience of survival. Eventually, they may become the mightiest of heroes, or the most reviled of villains, their every deed the meat and drink of bards.

Characters initially have 20 points to spend upon Attributes, Virtues and Skills. Up to a further 5 points may be gained by taking character Flaws. This gives most characters a starting total of 25 points to allocate as they wish.

The player needs to make choices in the three basic areas. As the player makes each selection, they narrow down the remaining choices until they have created a fully realised individual, ripe for adventure.

Character Generation Summary

Decide upon a concept for your character. This provides an overview for choosing all other abilities.

  1. Choose Attributes — these are the natural characteristics of the character: the character’s physical strength, endurance and magical potential.
  2. Choose Virtues and Flaws — these are specific game advantages and disadvantages, often tied to the character’s past, that serve to make the character unique.
  3. Choose Skills — these are abilities the character has developed through training and experience.

Archetypes

There are a number of templates for common fantasy character types in Appendix A. These can be used as they are or as inspiration. To play, simply select one, choose a name, make any choices, note the information upon the character sheet, and you’re ready to start.

Concept

This is the basic idea of who your character is. It can be as simple as one word — mercenary, for example. The concept helps you to think of who the character is. One of the best ways to do this is to have an idea of their life before setting out on the road to adventure. Is he a farm boy who’s just had all his family slaughtered and is setting out on the road to revenge? Is she a priest, dedicating her life to good works and converting others? Is the character even human?

Already this gives you ideas for skills and abilities the character might have — the farmer might have the skill Survival, the priest would have Prayers, and a mercenary might have Sword and Sabre. The character archetype section in Appendix A can be a good source of inspiration and a guide to appropriate skills.

Players sometimes forget that these characters are starting out, which is why you’ll find them trying to play mighty warriors, assassins and powerful wizards. This might be what the character eventually becomes. It’s often more fun to play a mighty warrior who was once a peasant, who screamed “fairies!” when an elf appeared. The peasant-turned-warrior will have a real history behind them — everything that happened to make them become a hero of renown.

Part of the concept of your character is their culture and race. The character default is a western medieval culture. What about farther-flung regions of the world? Is there an equivalent of the orient — could you play an oriental, an Arab, or a Mongol tribesman?

Races

One of the stalwarts of fantasy myth and legend is that there are races other than human: Elves, Goblins, Trolls, Dwarves, Ogres and Halflings may all be found within a fantasy world. Before you decide to play a non-human character, there are several things to consider:

Can you play that race?

This may be as simple as someone trying to play a winged creature — flying is a little difficult in live roleplay (LRP). You should also consider whether you are close enough to the physical form of the race to get away with it. Suspension of disbelief is all very well, but many gamers find the idea of a 17 stone nimble wood-elf a little hard to deal with. And 6’4” halflings!

Makeup

Masks and prosthetic makeup can take care of nearly any race you want to play, but can be uncomfortable and take time to put on (and more importantly, to take off). You need to consider whether you want to take the trouble. To play a character of a different race you will need to supply appropriate makeup such as a beard for a Dwarf, or pointed ears for an Elf.

Conflict

In a fantasy world, racism is rife. For a start, there are many superstitious folk, who are likely to react in interesting ways to those of other species. Secondly, creatures like goblins have made such a bad name for themselves that they are likely to be treated with extreme distrust — or possibly the sharp end of a blade. It can be interesting, and fun, to play a misunderstood goblin or troll — but be very careful of the group you plan to adventure with.

Below is a list of suggested races, with brief notes on what they are generally like in a fantasy setting. If you have your own idea for a race, then talk to your GMs.

Dwarves

Dwarves are short, with long beards of which they are inordinately proud. They are artisans and miners of metal, stone and gems, and warriors of great skill. They are known for their dourness, hardiness or sheer stone-headedness. Dwarves and orcs have a long-standing feud. The only form of magic which dwarves seem to practice is Wizardry, at which they excel.

Garulf Dwimmersdeep moved to human lands many years ago and keeps his forge in the village of Hartford. Hes become well known there for his skill as a weaponsmith and a worker of metals — indeed, owning a Hartford Blade is a mark of status amongst the humans. The villagers are very proud of him. Garulf has never revealed his reasons for leaving his home to any of the villagers, but they do know that something very strange surrounds the taciturn dwarf. Every so often, when the night is of a particular type, a group of dwarves will visit his forge bearing a sealed chest, speaking to no one. The forge will be busy all night — sounds of hammering of metal, clouds of smoke and steam, and Dwarven chanting. The next morning, the dwarves will leave again, taking the chest with them. What it is he makes for them, none know. Some think that it is his price for being allowed to leave the Dwarven homeland.

Elves

There are many kinds in myth and literature. There are a few common characteristics of elves though: they have sharp eyes and keen pointed ears [these can be purchased from most LRP companies], grow no facial hair, are slim and agile without the mass of men, and are deeply magical creatures. Elves do not sleep like men but enter a trance.

High Elves

High elves are noble (arrogant) and well educated. Even those of the race who are not mages rely a great deal more on magic than humans.

Liranna Cir-na-derath is an elf of the High Blood. Until recently, she lived at the Halls of her father, Taivore, that stand on an outcrop on the slopes of Veyamon — “Cloudmount” in the human tongue. The Halls look down upon the Great Forest far below. Her folk practice High Magic — the arts of Mysticism, Elementalism and Sorcery. She wishes to learn more of the human magics of Thaumaturgy and Wizardry, and so she has left her home in search of a human tutor.

Wood Elves

Wood elves are far wilder, far shyer than high elves. They are generally small of build, quick, quiet, nimble, and distrustful of humans. They are amongst the best archers, scouts and huntsmen of any land — leaving little trace of their passing and able to almost vanish into the undergrowth.

Ilamor is of the Stanaj — those elves that guard the borders of the Great Forest. His range is one of the nearest to human lands, along the banks of River Ameron. Recently, small groups of raiders — from the human lands, presumably — have been making their way across the river and coming deeper and deeper into the forest, killing one or two of the Stanaj and destroying the hunting trails. Ilamor has asked his Lord’s leave to try to talk to the human lords, believing that he can stop the raiding.

Sidhe (Fey)

Sidhe are the Elves of Celtic legend. Wild, mischievous, the kind of creatures that medieval folk try to keep appeased, they supposedly steal human babies away and leave changelings in their places. The Sidhe seem to live half in the spirit world and half in the material world. Their dual nature gives them magical abilities, often drawn from the Mystic or Sorcery spheres of magic. Scholars have speculated that in ages past some Sidhe chose the material world and became the ancestors of the other Elven races, whilst others chose the spirit world and became woodland spirits and nymphs. Whatever the truth of the matter is, it is likely to remain unknown, for neither Elves nor Sidhe will speak on the subject.

Naroune of the Veils is of the Fey — a mistress of glamour, enchantment and beguilement. She and her companions have built themselves a refuge in the heart of the city of Terun, in amongst the tangled ruins of buildings and tunnels in the old part of the city. They decided on the city partly by accident, and partly because Naroune delights in the amount of life these humans have, and how easy it is to trick them.

They’ve been there three weeks, and they’ve already managed to convince a disillusioned priest that they are the True Gods — she has quite a following now. They have also discovered that humans have to have street signs to work out where they live, and so recently spent a happy night rearranging all the signs in the city — much to the consternation of the townsfolk.

Half Elves

These are the crossbreeds of elves with humans. As crossbreeds, half elves often have little or no place in society. Half elves can favour their human or Elven ancestry and may or may not have pointy ears and some have been known to grow beards.

Halflings

These people are even smaller than dwarves with nowhere near their bulk. Halflings are quick and soft footed, with keen eyes and excellent hand-eye co-ordination. Halflings do not possess a great aptitude for the magic arts.

Obtena has travelled with the Big Folk for over a fortnight now, and is beginning to think there might be something wrong with them: they are very serious; more so than she thinks is healthy. Still, she shakes them up every so often with a practical joke or two — they don’t seem to mind...too much.

Half Orcs

These are crossbreeds of Orcs and Humans. With near the bulk of a great Orc and the wit and cunning of man, these creatures are extremely dangerous as foes. They often live as men and through their prowess become renowned warriors. Many earn wages in the gladiator pits, or as swords-for-hire, where their ferocious tempers and a capacity for violence are an advantage rather than disadvantage. Half Orcs tend not to have a great aptitude for the magical arts.

Eirek Ravensmane has been accused of having the blood of some strange creature in him more than once. The accusation has generally ended with the accuser lying flattened against a tavern wall, not even conscious enough to spit out shattered teeth. Eirek is a strong man that is true, and outlasts many others in drinking, brawling and swordplay. But there’s no truth to the rumours that he has to file down his tusks.

Languages

The final touch to your concept is the languages that your character speaks. Everyone is automatically proficient in Common, the lingua franca of the game world, as well as one other language appropriate to their past. If the character is non-human, then the other language is automatically their racial tongue (Dwarven, Elven, Black Speech etc.).

Consider choosing a language from the part of the world your character is from. Priests or scholars might choose Classical (a canon language akin to Latin in our world), a rogue might choose Thieves’ Cant (a subtle skill of innuendo, implying rather than conveying meaning) or a ranger Wood Signs.

This bonus language is in addition to any languages earned through virtues or skills such as Expert Scholar.


Languages of the Game World

Common Classical Wood Signs
Thieves’ Cant Black SpeechRacial Languages
Alchemical Symbols


Throughout the next sections, a sample character, Eledriel Starmantle, will be used to provide a systematic example of how to generate a character. Eledriel’s character concept is an Elven mistress of magic. She speaks Common and Elven.


Attributes

Attributes describe your character’s natural physical abilities and magical affinity. There are three Attributes: Strength, Endurance and Aura. The value of the Attribute determines how accomplished a character is in that area and defines the potential of what a character can and cannot do. A physically weak character, for example, would not have the Strength to wield a sword, and hence cannot purchase the Sword and Sabre skill.

A player must assign a numerical value to each of these Attributes. Attribute values range from 0: deficient to 3: exceptional, with an ‘average’, healthy, human having a Strength and Endurance of 1 and an Aura of 0.

Level 0
The character is unusually poor in that area. A Strength of 0 indicates a poor physique. A character with Endurance 0 is frail and in poor health; this could be caused by the ravages of illness or time or the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Humans often have an Aura of 0 and compared to many races of the world are magically blind.
Level 1
This is the typical value for most people.
Level 2
This is a good, but not extraordinary value. A Strength of 2 would show that someone does manual labour or regular weapons training, such as a blacksmith or town guard. Endurance 2 shows someone who is physically fit or especially determined such as a rugged ranger or battle-hardened knight.
Level 3
This is the practical limit of human achievement. With Strength 3 you may be the strongest man in the city and be famous for your ability to bend a coin between your fingers. A magus of Aura 3 will be well respected or feared.
Level 4
This level of ability is legendary and may only be achieved through the intervention of magic.

Note: these limits only apply to humans, massive creatures such as horses or bears may have a Strength of 4 for example. Supernatural creatures may possess Attributes far beyond those.

Purchasing Attributes

It costs 4 points to purchase 1 level in any Attribute. New characters may not start with any Attribute higher than 2, including any adjustments due to Virtues. In addition, characters may start with only one Attribute at Level 0. Attributes may be increased later by spending experience points.

For example, someone who wants to play a hardy warrior may divide his points like this: Strength: 2 Endurance: 2 Aura: 0. A physically weak magic-user might have Strength: 0 Endurance: 1 Aura: 2.

Strength

“O! It is excellent to have a giant strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”

— W. Shakespeare

The Strength attribute is a measure both of the physical power of a character and the ability to apply this strength. The higher your Strength, the heavier the weapons you can wield, and the more powerful your blows.

A character can use weapons of Size equal to the character’s Strength. If a character tries to wield a weapon heavier than this they will be so fatigued as to do only half normal damage.

If a melee weapon is taken in both hands the character is counted as having a Strength attribute of one higher for the purposes of meeting the minimum Strength requirements for a weapon’s Size. This bonus does not apply to spear and polearm type weapons as their length makes them unwieldy. For more information on this, see the section on Weapons Skills (p§).





StrengthDescription

Weapons/Other Effects




0 Feeble

May not wield weapons of any size, cannot run.




1 Fair

Size 1 Weapons       (Small Weapons).




2 Strong

Size 2 Weapons       (Battle Weapons).




3 Mighty

Size 3 Weapons       (Great Weapons). The character deals +1 damage once per battle when wielding any Melee, Great Missile or Great Thrown weapon.





Strength is also used to determine whether you can successfully perform such feats as breaking open a barred door, pulling someone out of a swamp, breaking free of Entanglement effects, resisting Knockback effects and use of the Smite skill.

If a character’s Strength has been raised to 4 by the use of magic, they deal +1 damage per blow with any weapon wielded.

Endurance

“For my confession they burnt me with fire and found that I was for endurance made.”

— Arabian Nights

This is a measure of constitution and how much physical damage can be sustained, as well as resistance to alcohol and other poisons. An important component is the will to live. Some people are simply too mean and sheer bloody-minded to die!

The character’s Endurance affects the number of times they can be hit before a blow will wound them or even kill. Endurance also affect the time it takes for a wounded character to bleed to death. There are six locations: head, left arm, right arm, torso, left leg, and right leg.





EnduranceDescription

Effect




0 Frail

0 hits per location, 1 minute bleed out




1 Fair

1 hit per location, 2 minute bleed out Size 1 Light Armour (e.g. Studded Leather) or Size 2 Medium Armour and Encumbered




2 Doughty

2 hits per location, 3 minute bleed out Size 2 Medium Armour (e.g. Mail) or Size 3 Heavy Armour and Encumbered




3 Stalwart

3 hits per location, 4 minute bleed out Size 3 Heavy Armour (e.g. Plate)





For example, if you have an Endurance of 2 and get hit on an arm three times the arm is wounded and you can’t use the arm any more. For more information on this, see the section on Injury and Death in the Combat rules(p§).

The Endurance of a character also determines how much Armour a character can wear without being unduly encumbered. For more information on being injured, see the section on Armour in Playing the Character(p§).

Aura

“What we call Aura is no less than the capacity, yet unrealised in time, for both creation and destruction.”

— Felix Constantine

The Aura attribute is a measure of your link with the flow of magic in the world; it affects the power of the spells you can cast, your ability to sense magic, or your ability to heal magically. Put simply, with an Aura of 1, you can cast only Minor spells (level 1), with an Aura of 2, you can cast up to Major (level 2) spells and so on.

Every time you cast a spell or use healing power, it will cost you some mana. Your Aura determines your mana total: it is normally equal to three times your Aura. A character regains their Aura in mana each hour; an Adept with an Aura of 2 would regain 2 mana every hour, reaching their full potential after 3 hours.





AuraDescriptionMana



0 Mundane 0



1 Awakened 3



2 Adept 6



3 Savant 9




Note that the flow of mana is impeded by armour, see the armouring details under Playing the Game (p§) for further information.

A character that possesses Aura has the second sight. At the cost of one mana they can see beyond the ken of the mundane, to the weft and weave of magical energy:

Second Sight

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: caster]
The character can sense spells, the Auras of others and tell when otherwise invisible spirits are present. The character can tell the strength of the magic by comparison to their own power — whether it is about the same, more or less powerful. The eyes of a mage using this ability glitter and gleam with reflected magical energy (this can be detected with Keen Senses).

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Second Sight!”

For more information on Aura and its uses, see the chapter on Magic(p??).

Eledriel’s attributes are as follows — Strength 1, Endurance 1, and Aura 2. Eledriel may not be physically imposing but she burns with raw magical power. Eledriel has spent 16 points on Attributes; this leaves her with 4 points for Virtues and Skills, or 9 points if she gains a further 5 points to spend by taking 5 points’ worth of Flaws.

Virtues and Flaws

Virtues and Flaws are innate, unlearned advantages or disadvantages. They are generally derived from a character’s background, and hence, are only available during character creation. Both Virtues and Flaws serve to make your character unique, and give your character a real sense of history.

Virtues include stalwart allies, magic items, unusual powers and such. King Arthur started out as a callow squire, but luckily had the sword from the stone to help him out. Aragorn too had a magic sword; well, the bits of one. Merlin and Gandalf could fling about the odd spell or two. In The Cuckoo’s Nest, all of these are considered Virtues.

The heroes of literature and legend also had such Flaws as great ugliness, drug addiction, and sworn enemies. Though Flaws make things more difficult for you as a player, you are rewarded for taking them. Thus Flaws give you skill points to make your character better in other ways. In addition, Flaws can enrich a character as much as Virtues and really add to the role-playing experience.

With GM permission, it may be possible to buy off some Flaws with experience points; otherwise if the character gets rid of the Flaw in the game they will be given a new Flaw.

For example, the character has killed their sworn blood enemy after a ferocious fight, but has not used experience points to buy off the Flaw. In the course of a following adventure, a lone swordsman steps out of the shadows and challenges the character with:

Hello, my name is...You killed my father. Prepare to die!

Skills can also be used as a basis for new Virtues at character creation; for example, the ability to brew poisons (as per Expert Ambush) would be a 2-point Virtue. The character buying this stand alone Virtue would gain none of the other abilities from the Ambush skill. If you want something different for your character, make it up and talk to a GM about how much it’ll cost or gain for you. Let your imagination run wild.

All Virtues and Flaws must be cleared with the GM before play. The Virtues and Flaws given are simply suggestions. However, it should be noted that the cost of any single Virtue purchased may not exceed 3 points and no more than a total of 5 points may be spent on Virtues.

Virtues

Ally

You have friends, contacts, or people who owe you favours in the game world. This could be due to your sparkling personality, shared dangers or the judicious use of bribes, according to the character concept. If being an ally of the person or group results in the character having onerous duties or responsibilities the cost of the ally may be reduced by 1 or 2 points.

For example, a merchant with allies among the town guard, due to bribes and such, would cost 2 points. A member of the town guard, again with allies in the town guard, would be subject to the orders of superiors, and have a duty to keep the peace and catch wrongdoers: the GM could rule that this costs no points as the advantages and disadvantages are about equal.

Minor [1]

A friendly healer, who will provide a Healing Salve at the start of each adventure. A wandering pedlar who tells you news, and provides 1 ingredient. A retired duellist who will give you rumours of whats happening at court.

Major [2]

The Guild of Healers: you get free healing in town and start each adventure with 2 ingredients’ worth of salves from the Physician skill. A Wizard, who provides up to 2 levels of temporary Runes at the start of each adventure. The Thieves’ Guild — have the resources to provide any one item (as Expert Courtier).

Great [3]

The patronage of: The Church of The Lady, who will provide prayers for the character and maybe holy items for a mission. Duke Ranalf who can provide favours as a Master Courtier.

Characteristics

An aspect of a character can grant them a bonus to an Attribute in a specific situation, or with a specific task.

Minor [1]

The character is at +1 to an Attribute in a rare situation.

Stocky
The character, due to their body mass, gains +1 to Strength for any feat where weight lends an advantage, for example barging down doors, breaking free of Entangle effects, or resisting being knocked down by the Smite skill.
Hardy
The character can resist disease and poison more easily than most: +1 to Endurance for this purpose. This point of Endurance absorbs the first point of damage inflicted by poisons or diseases.
Focussed
The character is particularly adept with a single spell, the character is considered as having +1 Aura for the purposes of purchasing a single innate spell.

Major [2]

The character is at +1 to an Attribute in a common situation.

Burly
The character is large and throws their weight into any blows. They are at +1 Strength for the purposes of the Smite skill only.
Sturdy
The character bears the weight of armour well; they gain +1 Endurance when determining which armour can be worn.
Puissant
The character is skilled in their magical art but lacks raw reserves of power: the character is considered as having +1 Aura for the purposes of purchasing magical skills only.

Great [3]

The character is at +1 to the Attribute in most situations.

Fell-handed
With this advantage, your character is particularly adept at using weapons. The character gains a +1 to Strength, but only for the purposes of weapon use.
Tough
The character is physically tough. The character has +1 Endurance against all damage.
Potent
The character has raw power, but no precision. The character is at +1 Aura for the purposes of mana use and regeneration only.

Languages

The character is fluent in additional languages. Unless the character has the skill Scholar they are not literate. It works out a little cheaper to buy languages as a Virtue rather than with the skill Scholar, as this Virtue doesn’t grant the other abilities associated with the Skill.

Minor [1]

The character is fluent in one additional language, over and above their two starting languages.

Major [2]

The character is proficient in any three additional languages.

Great [3]

The character is fluent in any and all languages. Demons and dragons are rumoured to have this power so perhaps you have some of their blood in your veins, or even have eaten one of their hearts! More mundanely, it could have been the result of a blessing or spell.

Magical Aptitude

The character was born with the spark of magic in their soul.

Minor [1]
Innate Gift
The character has a minor innate spell. When casting these spells use the vocals “I call upon a Minor gift” and the name of the spell, such as “Fear!” The character must possess the Aura and mana required to cast and learn the spell.

The character can cast a 1st level spell or a higher level spell with limitations (the level of the spell may be reduced by 1 if the spell is more limited than the standard spell and increased by 1 if the spell is more powerful than the original spell).

For example, a character might take Elemental Favour for fire only. This is normally a second level spell, but it has a minor disadvantage limiting its usefulness. This means the whole effect is worth one point rather than two. The innate spell counts as a first level spell for all purposes, requiring 1 Aura to know and 1 mana to cast.

Magical Channelling
The character may learn any one of the following magical skills: Channel Spirit, Channel Healing, or Channel Glyph.
Magically Gifted
The character may purchase further innate spells after character creation.

Major [2]
Innate Gift(s)
The character knows up to two levels of innate spells i.e. two 1st level spells or one 2nd level from any sphere. The character must possess the Aura and mana required to cast and learn the spell.
Priest
The character can learn prayers with the Priest skill. When the skill is purchased the priest gains 3 core prayers and an additional 2 prayers per level which are chosen from spells of the same level from any single Mage Sphere (or path in the case of Sorcery) or school of Channelling. The additional prayers chosen should reflect the God’s aspects or areas of influence. An evil priest, for example, might choose two spells from the Daemonology path.
Mage
The character can learn the Mage Sphere skill for any one sphere of magic only and cast the spells within that sphere. The spheres of magic are Naming, Mysticism, Wizardry, Thaumaturgy, Elementalism, and Sorcery. The Mage Sphere skill can also be learned for the two adjacent spheres, but spells from the adjacent spheres cost 1 more mana point and require an Aura 1 point higher to cast. The exception to this is Naming. Regardless of their primary sphere, any mage may learn Naming Magic and spells from this sphere may be cast for normal cost. A character that chooses the sphere Naming Magic as their primary Mageborn sphere is considered adjacent to all spheres.
Magical Channelling
The character may learn all of the following magical skills: Channel Spirit, Channel Healing and Channel Glyph.

Great [3]
Innate Gift(s)
The character knows up to 3 levels of innate spells i.e. three 1st level spells or one 2nd level and one 1st level spell. The character must possess the Aura and mana required to cast and learn the spell.
High Priest
The character can choose their two additional prayers per level from any two Mage Spheres (or path in the case of Sorcery) or school of Channelling. A priest that follows Vulcan, God of Smithcraft, might draw spells from Thaumaturgy and Wizardry, choosing Rune of Armouring and Mend as their Minor prayers, Shatter and Bane Rune as their Major prayers etc.
Archmage
The character can learn any sphere of magic and cast spells from any sphere known with no additional cost.

Magical Item

You have inherited, found or stolen a magical item.

Generally, the cost of an item is equal to double the spell level if usable once per day. The cost of a magic item can be reduced if it has a limitation, or a disadvantage associated with it. For full details on magical items, and on how to create them, see Enchanted & Special Items(p§).

Minor [1]
Candle of Everburning
This candle may create light once per day for up to 8 hours. The candle requires a Command word to light and extinguish the candle, and does not go out in the wind. This item costs one point because the spell it is based on, Word of Light, is a first level spell that normally lasts 24 hours.
Ring of Flame
The wearer of the ring may cast the elementalist spell Minor Flame Bolt once per day. The base cost of the item is 2 points because the spell it is based on, Minor Elemental Bolt is a first level spell. The ring has the minor limitations that only Flame Darts can be summoned, and the ring must be placed in a fire every day for 5 minutes to recharge it.

Major [2]
Mantle of Shadows
This mantle seems to wrap you with shadow and draw shadows to you. It allows you to become invisible once per day, but only in areas shrouded in darkness, such as at night-time or in an unlit dungeon. See the Mysticism spell Invisibility(p§) for more detail.

This item costs two points because the spell it is based on, Invisibility is a second level spell (4 points), but it has the major disadvantage of only being usable in darkness (-2 points).

Sword of St Wythran
This Great sword has the finger-bone of St Wythran, one of the twelve Paladins of the Lady, set within its cross guard. The power of this relic is such that the blade is enchanted. This item costs 2 points because Sanctify is a first level spell (2 points).

Great [3]
Ever Full Purse
If any coins are placed within this purse overnight, they will be gold by morning. The purse holds a maximum of 10 coins. The coins from the purse revert back to their previous type 5 minutes after they are taken from the purse. The spell it is based on is Transmutation, Spell level 2 usable once per day for a base cost of 4 points with a minor limitation: may only transform coins to other coins and takes a full night.
Eye of the Wyrm
This is a fist sized blue crystal. It is rumoured to be the eye of a great wyrm slain in ages past. It is said that the Eye brings bad luck; what is certain is that its last three owners each met a violent end. Whether this is due to a magical curse, or the more common curse of greed, none can say. The Eye may capture any one minor or major spell cast at the bearer once per day — as Rune of Absorption. This item costs 3 points as Rune of Absorption is a second level spell making the effect worth 4 points, but the item has a minor limitation: inflames greed in a viewer.

If you, as a player, throw a completely spurious magical object into your background and don’t have a clue what it does, the GM will have to decide what it does and how much it costs for you (less than normal in any case). Hopefully you’ll find out what it does during play.

Such items may spawn whole campaigns: “So your hobbit scout wants a magic ring?”

Resistant

The character, through some chance of heritage or powerful ritual magic is resistant to magic. A fairy might be immune to all illusions; a rock troll might be immune to all earth magic and so on. If you are immune to a spell that is cast at you, call “Immune!” or if the effect is as a Spell Ward, call that.

Minor [1]

You are totally immune to any one spell or may resist one spell per adventure as per Spell Ward.

Major [2]

You are immune to all spells of a certain effect in any sphere of magic e.g. fire spells, or any minor type of magic e.g. minor beguilement, or can resist one minor or major spell per day as per Spell Ward.

Great [3]

Your character is totally immune to all magic including healing, potions of healing and similar, or can resist any minor and major magic from a type of magic e.g. strike spells or can resist any one spell per day as per Greater Spell Ward.

Sense

You possess unusual senses; again, this could be due to your race, the result of a spell, or the blessing of a god. The sense can be used once in any scene (5 minutes).

Minor [1]

You can sense something other people cannot without trouble and effort: which way is north, or the presence of concealed weapons.

Watchmans Eye
You can sense if someone else is carrying a concealed weapon. You can always ask any character if they are carrying a concealed weapon, and they must answer honestly. In game, your character merely glances with an experienced eye for tell-tale bulges and criminal nervousness.

Major [2]

The sense is supernatural: the ability to detect gold or sense the presence of demons or invisible entities.

Spirit Sense
Your character can tell when spirits are near, even if they are using disguising magic or other protections. You can tell without concentration if a spirit is present within 10 feet.

Great [3]

The sense is potent and useful frequently: the ability to see invisible beings, see through illusions, feel another’s emotions, or sense truth.

Sense Emotion
You can sense the emotions of other beings. Simply ask the player or monster what their character is feeling and they must answer honestly.

Reputation

The character has made a good name for themself in the game world and may be offered aid because of this. The reputation can be entirely unearned, like the scoundrel Flashman’s. The value of a character’s reputation is modified by the number of people who have heard of them, and the extremity of the reputation.

A character’s reputation is often dependent on to whom you speak, and it is entirely possible to have a good reputation with one set of people and a bad one with another.

The cost or penalty to a character is dependent on the overall effect, so for example, the dashing rogue Flynn is loved by the common folk for his daring and skill. The local gentry, whom he robbed, and their guards would all love to see him hang. The character has a 2 point good reputation with the commons and -2 point bad reputation with the gentry, so the cost to the character is 0 as the effects even out.

Minor [1]

The character has a generally good reputation with small group of people. For example, Sir Trantrist is known for his strict adherence to the code of chivalry; all goodly knights honour him.      

Major [2]

The character has a good reputation with a larger group of people. For example, the dashing rogue Flynn is loved by the common folk for his daring and skill.

Great [3]

The character’s reputation is saintly. For example, the noble Lady Margaret is known as a healer to the poor and helpless. Nobles and commoners alike adore her, and if anyone was unwise enough to cause her harm they would soon be beset by an angry mob or by a knight and his men at arms.

Transcendence

The character is somehow able to overcome the limitations of wielding magic, such as bearing arms and armour. This could be due to the character race [Elves seem to often possess this virtue], or the blessing of a God, natural talent, or perhaps powerful ritual magic.

Minor [1]
Warlock
The character is skilled in might and magic, and can use weapons and wear armour, ignoring any penalty to mana.
Faith
The character is devoted to their religion and is affected by the Blessings of their religion. The character can devote themselves to a single priest at a time, whose Aura counts as one higher for the purposes of mana regeneration.

Major [2]
Spell weaver
Spells come so naturally to the character that they can cast spells without the ‘middle vocals’ of spell incantations. For example, “I call upon a Minor Magic Flame Dart!”
Intense Concentration
The character exhibits great powers of concentration. Spells which normally require total concentration become concentration spells, and spells which normally require concentration become 10 second duration. Note that invisibility spells such as Invisibility and Cloak of Nature are broken immediately if the character attacks or casts a spell.

Great [3]
Truename/Avatar
Either the character knows their Truename or a deity has taken a special interest in the character. In either case the character burns with magical might and has at their disposal 4 points of mana per point of Aura rather than the normal 3. There is however a drawback. If someone knows your Truename then you are vulnerable to any spell they cast whilst calling upon it. If the character is an Avatar of a deity, enemies of the god take an unhealthy interest in the character.
Leech
The character can take a point of mana from another character by touching them for a slow count of ten seconds. The victim experiences mild discomfort, but will not awaken if asleep.

Flaws

Code

Your character lives their life by a code — either one imposed by someone else (such as a monk under holy orders) or one imposed by themself (such as a knight living by his own chivalric code). The number of points gained from this disadvantage depends on how rigid or restrictive the code is.

Minor [1]
Duellist
Any duel is conducted in an honourable manner, with similar weapons and armour. A duellist should not use poison or take advantage of an opponent lest their reputation be besmirched.
Oath
The character never breaks their sworn word; the character can however interpret their oath quite literally.

Major [2]
Gentleman’s Code
Never break your oath. Any insult to yourself or a lady under protection must be avenged with a duel or a formal apology. Never cheat or steal. Note an insult from someone of a lower social standing does not need to be met with a duel — instead, a sound thrashing is more appropriate for the cur.
Heroic
The character cannot rest while there is injustice in the land. They might rob the rich to feed the poor or rescue little Annie from the clutches of a vile sorcerer. Generally, they are an all round good guy or gal.

Great [3]
Chivalry
As Gentleman’s code, but you must also avenge any insult to your Liege. Any true Lady may call on your protection. Any challenge from a Chivalrous opponent must be met.
Oath of the Healer
Any who seek healing must be treated. You may only fight in your own or other’s defence.

Enemy

Someone, something or some group is out to get you. This could be a family enemy, the authorities, or even a vengeful lover. This is more than someone who merely dislikes the character: the adversary wishes to either ruin or kill the character. The enemy’s power, numbers, aims, and frequency of appearance determine the number of points gained.

Minor [1]

A foe with less power than yourself or one with limited aims and ambitions, for example, a rival swordsman who wants to humiliate you.

Major [2]

A foe as powerful as yourself or a number of lesser foes, for example, a journeyman mage who wants your blood or the town guard who want to arrest you.

Great [3]

A foe with great magical or political power, who wishes them dead, for example, the Archmage Arkalyn, or Duke Michael.

Limited

Your character is particularly poor at a skill, or their Attributes are limited in some way.

Minor [1]
Magic Dead
Your character has no potential for magic and may never have a positive Aura. In addition, the character cannot use any magical items that require a mental trigger to activate or mentally trigger spells and effects such as Spell Ward. They may still trigger items that use command words or somatic triggers.
Scholarly
Your character is particularly inept at anything related to combat. The character may not purchase any combat skill or Virtues at character creation and does not get the Short Weapon skill for free. Combat skills include all Weapon Skills, Ambidextrous, Ambush, Brawl, Berserk, Duellist, and Smite.

Major [2]
Dilettante
The character had an indulgent upbringing and is somewhat feckless, lacking the patience or strength of will to persevere with skills. Any skills that the character wants to raise to Master level cost double except for the Courtier skill.
Magic Sink
The character is magically dead. The character can never produce any magical effects or items with any skill. Items created by such skills do not directly affect the character. For example, if this character drank a Potion of Invisibility then nothing would happen. The character would not spot another that had drunk such a potion though.

Great [3]
Brute
The character is rather stupid. All skills above Proficient level cost double. The character may not start with skills above this level. The character can never learn any skills that rely on wit or wisdom: Alchemy, Bard, Courtier, Scholar and any magical skills.

Mental

The character has a mental quirk, attitude or set of beliefs that will affect game play. These are great to add personality to your character. A character could be Arrogant, Cowardly, Fanatical, Greedy, Gullible, Honest, Impulsive, Overconfident, Pacifistic, or Truthful. It may seem strange that such character traits as Honest are considered Flaws. Well an Honest character could not steal, even in a good cause, and so their choices are limited.

The point value for these Flaws is determined by the strength of the belief and how often it will come into play. The following are examples only.

Minor [1]
Hatred
Your character, for whatever cause, has developed an unreasoning hatred for a certain type of person or creature. The hated foe is a race or caste on the fringes of society, with no real friends or power of their own. An example might be Orcs, or Bards.

Major [2]
Avarice
The character cannot resist a chance for financial gain. Even in the face of dire consequence, the character’s foremost regard is for their bank balance.

Great [3]
Coward
The character greatly fears violence and physical danger of all kinds. They will not willingly engage or even approach combat. In fact, they often will flee to a safe distance whenever any combat starts. The character is vulnerable to Fear spells and effects.

Physical

The character is physically maimed in some way. This could be as a result of an accident, birth defect, or old war injury. If a character is maimed as a result of game play they get no points.

Minor [1]

The character has a niggling injury that rarely affects game play e.g. a hacking cough, a stiff knee from an old arrow wound.

Major [2]

The character’s injury often affects game play: e.g. missing one eye (the player must wear a patch and so will have limited depth perception and peripheral vision), or bad limp (needs a cane to walk).

Great [3]

The character’s injury is permanent and debilitating: e.g. missing a limb, or blind. If blind, the character must wear a veil, and it is suggested that the character be given the equivalent of “blind fighting” (see the skill Keen Senses(p§)) as the character will still be limited more than enough.

Reputation

The character has made a bad name for themself in the game world and may be offered harm because of this. The bad reputation can be entirely unjustified like ‘The Fugitive’. The value of a characters reputation is modified by the number of people who have heard of them, and the extremity of the reputation.

A character’s reputation is often dependent on to whom you speak, and it is entirely possible to have a good reputation with one set of people and a bad one with another.

The cost or penalty to a character is dependent on the overall effect, so for example, the dashing rogue Flynn is loved by the common folk for his daring and skill. The local gentry, whom he robbed, and their guards would all love to see him hang. The character has a 2 point good reputation with the commons and -2 point bad reputation with the gentry, so the cost to the character is 0 as the effects even out.

Minor [1]

The character has a generally poor reputation. For example, even Urgit’s friends would agree that he is a thief and a liar, cheats at cards and makes free with other men’s women. If he had friends, that is.

Major [2]

The character has a bad reputation with powerful people. For example, the local gentry and their guards would all love to see the rogue Flynn hanged.

Great [3]

The character’s reputation is black as coal. For example, Gnarlag Twoswords is rumoured to have killed, raped and cheated even his partners. Not even the criminal underworld can stand him.

Vulnerable

You are vulnerable to certain substances or magics. This could be due to your race or the result of a curse.

If struck by a weapon made of that material, the character takes one more point of damage. If the material touches the character (for example, a werewolf takes a silver coin) the character will take one point of damage to the location that is being touched — this damage ignores armour and other protections (piercing). If a damaging spell that you are vulnerable to is cast at you, then the spells counts as one level higher to ward against and you take one extra point of damage.

Minor [1]

Vulnerability to a rare material, for example: gold, wolfsbane, or holy water.

Major [2]

Vulnerability to a more plentiful material, for example: silver, holy items, garlic, or iron.

Great [3]

Vulnerability to a common material, for example: water, wood, or steel.

Eledriel has the Virtue Magical Aptitude: Mage (2) and the Flaws Code — Heroic (2), Scholarly (1) and Mental — Curious (2). Eledriel’s curiosity has sent her into danger on more than one occasion. This leaves Eledriel with 7 points remaining to spend on skills.

Skills

This section covers the skills your character may need during their adventures. It is the skills of a character that really determine their role within the group.

For example, a warrior has weapon skills; however the additional skills of a savage berserker, silk-smooth duellist, or a noble knight would each be very different and lead to very different styles of fighting.

Skills are bought at three differing levels of expertise:




Proficient 1


Expert + 2 (3 in total)


Master + 4 (7 in total)



The skill level can be used as a guide to the general abilities of a character in the skill, so a Master rogue could pick the most fiendish of locks.

It is rare for anyone to attain the Master level of a skill and starting characters are only allowed skills up to Expert level; both for balance of play and to give them something to aim for.

The skills listed are not all inclusive. Some skills are great for background colour, but would never actually be used in a LRP session. Swimming is a good example of a totally useless skill for LRP: anyone who really wants to try swimming during an LRP event is taking things a little far. Besides, the GMs saying that you have spent the points and so can swim would not stop you from drowning in reality.

Feel free to speak to your GM if you have an idea for a skill that hasn’t been listed.

Notes on Skills

Using Skills

Many skills require no outside refereeing, for example you should know if you are Proficient in a weapon and the damage you do. Some skills provide information, and require you to ask a GM or someone else in the know. For example, to track someone you would examine the tracks, and then say to the GM, “I’m using Survival — what do I find?”

Skill Mastery

When a character achieves Mastery of a skill then they may invent new abilities for the skill at an appropriate experience point cost. So mages can research new spells, alchemists can invent new potions and swordsmen can create signature moves. These new abilities can be taught to an expert of the appropriate skill at the same experience cost. For example, a character with Master Weapon Skill —Bow could gain the ability Fletcher for 1 point, and teach this ability to those with Expert Weapon Skill — Bow.

Fletcher
The character is a skilled fletcher and is able to create arrowheads that are either Blunt — which deal subdual damage, or Broad — that deal +1 damage but do not deal through damage (this can only be done if the arrows were through to begin with).

Ingredients

Some skills require ingredients. The ingredients are specific to the skill and may not be used in other skills. The potions and preparations made are assumed to operate because of the arcane and magical nature of the world that the character lives in. The ingredients and anything made from them may not be accumulated between adventures; it is assumed that the character uses them in normal life to make money etc.

Stacking of Effects

No spell or spell-like ability stacks with another that causes the same effect without specific mention in the rules.

Magical Skills

Magical skills are marked with an asterisk *. These are skills which require Aura to use as the character draws from themself or their God. Magic skills include all the spheres of Mage, Prayer, Channelling, Artificer and Ritual magic.

Magical skills are particularly relevant to mages. In order to advance to higher levels of skill in any single sphere of magic, a mage must have other magical skills to support their primary sphere. An Expert Mage must therefore have Proficiency in at least one other magical skill and to achieve Mastery of their sphere a mage must have Expertise in at least two other magical skills. The mage is free to choose to progress any magical skills that they are eligible for to support their primary sphere. Each path of Sorcery counts as a separate magical skill for this purpose.

For example, a wizard may opt to take the sphere of Naming as their required secondary magical skill before progressing to Expert level Wizardry. Before becoming a Master Wizard they then increase their Naming to Expert level and additionally study Artificer to Expert level. They may now progress on to be a Master Wizard.

Deity Favoured Skills

Each God favours certain skills, and to progress as a priest, novitiates of the faith must demonstrate aptitude in these skills, as well as devotion to their God. It is suggested that a player and their GM agree four appropriate skills to represent their God’s areas of influence at character creation; the player will then need to progress in at least two of these in association with their priest training.

For instance, a God of Thieves and Trickery may favour Rogue, Stealth, Courtier and Ambush. A God of Fire and Creation however would favour skills such as Smithcraft, Smite, any Melee Weapon and Artificer.

Alchemy

Proficient

The character is learned in alchemical techniques and the power to be found within substances.

Assay
With a just a look and a sniff the alchemist can identify potions, poisons and salves, and predict their effects. The alchemist can also identify alchemical ingredients found upon an adventure.

Expert

(Props Required)
The alchemist can use the power that lies within the magical ingredients found in the world to brew potions, philtres and salves. The character may find three alchemical ingredients between adventures.

Alchemical Potions
The alchemist is capable of brewing enchanted potions. Each of the following potions, dusts or philtres requires one ingredient to brew. All alchemical potions thus created count as 1st level spell effects.
Dust of Immobility
When thrown over someone the dust quickly encrusts the target in a hardened shell. Unless they can call upon a Spell Ward, the victim is entangled (Strength 2, all locations) The dust sublimates in a short while (about 5 minutes) and only then can the victim move. Ingredients include quicksand and lime.
Mana Draught
This potion is a boon to any mage and instantly restores 2 points of mana to the user as the drinker experiences a rush of magical energy. The ingredients for this potion include the blood of a creature with a positive Aura attribute. Many users have become psychologically addicted to these potions.
Oil of Slipperiness
When applied over a creature or object it becomes slick and difficult to hold onto. The wearer counts as having +1 Strength for the purpose of resisting entangle effects and grapples. Other effects are possible such as applying the oil to the hilt of a weapon so the wielder would be continually disarmed, or the soles of someone’s boot so they continually fall over. The effects of the oil last for 24 hours.
Philtre of Fool’s Courage
On drinking the creature enters a Battle Haze as the proficient Berserk skill — the character is a veritable killing machine, and does not feel pain or fear (immune to Fear effects). The character may fight on even when wounded (-1) until the combat is finished or until the location is further damaged to hack off a limb or kill (-2). Unfortunately, the character is insanely reckless and will not retreat from combat or use missile weaponry. Whilst berserk the warrior may also not use the special Parry or Dodge abilities provided by other skills. The player can still parry and dodge blows as normal. Ingredients include an alcoholic distillate and juniper berries.
Potion of Ogre’s Might
The drinker adds +1 to the Strength attribute as power courses through their veins. Unfortunately, the effect lasts for only one hour. To make this potion, blood of an Ogre or a Troll is needed.
Alchemical Research
The alchemist may brew any Lesser potion or poison from any other Skill, at a cost of 2 ingredients. The alchemist may also brew an elixir that mimics the effect of any first level spell for a cost of two ingredients. Generally any spell duplicated that affects the drinker in a positive way is called a ‘Philtre’, a duplicated spell that affects an object is an ‘Oil’, and an item that grants a harmful spell is an ‘Elixir’, so for example a duplicated Elemental Bolt spell could be called an Elixir of Fiery Breath.

Master

(Props Required)
Many master alchemists spend their time trying to create the philosopher’s stone, an item of wondrous power. The alchemist can concoct exotic potions, elixirs, and philtres with rather more success. The alchemist gains six alchemical ingredients between adventures.

Alchemical Potions (Greater)
The more advanced potions below require two ingredients. All alchemical potions thus created count as 2nd level spell effects.
Elixir of Love
The imbiber of this potion falls madly in love with the next person they see. Many a village wise-woman makez a living selling potions purported to do this, but a real philtre is as rare as love itself. Ingredients include a single tear from a maiden’s eye.
Flash Powder
When thrown this powder ignites with a blinding flash. Everyone within a 10’ radius is blinded for 10 seconds unless they call upon a Spell Ward or have been warned to close their eyes. Ingredients include sulphur and saltpetre.
Noble’s Ease
The imbiber of this potion is immune to the effects of any, and all, poisons for a full day. Ingredients include beryl and woundwort. If powdered Unicorn horn is added to the concoction the effects are reputedly permanent.
Philtre of Invulnerability
This potion hardens the skin and deadens pain such that the character gains 3 points of hardened armour. The effects last for a full day.
Potion of Invisibility
This potion grants invisibility. The potion requires the concentration of the user to maintain the effect and so ends if the user attempts to cast a spell or enter combat.
Alchemical Research (Greater)
The alchemist may create any Greater potion or poison etc. from any other Skill, though they cost twice as many ingredients to make as normal with that Skill [4 ingredients]. The alchemist can brew an elixir that mimics the effect of any major spell. This costs 4 ingredients. For example, The Elixir of the Glib Tongue — the imbiber can cast a Suggestion spell.

Ambidextrous

Proficient

The character has trained to fight using both hands with equal proficiency. In addition the character has trained to wield two weapons at once.

Main Gauche
The character may wield a small (Size 1) weapon in the off-hand, such as a hatchet or main-gauche, in addition to a weapon in the main hand.

Expert

The character is skilled at using a pair of weapons.

Parry
The character can Parry one melee blow per combat, this glancing blow does no damage to the character. However, any special effects such as Disarm, Mighty Blow and Shatter are applied to the weapon.
Paired Weapons
The character can wield two weapons of Size 2 at once, such as a pair of swords, like the legendary swordsman Miramato or Nazir the Assassin from “Robin of Sherwood”.

Master

The character is a veritable whirlwind, causing death and mayhem with either hand.

True Ambidexterity
The character may use any skills he possesses with each hand and so may for example use the skill Duellist to Disarm or Expert Weapon Skill to deal +1 damage with either hand.
Wall of Steel
The character can Parry two blows per combat.

Artificer*

Proficient

(Requires Aura 1)
The artificer has pored over many grimoires devoted to enchanted items.

Identify
The Artificer may use Second Sight to examine a magical item, to learn the power that lies within. Any spell that the caster has knowledge of due to their Lore or Theology is automatically revealed. Other information is given at the GM’s discretion, but should be truthful and accurate. Limitations (and curses) within the item can be sensed, but their nature may be hidden if the artificer does not have sufficient Lore.

Expert

(Requires Aura 2)
The artificer is skilled in the Art of Enchantment and may create temporary magic devices or may sacrifice more to craft permanently enchanted items. Since Wizards are the masters of enchantment, they can make Talismans (or Greater Talismans) based upon their Lore rather than just the runes they can cast.

Charms
The enchanter can create minor temporary magical devices using magical ingredients found in the world. When the power is used the charm becomes inert. The enchanter may find three magical ingredients between adventures which may be used to make any of the following:
Talismans
The artificer imbues an item, usually a piece of jewellery, with any minor or major spell they can cast. The spell may be called upon by any wearing the Talisman. The cost for this is one magical ingredient per spell level. The Talisman may be keyed to activate using a single trigger condition based on any one sense. A Ring of Mist Form could be activated when placed upon the finger while Boots of Leaping may be activated by the trigger word “Jump!” or a Courtier’s Cup may glow red in the presence of poison.
Mana Stone
The artificer may prepare a special crystal to become a repository for mana. If a spell caster is touching the stone, the mana stored in the crystal may be channelled to power any spells or abilities. The cost for this is one magical ingredient per two points of mana that the crystal may store. Legends say that these crystals were once part of huge crystal obelisks that supplied magical power to a kingdom of mages. The mages fought a civil war and the obelisks were destroyed; only these shards now remain.
Scroll
The artificer can create a scroll of any spell they can cast. The spell is held in the scroll until it is read aloud and torn in two. The user of a scroll must be able to read. The artificer may write 2 levels of spell per magical ingredient. The vocals are as normal for the spell(s).
Enchanter
The artificer can enchant permanent magical items. To permanently bind a spell within an item costs experience point equal to twice the normal magical ingredients to either; use the spell once per day, or have two uses per adventure. If the cost is doubled the spell becomes usable three times per day or 6 charges per adventure, and if tripled becomes usable five times per day or 10 charges per adventure. The item created is “bonded” to either its creator or to another specified individual and may only by used by them. For a full description of enchanting an item see Enchanted & Special Items(p§).

Master

(Requires Aura 3)
The artificer is capable of crafting wondrous artefacts.

Greater Charms
The enchanter can create more powerful temporary magical devices using more exotic magical ingredients. The enchanter may find six magical ingredients between adventures which may be used to make Expert Charms or any of the following:
Greater Talismans
The Master Artificer can imbue an item with any spell they can cast. All other details are the same as for Expert Artificer.
Bloodstone/Dawnstone
The artificer may create either or a Bloodstone or a Dawnstone. A Bloodstone or Dawnstone will last for one adventure. The cost for either of these items is one magical ingredient per two points of mana.
Dawnstone
This clear shard of crystal may be prepared to channel the power of the sun, such that when it is held aloft in the dawns light, it is replenished.
Bloodstone
This is a smoky black crystal in its normal state. However, when bathed in the lifeblood of a freshly slain sentient being, it slowly turns a vivid deep crimson, and provides the wielder with mana drawn from the life-force of its victim. The Bloodstone may only be replenished once per day in this manner.
Wands
The master artificer can create a wand as a mark of their status and a conduit for their power. The wand must be made from a once living material such as wood, bone or ivory. A rustic animist with pristine tastes might choose a gnarled branch of oak, whilst an elegant court thaumaturge would be more inclined to an ebony wand, chased with silver runes. Wands of Size 1, are generally called Rods and those of Size 2 are called Magestaffs. Wands effects may be combined so long as all ingredients costs are paid, so a wand may be created that holds more than 1 spell. A Bloodstone or Dawnstone may also be incorporated into a wand. To wield a wand requires Proficiency in the Artificer skill.
Wand of Arcana
The wand may be crafted to hold any one spell the artificer may cast (or knows of through Arcane Lore for a wizard). The wand may hold a “charge” of 3 levels of spell per magical ingredient. The vocals required to activate a wand are as normal for the spell(s).
Wand of War
The wand counts as an enchanted weapon. The wand acts as an extension of the mage’s arm such that touch spells may be cast through the stave. Also, the mage is automatically Proficient in the wand and their Aura, not Strength, is used to determine their ability to wield it. The ingredient cost of a Wand of War is dependent on the wands size; a wand (small weapon) cost 1 ingredients, a rod (Size 1) cost 2 ingredients and a magestaff (Size 2) 3 ingredients.

Master Enchanter
The enchanter may permanently enchant the greater items available such as Bloodstones or Wands. The cost to permanently enchant such an item is 2 experience points per magical ingredient. The enchanter may also make enchanted items that are not bonded to any specified individual.

Assassin

Proficient

The character has learned how to use the element of surprise to deliver a precise attack.

Ambush
When using a small melee weapon (Size 1), if the character can strike with an element of surprise then the weapon will ignore any armour (“Through!”) as the player strikes a vulnerable area. The Ambush can only be performed if: striking with a concealed weapon, the victim cannot see the character or the victim is stunned.

Expert

(Props Required)
The character is a trained killer, using surprise and poisons to lay a victim low.

Ambush (Greater)
The assassin can use any Size 1 missile weapon such as throwing dagger or hand crossbow to Ambush.
Poisoner
The assassin has learned how to brew poisons. All poisons have a Venom effect and must be cleansed by Purify or a Sweetbalm before the character can be healed. Poisons do not count as a magical effect. The character may find three poison ingredients between adventures, sufficient to make any three of the following:
Blade Venom
The venom causes incredibly painful injuries; anyone struck is stunned for ten seconds, call Stun. There is enough blade venom to coat one Size 2 weapon [e.g. a sword] or two Size 1 weapons [e.g. a dagger or arrow head]. Once placed on a weapon the poison decays and becomes harmless after one full day has passed or one blow is struck.
Poison
The poison deals 2 points of damage to all locations, a couple of minutes after being ingested. There is enough poison for two meals or glasses of wine. The poison is undetectable in other liquids or on food unless the victim has Expert Keen Senses in which case the poisoned substance tastes ‘funny’ or ‘off’.
Sleeping Draught
The draught deals 2 points of subdual damage to all locations when ingested. There is enough poison for two meals or glasses of wine. The poison is undetectable in other liquids or on food unless the victim has Expert Keen Senses in which case the poisoned item tastes ‘funny’ or ‘off’.

Master

(Props Required)
The assassin is a master of the nefarious craft of death. The names of master assassins are spoken of in hushed whispers.

Assassinate
The assassin can Ambush an opponent with any weapon.
Master Poisoner
The assassin can obtain up to six poison ingredients between adventures. The following, more complex venoms, require two ingredients each:
Elixir of Sleep
If this elixir is injected or ingested, the victim will fall into a deep sleep. Favoured methods of application seem to be on juicy fruit or else darning needles. The victim appears to be dead to all but the most skilled [Master Keen Senses; Master Channel Healing; or Master Physician]. The victim will normally awaken after one full day, groggy but unharmed unless the draught is cleansed. Only someone with at least Expert Keen Senses can detect this poison.
Hydra’s Venom
The venom is extremely acidic and burns through flesh and armour with equal ease, adding an extra point of damage to the first strike inflicted with the weapon. Each assassin will have their own recipe, but all require exotic ingredients such as the venom from a Hydra, demon Ichor or mandrake root steeped in human blood.
Tears of Ishur
Colourless and nearly odourless this ingested or injected poison will inflict 3 points of damage to every location when ingested. Only someone with at least Expert Keen Senses can detect this poison. Again, there are many names and recipes for this poison: the Strangler and Iocaine Powder being the most famous.

Bard

Proficient

The character has knowledge of the legends and tales of the world.

Praise/Satirise
The bard can use considerable ‘artistic licence’ in telling the tale of another character’s deeds. The game effect is to increase or decrease the reputation of a character by 1 level. Thus the bard’s tales could give someone of ambiguous reputation either a good reputation or a bad reputation. Praise/Satirise takes place between adventures and the character’s reputation will return to normal following the next adventure unless this ability is used again.

Expert

The character is now a truly skilled performr, capable of greatly influencing the world.

Bard Song
The music, stories, and poetry of the bard are so powerful they produce spell-like, magical effects. This power may be granted by the Fates, a Muse, or an echo of the divine song. The bard may call upon this power but three times in a single endeavour (per adventure); the indulgence of the Fates can only be swayed so much. Tales exist of bards who have drawn more from themselves. Still more tales concern the affront to the Fates causing great misfortune; the harsh powers have even stripped bards of their gift, cursing them to appreciate but never again perform. The bard must use a suitable medium such as a fiery speech, a love sonnet, or a melancholy ballad, for at least thirty seconds before the effect is felt, and the creature affected must be able to hear the bard. The effect of the song lasts for five minutes unless otherwise stated. All bard songs count as Mass 1st level beguilement magic.
Countersong
The fates bless the friends and allies of the singer of this song, such that hostile spells are turned aside (each gains a Spell Ward for the next 5 minutes).
Song of Celerity
This lively jig grants agility and grace. The bard and their friends and allies gain a Dodge for 5 minutes if they are not encumbered.
Song of Courage
The bard and their friends and allies gain Iron Will (or an additional use of Iron Will)
Song of Fortitude
This song banishes tiredness, or calls upon reserves of energy that those affected did not know they possessed. The bard and their friends and allies gain +1 to Endurance attribute.
Song of Freedom
As long as the bard continues to play they and their friends and allies are immune to entanglement effects. This song may also be used to break free from non-magical effects such as ropes, chains and manacles as long as the bard may sing (is not gagged).
Taunt
By use of incisive wit or simple rude gesturing the bard forces one opponent focus their attention on the bard for 10 seconds. The creature does not need to understand the language used, the bard’s manner is offensive enough. The creature may attack by any method it would normally choose. The taunt is broken if another attacks the opponent. The taunt counts as a first level beguilement effect and uses one bardic song.

Master

The master bard has access to truly great and powerful songs.

True Song
The maestro has the blessing of the Fates and may call upon their power six times per adventure. The following True Songs take more from the bard and count as two uses of a song. All bard songs now count as Mass 2nd level beguilements.
Countersong True
The bard calls upon the Fates to bless their friends and allies, such that more powerful hostile spells are turned aside (each gains a Major Spell Ward for the next 5 minutes).
Lingering Song
The refrain from this melody stays in the memory throughout the day. The bard may sing a song with the same effect as any of the lesser bard songs that normally has a duration of 5 minutes. However the duration of this greater song is 24 hours.
Lullaby
This song may only be used on those already entranced. The soothing songs lulls the listeners into a deep blissful sleep. Those affected can be awakened normally.
Song of Entrancement
All listening to the bard are affected will stop and listen to the bard for as long as the bard continues to play or until a hostile act occurs.
Song of Suggestion
This song may only be used on those already entranced,. All listening are affected by a Suggestion spell.
Geas
The bard can move the Fates to lay a Geas upon an opponent to carry out some service or refrain from some action. If the target breaks the terms of the Geas they sicken and lose one point of Endurance per day. A Geas cannot compel a creature to kill itself or to perform an action that would result in certain death. If such a Geas is attempted, the Fates turn their power upon the bard. The opponent will be held by subject to the Geas until such time as they have completed their task, or the bard releases them. A task that cannot ever be completed lasts for but a day. To lay a Geas costs 2 uses of bardic song.

As their final act, a bard can put all their passion and life into their swan song and the Geas counts as a Major Ritual effect. The virtuoso is sustained by the muses and no power, magical or otherwise can prematurely silence the recital. The bard dies at the moment this last, and greatest, performance ends.

Berserk

Proficient

The character may go berserk, either at the character’s will or as a result of outside actions [GM call], for example, if a loved one is brutally slain. The character may go berserk a number of times equivalent to their skill level per day.

Battle Haze
The berserker is a veritable killing machine, and does not feel pain or fear (immune to Fear effects). The character may fight on even when wounded (-1) until the combat is finished or until the location is further damaged to hack off a limb or kill (-2). Unfortunately, the character is insanely reckless and will not retreat from combat or use missile weaponry. Whilst berserk the warrior may also not use the special Parry or Dodge abilities provided by other skills. The player can still parry and dodge blows as normal.

Expert

The berserker’s powerful rage enables them to become tougher and withstand attempts to manipulate them.

Bestial Endurance
The Berserker has great powers of recovery. The character regains one hit point to all locations at once when they come out of their Battle Haze, and at Master level, Blood Rage.
Insane Fury
If berserk the warrior’s insane fury protects them from stuns and beguilement effects.

Master

The berserker can let loose the bestial nature that lies hidden beneath the veneer of civilisation.

Bear Skin
The berserker has a bear-like disregard for pain, such that they gain the equivalent 1 point of armour in all locations when they berserk, this ‘armour’ stacks with light armour only (1 point). The character now disdains the use of armour of more than fur as they believe that their power comes from nakedness: indeed, berserk translates as ‘bare skin’ or ‘bear skin’.
Blood Rage
The berserker may enter a “Blood Rage” at a cost of a use of the berserk skill. The berserker gains +1 to both their Strength and Endurance attributes. After combat finishes a great weariness descends upon the berserker and the character loses the Strength and Endurance gained.

Brawl

Proficient

The character has learned unarmed combat, either from a formal martial art like boxing or merely being in one too many bar fights!

Brawl
The brawler’s hands count as Size 1 weapons for all Skills and abilities and they may strike for one point of subdual damage. The character may also deal subdual damage with improvised weapons such as tankards, beer kegs or even chopsticks! Note that normal melee weapons are considered improvised weapons when used to subdue as they are not meant to be wielded in such a way. Unless a character has the Brawl skill both unarmed and improvised weapon deal only 1/2 half their normal damage as subdual damage.

Expert

The character is a skilled martial artist, and may use their bare hands to defeat armed opponents.

Deadly Strike
The brawler’s body is a lethal weapon and they may chose to deal normal damage with unarmed strikes or improvised weapons
Dodge
The character may Dodge one melee blow per battle by shouting, “Dodge!” The brawler is assumed to have twisted aside at the last second and the blow fails to land. The brawler takes no damage and ignores any special effect of the blow — such as Stun or Disarm.

Master

(Props Required)
The martial artist’s body is now a deadly weapon!

Iron Sleeves
The brawler has “iron sleeves” or lengths of steel rod sewn into the forearms of their clothes. These enable them to Parry other weapons (including other unarmed attacks) with their forearms and take no damage (call “Parry!”). Note the player must have some form of padding, both as a physical representation of the iron sleeves, and to prevent some nasty bruising!
Nerve Strike
The martial artist may strike at nerves and pressure points to disable or kill their foes. Once per combat they may strike for +1 point of damage that ignores armour (“Through!”).

Channel Glyph*

Proficient

(Requires Magical Aptitude — Channelling and Aura 1)
The character may apply designs upon themselves that may be charged to give magical effects. These designs take the form of tattoos, scarification, war paint or woad. All abilities count as 1st level spells and cost 1 mana to use unless otherwise stated.

Refer to the Liber Maleficarum(p§) for details on this and other Channelling skills.

Expert

(Requires Aura 2 and Proficient Meditation)
The channeller may inscribe still more elaborate glyphs and designs. All abilities count as 2nd level spells and cost 2 mana to use.

Master

(Requires Aura 3 and Expert Meditation)
The glyphs of a master writhe with power. All abilities count as a 3rd level spells and cost 3 mana to use.

Channel Healing*

Proficient

(Requires Magical Aptitude — Channelling and Aura 1)
The healer can channel their life essence to diagnose illness and heal wounds. All abilities count as 1st level spells and cost 1 mana to use.

Expert

(Requires Aura 2 and Proficient Meditation)
The healer has increased knowledge and skill and greater feats of healing may be achieved. The character may now cure diseases and poisons, all through an effort of will. All abilities count as 2nd level spells and cost 2 mana to use.

Master

(Requires Aura 3 and Expert Meditation)
The master healer has awe-inspiring powers over life. Only the dark curtain of death can stand against their power. All abilities count as 3rd level spells and cost 3 mana to use unless otherwise stated.

Channel Spirit*

Proficient

(Requires Magical Aptitude — Channelling and Aura 1)
The spirit warrior is able to channel their soul to enhance their combat ability. When a spirit warrior manifests their abilities they are surrounded by a corona of power, of colour determined at character creation, which should reflect the character’s inner nature, for example, the hands of a holy warrior monk might glow with a silvery radiance when they manifest a Spiritual Weapon. All abilities count as 1st level spells and cost 1 mana to use unless otherwise stated.

Expert

(Requires Aura 2 and Proficient Meditation)
The warrior is able to manifest yet more potent spiritual powers. All abilities count as 2nd level spells and cost 2 mana to use unless otherwise stated.

Master

(Requires Aura 3 and Expert Meditation)
The spirit warrior can manifest awe inspiring spiritual powers. All abilities count as Great level spells and cost 3 mana to use unless otherwise stated.

Courtier

Proficient

The Proficient courtier has knowledge of heraldry, who’s who amongst nobles and their insignias; etiquette, how nobles expect to be treated; and politics, the divisions and factions of the court and guilds and their goals.

Wealth
The courtier has more funds to draw upon than other characters. The courtier starts each adventure with a total of 2 gold per skill level of courtier

Expert

The courtier has a net of contacts and influence and is one of the first to hear of any rumour or gossip, most of it scurrilous.

Bluff
The courtier is a shrewd manipulator of people. The courtier can attempt a Bluff once per encounter. The effect of the Bluff is that a person or group will believe the honey-tongued courtier is telling the truth about a single subject, however, the more outrageous the tale the more exceptional the role-playing needs to be for the bluff to succeed. In any case, a Bluff will not succeed if there is direct evidence to the contrary.
Resources
The character’s resources are such that they may start each adventure with one item, drawn from those provided by the skills: Alchemy, Ambush and Physician at Expert level.

Master

The character is amongst the great and good of the land.

Favour
The courtier has such influence amongst the high and mighty that they may call in a Favour. This may be from past obligations or knowledge that the character hold: “Blackmail is such an ugly word”. The favour may be anything the character desires, for example, the ministrations of the court physician or the arrest of a “known” felon. The GM will determine who the character must ask the favour of, why they might grant it, and exactly what the repercussions are.
Great Resources
The character’s resources are such that they may start each adventure with: 2 lesser items or 1 greater item, drawn from those provided by the skills: Alchemy, Ambush and Physician at Expert or Master level.

Duellist

Proficient

The character is skilled in the duel, a ritualised form of combat where conducting a duel in the correct manner is almost more important than winning. As armour is often proscribed in a duel, surviving duellists must be adept at dodging

Dodge
The duellist is so swift that they may Dodge a blow by shouting, “Dodge!” The duellist is assumed to have twisted aside at the last second and the blow fails to land. The duellist takes no damage and ignores any special effect of the blow — such as Stun or Disarm. The duellist may Dodge one blow per skill level in Duellist per battle. “Gadzooks! It’s naught but a flesh wound!”

Expert

The warrior is a noted duellist, using speed and agility to overcome their foes.

Disarm
Once per combat the duellist may use a Dodge to attempt to disarm an opponent. To disarm something the duellist must simply strike the weapon and call “Disarm! (Proficient)” or “Disarm! (Expert)” at Master level. If the opponent’s weapon skill is equal (or less) than the call, the weapon goes spinning away. A Disarm may not be Parried but may be dodged. Truly skilled duellists disarm their foe, and then allow them to pick the weapon up! “Style, dont you know.”
Tumbler’s Leap
The duellist can “roll with the blow” or spring to their feet with a nifty back flip. In either case, the duellist immediately regains their footing and is immune to strikedown effects.

Master

The Master duellist is an artist, turning combat into a swift and deadly dance.

Lightning Reactions
The Master duellist’s lightning reactions mean they can use their Dodge ability to avoid even strike spells or missile attacks.
Lithe
The duellist is so agile, they may use a Dodge to twist aside or break free from entangling spells or effects

Inspire

Proficient

The character is a trained or natural leader.

Charisma
The leader has a natural authority, strangers will automatically assume that they are the leader of any group. The character has the happy knack of being able to explain, simply and clearly, complex instructions and once per day may grant the entire group the first level of Proficiency in any Skill they possess. The individuals so trained may each then use this skill in any one scene of the adventure [a battle, a trek through the wilderness etc.].

Expert

The character is an exceptional leader and radiates power.

Look of Eagles
The character is so charismatic, that they bear the Look of Eagles and any that choose to follow them are immune to fear effects as long as they still stand. Note that the character is not immune to fear effects without the use of other skills or effects.
Steely Gaze
Foes may quail beneath the character’s Steely Gaze: once per day the character can call a Mass Fear effect if they first perform an impressive feat or demonstrate the use of an Expert skill, for example the character disarms the bandit leader or strikes them down with a Fireball.

Master

The character is a leader of legendary ability. Such a leader can change the very tide of history and save [or damn] entire nations.

Inspire Greatness
The leadership of the character is such that they may Inspire Greatness in each of their followers once per adventure. Each of their followers counts as being at +1 level to an existing non-magical Skill or Attribute for one scene if the leader calls upon their aid. Other heroic effects may be possible with GM permission, such as a follower choosing to throw himself in front of a Lightning Strike leaving the leader unharmed.
Loyalty
Any spell or effect cast upon the leader’s followers to make them doubt their leadership will automatically fail [Bluff, Suggestion, Traitor etc.].

Iron Will

Proficient

The character has developed reserves of fortitude and inner strength.

Resolve
The character may call on their Resolve a number of times equivalent to their skill level per day. Resolve can be used to; break any and all fear effects, ignore the effects of a wound for a battle or scene, march day and night, ignore a single stun effect or resist torture (call “Iron Will!”).

Expert

Stalwart
The character’s strength of will and purpose is such that they can shrug off stun effects (“Immune”) as caused by the Expert Smite ability and some spell effects.
Strength of Will
The character’s will is such that they may automatically resist any Minor beguilement effects.

Master

The character’s strength of purpose and will is evident to all.

Death Stand
The character may declare a Death Stand at the cost of one of their Iron Will uses. The character immediately gains additional hit points equal to their Endurance, but cannot flee from the battle. At the end of the battle or scene, the character loses these additional hit points, which may well result in the character’s death.
Force of Will
The character can automatically resist any Minor or Major beguilement effect by sheer force of will.

Keen Senses

Proficient

The character has extraordinarily keen senses.

Alertness
If the character’s skill level in Keen Senses is higher than the opponent’s skill in Ambush, Rogue, or Stealth then they are immune to the direct effects these skills produce. If the character has skill at the same level as an opponent then the character will be suspicious or uneasy but not immune to any game effect.

Expert

The character senses are now so acute that they can respond to hidden dangers or effects.

Danger Sense
Subliminal cues allow the character to sense danger. For example: the character is about to drink some spiced mead, the GM informs them that it smells “off”. The character throws the mug to the floor where it hisses and steams. Poison!
Sixth Sense
The character can sense when they are being spied upon by hidden watchers such as spirits or Scrying mages.

Master

The character is preternaturally aware of their surroundings.

Blind Fighting
The character’s senses are so keen that they can fight even when blind and react to hidden or invisible opponents. If the character is blinded, or if fighting an invisible opponent the player may call “blind fighting!” and fight with one eye open to reflect their skill.
Clear Sight
The character is immune to any and all illusion spells. The character can also try to spot the emotional state of those they talk to: anger, fear etc., or if someone is telling a direct lie. This will work unless their opponent is skilled at dissembling [has the Skill Courtier or Rogue].

Mage Sphere*

Proficient

(Requires Magical Aptitude — Mage & Aura 1)
This skill is actually six separate skills: Naming, Mysticism, Wizardry, Thaumaturgy, Elementalism, and Sorcery. Each of these Spheres must be purchased separately. The mage is learned, and their Lore is such that they may recognise spells in their own sphere of one level higher than they can cast, and in adjacent spheres of one level lower than they can cast. For example, an Elementalist that can cast Major spells (level 2) can recognise Great spells (level 3) in Elementalism and Minor spells (level 1) in Naming, Thaumaturgy and Sorcery.

Spell Casting (Minor)
The mage is an initiate in the art, and may cast any Minor spells [level 1] of each sphere purchased.

Expert

(Requires Proficient in Additional Magical Skill & Aura 2)
More of the mysteries of the sphere become revealed to the character. The Mage is versed in the beginnings of truly powerful magic.

Farcast
The mage can cast any spell that is caster only onto a target creature. Spells cast this way cost one more point of mana and require an Aura one higher than is normally required.
Spell Casting (Major)
The mage is an expert in the art, and may cast Major spells [level 2]

Master

(Requires Expert in Two Additional Magical Skills & Aura 3)
The character is a great and powerful mage; other mortals tremble before their arcane might.

Mass
The character can modify any spell they can cast in this sphere to affect multiple targets by casting a Mass version. The spell now affects anyone the caster wishes within a 10’ radius of the target. The character casts the spell as normal, adding “Mass” before the name of the spell in the final vocal. The spell is counted as being 1 level higher for Aura and mana requirements only.
Spell Casting (Great)
As a master in the art, the character may cast Great spells [level 3]

For much more information on magical spheres and spells, see the Liber Maleficarum(p§).

Meditation

Proficient

The character may still their mind and emerge refreshed.

Trance
Once per day the character may pray or enter a meditative trance. If the character maintains the trance for at least 5 minutes they regain mana equivalent to their Aura as if an hour had passed . Whilst in a trance the character is very difficult to awaken [10 second count to react] and may not react to any danger or counter any spell.

Expert

The character possesses even greater powers of mental discipline and concentration.

Mental Discipline
The character has such mental discipline that their power is self contained and a permanent Word of Concealment(p§) effect protects from prying eyes.
Focus
The character’s focus is such that even being struck in combat will not break their concentration. A spell may be completed and not miscast.

Master

The adept has miraculous powers of mind over matter.

Enlightenment
The character possesses great powers of concentration. Spells which normally require total concentration become concentration spells, and spells that normally require concentration may be continued for 10 seconds after concentration has been broken.
Mental Fortress
The adept’s mind is sealed to all. Their mental focus is such that their mind is protected by a permanent Mental Fortress(p§).

Physician

Proficient

(Props Required)
The character has had basic medical training and can close battlefield wounds.

Bind Wounds
The physician can stop someone from bleeding to death (stable but still wounded) by binding their wounds. To bind wounds you need to have bandages and the bleed out time stops from the moment the physician applies pressure to the wound.

Expert

(Props Required)
The physician is well versed in medical practice.

Apothecary
The physician is a skilled apothecary and may use medicinal ‘herbs and simples’ to reduce fevers and purge poisons. Between adventures, the physician can find three medicinal ingredients to make any combination of the following at a cost of one ingredient each. All physician potions thus created count as 1st level spell effects.
Healing Salve
This recipe makes up a thick green viscous salve. If applied to a injury it heals 1 point of damage.
Philtre of Stamina
When drunk the user adds +1 point to the Endurance attribute as they are filled with unnatural vigour. The effects last for but one hour. This potion is also known as ‘Dwarven Ale’.
Sweetbalm
The purgative created by this recipe can be used to flush all lesser poisons from the body.
Chirurgery
The physician may diagnose common illnesses and diseases. They may also sew up lacerations and set bones, such that the patient recovers one hit point to a damaged location. A maximum of one hit point per day can be regained to each location. The skill requires use of a physician’s kit and five minutes of role-playing, a bandage should be applied to the limb to show that it has been treated.

Master

(Props Required)
The physician is one of the finest medical practitioners in the land.

Apothecary
The physician is a skilled apothecary. Between adventures, the physician may acquire six medicinal ingredients for their treatments. The following require two ingredients each:
Healing Potion
The drinker of this potion recovers 1 hit point to all injured locations.
Sovereign Tonic
This foul tasting liquid is a veritable panacea or catholicium. The remedy expels or corrects all ill humours that affect the recipient, curing any natural diseases and flushing all toxins or poisons.
Potion of Mental Clarity
This potion brings calm to a disordered mind. The recipe is so potent as to suppress the symptoms caused by mind influencing magic for 1 day.
Master Chirurgery
The master chirurgeon has great skill and may save mangled limbs or snatch someone from the jaws of death. The surgeon’s general chirurgery skill increases such that with their treatment a maximum of two hit points per day can be regained to each location. In addition, the surgeon can perform Major Surgery on a character once per adventure. This may re-attach a severed limb, or restore to life somebody who has bled out in the last five minutes, “Breathe damn you. You’re not dead till I’ll say so!” Again, this requires use of a physician’s kit.

Priest*

Proficient

(Requires Magical Aptitude — Priest & Aura 1)
The character is a devout worshiper of one of the Gods and the prayers they speak have a game world effect. The priest knows the forms and rituals of worship of their God. The character may recognise prayers 1 level higher than they can call upon, and know their effects and abilities. The priest also knows the strengths and weaknesses of enemies of their faith.

Minor Prayers
The worshipper may call upon the Minor prayers of the God.

Expert

(Requires Proficient Deity Favoured Skill & Aura 2)
The priest is beloved of their god and is gifted with still greater spiritual might.

Bless
The priest brings divine attention to a person or place. A child receiving a blessing is baptised into the church. A marriage blessing ensures both souls will be re-united in the after life. A corpse is judged and their soul sent to its final resting place (the corpse can no longer be raised). The priest can modify any prayers to affect multiple worshippers. The character calls upon the prayer as normal, adding “Blessed” before the final vocal. The prayer is treated as a Mass prayer that only affects the Faithful or other Priests of the religion and grants them exactly the same blessing as the priest receives. The prayer counts as one level higher for mana and Aura requirements only.
Major Prayers
The Priest is looked upon with favour and may call upon Major prayers.

Master

(Requires Two Expert Deity Favoured Skills & Aura 3)
The living saint is an instrument of their god and makes their divine will manifest.

Great Prayers
The Priest is an instrument of divine will and may call upon Great prayers.
Mass
The character can modify any prayer they can cast to affect multiple targets by casting a Mass version. The spell now affects anyone the caster wishes within a 10’ radius of the target. The character casts the prayer as normal, adding “Mass” before the name of the prayer in the final vocal. The prayer is counted as being 1 level higher for Aura requirements and mana only.

For much more information on prayers, see the Liber Maleficarum (p§).

Ritual Magic*

Proficient

(Requires Proficient Mage Sphere OR Proficient Priest)
Grants the ability to perform minor ritual magics at the cost of 1XP per ritual.

Expert

(Requires Expert Mage Sphere or Expert Priest)
Grants the ability to perform major ritual magics at the cost of 2XP per ritual.

Master

(Requires Master Mage Sphere or Master Priest)
Grants the ability to perform great ritual magics at the cost of 3XP per ritual.

See Ritual Magic (p§) for more information on rituals.

Rogue

Proficient

(Props Required)
The character is a rogue, a loveable rogue perhaps, but a rogue nonetheless. The rogue is familiar with who’s who in the underworld, how much a piece is worth to a fence, and how to pick a lock or raise a crossbar (to pick a lock the rogue needs a set of lock picks).

Concealment
The rogue is skilled in concealment. This is useful to hide small weapons, lock picks, conceal evidence, or become a card shark, or bunco artist. The rogue may conceal one small object per level of Rogue. In game terms, give it to the player GM to hold.

Expert

(Props Required)
The rogue has more larcenous skills up their sleeve.

Disguise
The rogue can simulate the mannerisms and the appearance of a type of person, but not a specific individual. The type of person that can be mimicked is restricted to a type broadly similar to the rogue, so for example Aurelia is slender and obviously feminine, she could disguise herself as; a peasant woman, an alewife, a proud lady or a sultry harlot. She could not, however, disguise herself as a barbarian warlord.
Pilfer
The rogue has such nimble fingers that they can attempt to Pilfer an object. The player must touch the object without getting caught, using the call “Pilfer...” For example, when being thrown in prison the rogue may try to pilfer the keys hanging at the jailer’s belt. Remember to check your rings after an Expert rogue shakes hands with you.

Master

The master criminal is infamous for their daring schemes in the underworld. Other rogues speak in whispers of the brilliant crimes they have achieved.

Appraise
The rogue is skilled at evaluating a “mark”. The rogue can tell what the target’s highest mundane skill is. For example, calluses on the hand may reveal a master swordsman or scholar and the arrogant bearing of a courtier is hard to miss. This ability may thwart a Disguise or Glamour if the target’s skills do not match the role that is being played.
Cunning Plan
The Master rogue lives by their wits and always has a Cunning Plan to deal with any eventuality. When not in combat they can call a time-freeze that will last for ten seconds. During this time, they may perform any normal activity apart from striking foes or casting spells [grabbing gemstones or holding a dagger to a hostage’s throat is fine]. The rogue can use one Cunning Plan per day.

Scholar

Proficient

You are learned and know your letters.

Learned
The scholar has been tutored and is both literate and numerate. Knowledge is less specialised in a medieval society and the scholar has knowledge of history, law, philosophy, theology etc.

Expert

The scholar is a respected intellectual and keeps up a lively correspondence on a wide range of scholarly matters.

Linguist
The scholar has developed a flair for language. The scholar is fluent in any two additional languages. Moreover, the scholar can try to make themself understood in any language due to the common linguistic roots of tongues. To signify the struggle to find the correct words and the lack of grammatical awareness, the scholar and their target may only converse in words of one syllable. At Master level another two languages are gained and the scholar may converse in words of two syllables in unfamiliar tongues.
Scholarly Research
The scholar can research any one piece of information on a subject they have encountered during the course of their previous adventures. The scholar is assumed to have travelled to libraries, written to other scholars and drawn conclusions. The knowledge gained can be the equivalent of the knowledge given by any other Expert skill. Scholarly Research takes place between adventures.

Master

The savant is incredibly learned, with a vast repository of knowledge.

Secret Lore
The Scholar is learned in Lore, Theology and the spell-like abilities granted by skills, the player may refer to the Liber Maleficarum to check upon any spell or spell-like effects. The scholar may be able to counter some spells through the knowledge gleaned, “Ah, Animal Transformation is it, now where did I put my Wolfsbane?”
Scholarly Deduction
The character’s lore is so deep that they have developed a “scholarly deduction”. They can ask a question of the GM that requires a “yes” or “no” answer. So long as the answer is “yes” the character can ask a follow up question and so forth. Hence, long chains of deduction can be made from somewhat flimsy starting points, a la Holmes or William of Baskerville. This may be done once per game day.

Smite

Proficient

The warrior is trained in how to use explosive bursts of strength for combat advantage.

Mighty Blow
The warrior can unleash a powerful blow of such strength and ferocity that their foe is flung aside. The warrior may declare one of their strikes as a Mighty Blow and if this hits or is parried, the opponent is knocked back (call “Knockback! Strength X!”). The warrior’s Strength is modified for this purpose by the weapon that they wield and they gain +1 effective Strength if using a Great [Size 3] weapon. The warrior may use one Mighty Blow per skill level in Smite per battle.

Expert

The warrior can use their strength for still greater feats.

Cleave
When wielding a Great melee weapon, the warrior’s Strength counts as a full 1 point higher for the purposes of calculating damage rather than just for the purposes of meeting minimum requirements. This means that the warrior may deal +1 damage per battle at Strength 2 or +1 damage per blow at Strength 3.
Stunning Blow
The Mighty Blows of the warrior fling their enemies with such force that enemy is Stunned. This is resolved in the same way as the Mighty Blow ability but the enemy is also stunned for 10 seconds (call “Knockback Strength X, Stun!”).

Master

The skill and strength of the warrior is such that they may break asunder an opponent’s weapon or scatter a group of enemies.

Iron Grip
The vice-like Strength of the warrior means that they are immune to Disarm attempts (call “Immune”).
Shatter
The warrior may use a may use a mighty blow to shatter his enemies’ items. To shatter something the warrior must simply strike the item and call “Shatter!” The warrior’s modified Strength must be greater than the Size of the item. An enchanted item may only be shattered by someone wielding an enchanted weapon.

Smithcraft

Proficient

The character is a skilled smith and knowledgeable about weapons and armour. The smith may determine the origin and other interesting facts about armour or weapons: “An orcish arrow, beware they’re often poisoned!”

Field repairs
The character is skilled in the field repair of armour, and may repair armour up to its full armour value on an adventure. Field repairs may be repeated a number of times equivalent to the smith’s skill level for any armour repaired.

Expert

The smith is renowned for the quality of their work and knows ancient secrets of smithcraft.

Artisan
The smith is a fine craftsman and may create items of exceptional value. The smith may start the adventure with one specially crafted item. These items are custom made for the intended user and will not normally give any special effect in another’s hands. Note; the item crafted requires constant care and maintenance and must be selected each adventure.
Superior Arms
The smith crafts a weapon to compliment a warrior’s fighting style. The weapon grants any one use (or one additional use) of the Parry or Mighty Blow abilities per Combat, decided upon at time of crafting. Thus, a shield or main gauche could be crafted that grants a Parry or a Mace a Mighty Blow.
Superior Armour
The armour crafted is especially robust and durable. The armour may be repaired twice as often as usual on an adventure.
Superior Equipment
The smith may craft tools that are perfect for any one specific task. The equipment gives one additional “ingredient” or increases the effective level of any skill that requires tools. Thus superior alchemical apparatus can be made for an Alchemist (+1 additional ingredient per adventure), armour repair tools for a Smith (+1 additional use of field repairs for any armour repaired).
Forge craft
The smith knows how to forge special steels. An Expert Smith knows how to forge any three of the following: Bane-fused steel, Dwarven steel, Elven steel, Meteoric Iron, Serpent steel, Shard steel. Note, normally only Dwarven or Elven smiths may select the secret steels of their race. Refer to the section on Expert Steels (p§) for further details of the steels. To permanently forge an item crafted from one of these Expert steels costs 1 experience point

Master

The smith is a noted master of the craft and can forge the most complex and intricate of items.

Artisan (greater)
The smith has greater and deeper lore. The smith may forge any two of the lesser weapons or armour or one greater item. They may permanently enhance weapons or armour by means of old rituals and blood magic. The cost for this is 1 point of experience for Expert items or 2 for Master-crafted items. Items created do not count as magical for any other purpose other than that explicitly stated in the description.
Exquisite Balance
The weapon or armour has been crafted to fit a person perfectly. The weapon or set of armour is treated as being one less Size category for encumbrance and fatigue.
Masterwork Armour
The armour has been perfectly crafted to turn a blow aside. Armour so crafted is counted as +1 to armour value for an adventure.
Masterwork Weapon
The weapon is perfectly balanced and responsive in a warrior’s hands. The weapon grants a single use (or one additional use) of either the Disarm(as per Expert Duellist) or Stunning Blow abilities in each Combat decided upon at time of crafting.
Master craft
The smith knows how to forge a further three additional steels and may select the secret steels of the Dwarven and Elven races. Note that each of the following master steels requires knowledge of a lesser steel before they can be learnt: Adamantium — prerequisite Dwarven, Vorpal — prerequisite Shard, Meteoric Steel — prerequisite Meteoric Iron, Mithril — prerequisite Elven, Serpent’s Kiss — prerequisite Serpent, Spirit — prerequisite Bane-fused. Refer to the section on Master Steels (p§) for further details of the steels.

To permanently forge master steels requires 2 experience points.

Expert Steels

Items made from these steels may be crafted by an Expert Smith. At character creation a character may purchase an item made from any one of the steels for 1 point.

Banefused Steel:
The smith carefully blends alloys to give other metals the resilience of steel. Weapon counts as enchanted when used against the named foe. Armour counts as hardened.
Blood Steel:
This reddish metal is plundered from the sites of ancient battles and reforged anew. This steel has a sympathetic resonance with the plane of the dead and is potent against the undead.
Cold Iron:
A metal tempered and hardened without the touch of fire, cold iron is harmful to nature spirits (fey) and creatures from the pit (demons).
Silver Alloy:
The shining silver alloy is potent against the ravening spirits of beast and darkness (void).
Dwarven Steel:
The addition of small amounts of adamantium gives this steel great durability and resilience. Items crafted from Dwarven steel are resistant to Shatter effects (Magical defence 3) and are durable.
Elven Steel:
Items made from Elven steel, or ithilmar, do not impede the flow of mana as other metals do (no mana penalty), indeed they may be used to store 1 point of mana per adventure. This steel may be forged to give a great variety of colours.
Meteoric Iron:
Armour crafted from meteoric iron is resistant to magical effects. The wearer of the armour may call upon a Spellward once per adventure.
Shard Steel:
This steel is folded and refolded to give steel that is strong, flexible and may be milled to give an incredibly sharp edge. The weapon deals through damage for the first blow of any combat. After this the blade loses its edge and is treated as a normal weapon. The weapon may be resharpened between battles (5 minutes).
Serpent Steel:
Also known as ribbon steel, this steel is incredibly flexible; a serpent steel sword can be worn as a belt! The long grains within the metal, gives a distinctive, iridescent, scale-like pattern. Items made of serpent steel count as one Size smaller for the purposes of concealment, so a small item such as a dagger can be concealed by anyone, or a sword concealed by a rogue. A serpent steel dagger is a favourite tool in an assassin’s arsenal. Indeed merely possessing such a weapon in some areas is grounds for a trial and summary execution. It is to be speculated on the number of victims killed by a cunning assassin, planting such a weapon in a pocket rather than a back.

Master Steels

Items made from these steels may be crafted by a Master Smith. At character creation a character may purchase an item made from any one of the steels for 2 points.

Adamantium (prereq. Dwarven Steel):
This steel, only mined deep within Dwarven Delves, has the strength and resilience of the Dwarves themselves. Adamantium armour is: +1 to its Armour value compared with other armour of the same type, and is resistant to Shatter effects (Magical defence 3).

Adamantium weapons count as magical for the purpose of breaking other weapons and are resistant to shatter effects (Magical defense 3)

Meteoric Steel (prereq. Meteoric Iron):
Armour made from meteoric steel is just as resistant to magical effects as Meteoric Iron (Spellward once per adventure) but in addition the steel is much harder than the iron and may turn aside even a crossbow bolt (counts as hardened against all attacks).
Mithril (prereq. Elven Steel):
This bright, glimmering metal is light and flexible, despite being as strong as normal steel. Any item crafted from mithril counts as being one Size smaller for the purpose of wielding as a weapon or wearing as armour, and does not impede the flow of mana as other metals do (no mana penalty).
Serpents Kiss (prereq. Serpent Steel):
There is something disturbing about weapons crafted from this glossy black metal, they almost appear to hunger. Weapons crafted from this steel are as flexible as Serpent steel and in addition always count as envenomed (venom). Any slain by such a weapon cannot be returned to life by any method.
Spirit Steel (prereq. Bane Steel):
Any arms or armour crafted from this steel count as enchanted with all normal effects.
Vorpal Steel (prereq. Shard Steel):
Valyrurian or Vorpal Steel has been blended with special crystals that are both harder and more valuable than diamonds. The steel may be milled to give a weapon an incredibly sharp edge that does not ever blunt. Trace impurities in the crystal give a dazzling variety of colours. A vorpal weapon deals through damage.

Stealth

Proficient

The character is skilled at hiding from opponents.

Hide
The character can vanish into appropriate cover such as behind a rock, into undergrowth, in a deep shadow and so on. In game terms, to use this skill the player finds appropriate cover and then holds up one finger per skill level. This skill may only be used if the person you are hiding from did not see you enter cover.

Expert

The character is skilled in evasion and the art of stalking.

Distract
This allows the character to temporarily divert the attention of a small group of people who are not aware of their presence. This can be achieved by throwing a pebble into the undergrowth etc. As long as no hostile action is taken, those affected are distracted and will not see the sneak.
Stalk
The character is so stealthy that it is possible to move from one area of cover to another. The character can take up to three steps between cover and still not be seen. Again, this skill may only be used if the person you are stalking did not see you enter cover.

Master

The character is skilled in the art of stealth. Often, the first an opponent learns of their presence is when a dagger flies from the shadows.

Sniper
With a missile or projectile weapon, the character may make one attack from cover and remain unseen. This can be done once per scene.
Walk in Shadows
The character is supernaturally stealthy. Once per day, if no one sees them enter cover, they are treated as Invisible.

Survival

Proficient

The character may survive in the wild places of the world. Such tasks as hunting for food, water and shelter, and starting a fire are covered with this skill. The ranger may find a relatively direct route through the wildest of lands, and track or follow trails.

Track
The ranger can follow trails and identify the tracks of creatures of all kinds. The ranger can determine such characteristics as walking with a limp etc. The ranger may also hide the tracks of themselves and a small group; only someone with survival skill to the same level may track them.

Expert

The ranger is at home in the wilds, and nature provides for their needs.

Herbalist
The ranger is a skilled herbalist, and may use medicinal “herbs and simples” to; heal wounds, purge poisons, or create them. The ranger may find ingredients in the wild to make any one of the lesser items created by the Assassin or Physician skills. The item is created during the course of the adventure and does not need to be chosen until required.
Iron Constitution
The woodsman has often had to eat what others consider inedible. The ranger’s hardiness is such that they are immune to all lesser poisons.

Master

The character is at one in the wilds, and can survive and prosper where others would perish.

Adamantium Constitution
The ranger’s hardiness is such that they are immune to all poisons and poison effects.
Nature’s Bounty
The ranger may find ingredients to make any two lesser items created by the Assassin or Physician skills or any one of the greater items. Again the items are created during the course of the adventure and do not need to be chosen until required.

Weapon skill — Melee

Proficient

The warrior is skilled in a particular melee weapon group. These groups are sets of weapons that are very similar to wield. A character not Proficient in a weapon does half damage when wielding it. Similarly, each weapon has an associated Size; the character must have Strength equal to that Size to use the weapon to its full effect. If the character doesn’t have sufficient Strength to use a weapon, again they do half the normal damage.

If a melee weapon is taken in both hands the character is counted as having Strength attribute of one higher for the purposes of determining the maximum weapon Size that can be wielded only. This bonus does not apply to spear and polearm type weapons as their length makes them unwieldy.

Expert

The warrior is an expert with a specific weapon and has learned to judge an opponent’s skill.

Opening
With a melee weapon, for one attack per opponent per battle, you can add one point to the damage you are doing with that weapon. This is to represent the warrior seeing an opening in their opponents defences, and hitting a particularly vulnerable area.

Master

The character may add one to all damage done with the weapon group they have selected. This does not stack with the +1 damage gained at expert level: in effect all hits are at vulnerable areas.

Weapon skill — Missile

Proficient

The warrior is skilled in a missile weapon group. These groups are sets of weapons that are very similar to wield. A character not Proficient in a weapon does half damage when wielding it. Similarly, each weapon has an associated Size; the character must have Strength equal to that Size to use the weapon to its full effect. If the character doesn’t have sufficient Strength to use a weapon, again they do half the normal damage. Crossbows can be fired but not reloaded without sufficient Strength.

Expert

The warrior is an expert with a specific weapon.

Aimed Shot
With a missile weapon, the character may use an Aimed Shot. If the player aims at an opponent for 5 full seconds before firing then the shot deals +1 damage. The player may use this any number of times.

Master

The character may add one to all damage done with the weapon group they have selected. This does not stack with the +1 damage gained at expert level: in effect areas all shots are Aimed Shots.

Weapon Skill — Shield

Proficient

The warrior is skilled in the use of shields. A character without this skill who blocks a blow with a shield takes a point of subdual damage to their arm. Each shield has an associated Size; the character must have Strength equal to that Size to use the shield to its full effect. If the character doesn’t have sufficient Strength to use a shield, again they count as encumbered.

Expert

The warrior is an expert with the shield.

Parry
With shields, a character can Parry one blow per combat, the blow is ruled to have caught the shield on the way in and this glancing blow does no damage. However, any special effects such as Mighty Blow and Shatter are applied to the shield. Note: a shield cannot be disarmed.
Shield Block
The character may use their Parry ability to block strike spells or missiles. In this case the shield takes the damage that otherwise would have been inflicted on the character [the shield’s hits are equal to double its Size].

Master

The warrior is a master with the shield.

Absorbing Shield
The character takes half damage from all strike spells [including area effect spells such as Elemental Storm] as they are assumed to take cover beneath the shield. The shield takes no damage unless it is used to directly Parry the spell, then the player takes no damage and the shield takes damage as usual.
Wall of Steel
If the character is a Master with a shield, they may Parry two blows per combat.

Melee Weapon Groups

Axes and Clubs

These are unbalanced, hafted weapons, whose maiming and killing power is much appreciated by the discerning warrior. Knights commonly take one of these as a back up weapon.

Size 1 (max. 32”)
belaying pin, hatchet
Size 2 (max. 42”)
axe, club, mace, hammer
Size 3
great axe, great hammer (maul)

Short Weapons

Short weapons are those less than 18” long. They are easy to use and every character is automatically Proficient at no cost.

Size 1
dagger, poniard, main-gauche, hand axe, sap

Sword and Sabre

Balanced for both attack and defence, a sword is perhaps the perfect melee weapon. As it is so effective, each culture has developed their own style of sword, but mostly these are subtle variants of the type listed. Despite this, swords are not common due to a combination of cost and the fact that in civilised regions swords are the prerogative of the military and the nobility.

Size 1 (max. 32”)
short sword, small sword
Size 2 (max. 42”)
broad sword, cavalry sabre, cutlass, long sword, scimitar
Size 3
great sword

Staff and Spear

A common soldier’s weapon. In mass combat, spears and polearms are primarily used for thrusting to keep cavalry at bay. In the confines of a skirmish melee, they must be wielded as a quarterstaff, allowing for defence and a combination of point and blunt strikes, else their size becomes a liability.

Size 2 (max. 72”)
staff, spear
Size 3
great spear, polearms

Shield

Shields are used in a secondary hand to block weapons. Since melee combat usually consists of hack-and-slash, fencing being uncommon, an opponent who has lost their shield will often yield or flee.

Size 1 (20”)
buckler
Size 2 (36”)
targe, knight’s shield
Size 3
great shield, kite shield, tower shield

Missile Weapon Groups

Bows

Bows are a common weapon found in battlefields across history, used for both hunting and war. A well-shot arrow passes straight through armour. Size 2 and above bows do through damage.

Size 1
short bow (not Through)
Size 2
longbow, recurve bow
Size 3
great bow (English longbow)

Crossbows

Crossbows are found in modern armies. Their accuracy at short ranges is unmatched and bolts punch through armour as easily as arrows (Size 2 and above crossbows only). It requires only Strength 1 to fire a crossbow — however to reload one requires a Strength attribute at least equal to the Size of the crossbow. If the character is not strong enough to reload the crossbow, then it may be used only once per combat [it can be assumed that between combats a goat’s foot — a metal loading device — or windlass, is used to load the weapon].

Size 1
pistol crossbow (not Through)
Size 2
light crossbow
Size 3
arbalest, heavy crossbow (does +1 damage, may only be fired once per combat)

Thrown Weapons

Thrown weapons, unlike other missile weapons, do not do through damage. Their chief advantage lies in the element of surprise and speed of use: no one expects a warrior to pull something from his belt and hurl it when he has a sword in his hand.

Size 1
knife, shuriken, hatchet, belaying pin, sling
Size 2
axe, club, spear
Size 3
staff sling

Eledriel has just started her magical studies and has basic knowledge of the Mysticism and Naming spheres. She is widely read and learned in many areas including the latest court gossip. Her elven senses are keener than most humans.

Eledriel has the following skills Proficient Mysticism, Proficient Naming, Proficient Keen Senses, Proficient Courtier, Proficient Scholar, Proficient Meditation and Proficient Artificer. This uses up her remaining 7 points.

Liber Maleficarium

The old man peered into the crystal sphere, stroking his long grey beard as he did so. At one side, his young apprentice pulled up a stool and stood on it so she might see what he was scrying. As he bent the crystal to his will, images began to form...

“I don’t know what it was!” A dark man was speaking to a tall, sharp looking gentleman in red robes. “It came from the rooftops, leapt at me with an unearthly screech, and attacked me! Thank the gods I had my companions with me, or I would surely be dead!”

The red robed figure remained silent, tapping his ringed fingers against each other. The dark man paused, and then continued. “So...I did what you asked — I found the old fool’s trinket. I have it with me now, if you have the money.”

The old man’s apprentice stirred. “Master, is this true? Have ruffians stolen your artefact? Is that the lesson for today, that I must seek a new teacher?” He raised a finger, and she fell silent.

The red robed figure spoke quickly, uttering something just below hearing, and a massive bolt of lightning erupted from his fingertips, incinerating the dark man in a flash. He smiled a cold smile.

The old man turned to his apprentice. “The lessons for today: number one, Evil destroys itself.”

The red robed figure walked over to the smoking remnant of a body, and poked through its remains. He pulled out a small necklace, written over with tiny runes.

The red robed figure raised the necklace to his eyes, turning it back and forth in the light. He smiled once more, and put it on around his neck.

“Lesson two,” the old man said. “Be prepared to sacrifice your queen in the endgame. I call upon a Great magic — Destruction!”

The necklace erupted into fire, blowing the red robed man’s head off in one swift explosion. The body toppled to the ground.

The old man smiled. “Lesson three: Do not anger me.”

“Lessons over. I want my study clean by morning.”

Introduction

“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards: they are subtle, and quick to anger...”

Magic.

Magic is the difference between the scintillating worlds of fantasy and the humdrum world of the mundane.

It is what is impossible in the real world. It is throwing aside enemies with a wave of the hand, or glimpsing hidden spirits that lie all around. It is everything that lives only in our dreams.

In the Cuckoo’s Nest Role Playing Game, the power of magic is available to many. Most can learn to use the inherent magic of the world, weaving together ingredients to make potions or other special items. However, to draw on power from within is a rare gift.

The true mage has learned to focus their internal power and release it as a powerful spell. These spells might have been studied in a college, learnt at the knee of a master, or have been passed on by inhuman spirits. Regardless, they all draw on the power of the mage and manipulate it within the framework of a magical sphere.

There are six different spheres of power, each a different way of manipulating the universe with mana. There is one fundamental sphere Naming magic that lies at the centre of all. Naming magic is the original magic, the power over true names that the first mages used before the specialised spheres were developed. The others lie around Naming magic like a wheel, in order:

Mysticism
Mystics use the power of the mind to control belief and, through it, control the world.
Wizardry
Wizards bind magic into runic form, and seek to perfect it into permanence.
Thaumaturgy
The fundamental magical laws of sympathy, contagion and unity govern the students of thaumaturgy.
Elementalism
Elementalists draw on primal powers, the building blocks of the universe,
Sorcery
Reaching beyond the mundane world, sorcerers call on spirits to do their bidding.

All mages begin their lives weak, able to cast a few cantrips, and capable of little more. By the time the patient and resourceful master their sphere; their will can topple mountains or remake the heavens.

A mage may be as deadly in battle as a sword-wielding mercenary, and can bring down an Orc chieftain with a single word. Regardless, once their power is spent, they can do nothing with their magic, and being the most knowledgeable and powerful mage in the world will not stop one sword blow. A mage must learn to use their power only when needed, and guard their mana most carefully.

Prayers are powers that are granted by divine beings in return for worship and faith. Prayers are contained within, and follow all the rules for spells, but this realm of power is not a Mage Sphere.

The Channeller gifts are sort of a halfway house between a mage sphere and granted prayers. Some channellers believe they are channelling their own spirit and others that their gifts are granted by the gods or a mysterious force of life. In any case the abilities granted are potent but limited.

This chapter and those following, contain guidelines on creating and playing: a mage, priest, or channeller. There are also the full rules on enchanting items and special steels available with Smithcraft. At the end of the book are spell summary sheets, handy reminders of the spells available, what they do, and the vocals necessary to cast them. With these tools you can unlock your magical potential.

Within these pages you will find all you need to bring your dreams to reality...

Magic.

Choosing a Sphere

The most important choice a mage can make is the choice of which sphere to master. Each of the spheres has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Mysticism:
Mysticism is a subtle and strong sphere. It is strong in spells that are useful in non-combat situations. Its spells can distract, manipulate, control, and reveal the truth. The main disadvantage of Mysticism is that many creatures are immune or resistant to mind-influencing magic, the sphere’s main forte. If it works, though, the sphere’s spells can allow a mage to walk through difficult situations, turn their enemies against each other, or discover the darkest secrets.
Wizardry:
Wizardry is an unusual sphere. Unlike most others, its spells are prepared ahead of time in the form of runes. This ties up mana, but allows the wizard to prepare for different situations. It is an excellent choice for supporting a party; runes can enhance a party’s capabilities many times over. It is very strong defensively, but much weaker with basic offensive magic.
Thaumaturgy:
Thaumaturgy is a powerful all-purpose sphere, if one can tolerate the material components required for the spells. It is especially good for general combat purposes, with a variety of strong offensive, defensive and support spells. Information gathering and subtle manipulation are its weak points, but even then it is not without potential. At higher levels, it may be the most powerful of all the spheres.
Elementalism:
This sphere is, again, an excellent all-round choice, with strengths especially in combat magics. It is equally good defensively and offensively, but its spells tend to be rather obvious, not a problem for most natural elementalists. Subtle manipulation is almost impossible with Elementalism.
Sorcery:
Sorcery has five different paths, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. All are strong at manipulating and battling spirits of all kinds (including undead and demons). As for the paths, DÊmonology is very strong all round but apt to ruin a character. Necromancy is strong in support and investigation magic. Shamanism is a strong path for warrior mages, with many enhancing spells. Nethermancy is very strong in combat magic, with powers to rival those of an Elementalist. Lastly, Animism is a good all-round path, especially strong in the wilderness.
Naming Magic:
Naming magic is best at supporting other magic. It is the key sphere for defending oneself against hostile spells. Its utility and combat spells tend to be little less powerful than other spheres, they are however, very fast to cast.
Prayers:
Prayers are good for supporting a party. They can replicate most of the support functions normally performed by others (healing, making magical weaponry, removing fear), Prayers are much stronger on defence than offence. Because of the nature of Prayer, not all priests will use the same spell list: an element of choice is included.

Basic Magical Rules

Casting a Spell

When a mage casts a spell, they focus some inherent power into a work shaped by their will. In game-reality, the character mutters arcane words in Dragontongue, and then the magical effect takes place. In reality the player recites the vocals for the spell, indicating targets if necessary, and then spends the mana on it.

The character needs to be able to speak. The vocals must be loud enough to be heard by someone standing adjacent and listening — they can be quiet, but they cannot be inaudible.

Innate spells and mentally triggered magical items are treated differently. There are no middle vocals, and the character in the game-reality need not speak or move in any way, although it is obvious to someone observing that the characters mind is particularly focussed on something...If the character is struck while speaking the indicator, then the mage loses concentration.

Miscasting a Spell

In order for the spell to be successful the caster must normally retain concentration as the spell is cast, although certain abilities may negate this requirement (c.f. Expert Meditation). If a weapon or a hostile spell strikes the mage while they are reciting the vocals, then concentration is lost. This is the case even if the mage is armoured or immune to the damage. If the mage mis-speaks the vocals, then concentration is lost. If a mage loses concentration the cost is one mana as the spell is miscast. Some spells have special rules for miscasting.

Spell Classification

Spells differ greatly in their complexity and power. They are classed into groups related to their difficulty to learn and how wearying they are to cast. Each class of spell requires a minimum Aura to cast, and costs an amount of mana equal to that to cast. For example, to be able to cast a major spell, a mage must have a minimum Aura of 2 and spend 2 points of mana on it.




Spell TypeAura/Mana Required


Minor 1


Major 2


Great 3



Overcast

When a mage runs out of mana, the energy for a spell can be drawn from their body. This does 1 point of damage to each location. The mage can therefore knock themselves out or even die as a result of casting. This is called overcasting — it has saved more than one mage’s life, and taken the lives of many more.

General Notes on Magic

Maintaining Magical Effects

Some spells last all day. Many Wizardry runes are like this. Spells of this nature require the mage’s will to maintain, and tie up mana from the caster while they are in effect. The mage cannot regenerate the mana from any spell that they are currently maintaining. Continual spells do not require the mage’s will to maintain once cast and mana is regenerated as normal.

Cancelling Magical Effects

Unless otherwise stated in the spell description, a caster may cancel the effects of their spell at any time.

Vulnerability to Magical Effects

If a character is vulnerable to a particular magical attack, then the spell counts as one level higher for the purposes of warding and any damaging spells will inflict an additional point of damage.

Notes on the Lists

Spells

Mysticism

“Belief is reality, reality is belief.”

Principles & Creed

“All that we are is expressed with our minds. Our will and the world are both defined by how we perceive it. The disciplined mind is the font of all power; symbols, foci and the spirit-born are merely crutches for the weak. We do not need them; we will not use them.”

“Fate is as a force of nature and can push us forward with purpose or toss us madly.”

“For our life to be true we must understand Fate: its currents, eddies, and surges. We must learn to ride destiny like a sailor upon a sea, rather than a leaf upon a storm.”

— extract from Mediations of the Inner Eye.

Mystics use the force of their minds to influence reality. They undergo rigorous physical and mental training to hone their senses and strengthen their will. To harness the energies living within them, mystics must achieve a state of inner harmony or balance.

Mysticism involves a sub-intellectual feel for the way of things. One cannot simply become a mystic by reading a book and agreeing with its content; a mystic must embrace a state of enlightenment that is experienced with every fibre of their being.

There is one great insight that governs mysticism: belief is reality, reality is belief. If a mystic’s will is strong, it can influence other’s beliefs and so create illusions or beguile someone to believe they are your ally. Similarly, if a mystic believes that time and distance are no barriers to the soul, they may step outside of time’s embrace.

Role-playing Notes

As mystics strive to increase their will by the use of cruel deprivations, and imaginations with riddles and paradoxes, they may seem mad to other characters. Mystics may be played as seers, true bards, philosophers or perhaps fakirs. The circle is the symbol of mysticism and most mystics display it upon themselves in some form. This may be stylised, for example, an unblinking eye or a dragon with its tail in its mouth.

Archetypes

Merlin

“Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until youve tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, its too late. [Arthur takes a bite.] Too late.”

— Excalibur (John Boorman, 1981)

Merlin appears as a figure slightly detached from the normal world. He alternates between clown-like comedy (complete with pratfalls) and truly frightening power and presence. As Arthurs mentor, Merlin wields power through wisdom and knowledge rather than throwing spells around. The magic he wields is only a means of gathering more knowledge and furthering his ambitions for Arthur rather than the usual flashes and bangs.

His magic is often used to trick or otherwise gain the edge on his enemies. This, combined with his erratic behaviour, always meant that Merlin was in a position of power and his enemies were ever on their guard.

C.f. Mallory’s “Morte d’Arthur”, TH White’s “The Once and Future King”, John Boorman’s “Excalibur” (film — Nicol Williamson as Merlin).

Minor Spells

Charm

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
At the mystic’s word the creature feels a great surge of friendship. The affected creature thinks of the caster as a close personal friend and will act accordingly. The creature still acts with free will and is not under any further mental compulsion. The spell is automatically dispelled if the mystic treats them unkindly. At the spell’s end the victim is not immediately aware that they have been charmed, but if questioned the creature may think their actions to have been unusual.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to beguile my foe - Charm!”

Glamour

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
This spell causes the caster to alter their appearance, including: face, build and clothes etc. It is impossible to duplicate another person convincingly. However if the mystic knows the true name of another, they may copy them completely, including mannerisms.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Glamour!”

Mind Link

[Dur: Total Concentration - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 Creature - Progressive]
The spell allows the mystic to speak directly to another’s mind; language is no barrier to this communication. As the Mystic’s power grows they can sense the target’s emotions and finally even gain access to the target’s memories and secrets. It requires a full 10 seconds of concentration to sense a target’s emotions or gain the target’s memories on a single topic (that can be explained in 10 seconds or less).

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to reveal the truth - Mind Link!” - speak directly to mind of target

“I call upon a Major Magic - to reveal the truth - Mind Link!” - may also sense target’s emotions

“I call upon a Great Magic - to reveal the truth - Mind Link!” - may also access target’s memories and knowledge

Oracle

[Dur: Total Concentration - Range/Area: Caster - Progressive]
The mystic lapses into a trance to peer through space and time. The player asks the GM a question, the complexity of which may increase as the mystic grows in power.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to reveal the truth - Oracle!” - question may be answered yes or no

“I call upon a Major Magic - to reveal the truth - Oracle!” - question may be answered with a single word that is not a specific name or date or place.

“I call upon a Great Magic - to reveal the truth - Oracle!” - question may be answered with a single sentence of 10 words or less.

Premonition

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The seer catches a glimpse of future moments of great danger. The mystic can then react to the danger sensed, and gains a single dodge call.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Premonition!”

Major Spells

Invisibility

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
The mystic uses a combination of illusion and enchantments to cloud minds and becomes invisible. The spell requires the concentration of the caster and so ends if the caster attempts to cast another spell or enter combat.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Invisibility!”

Sigil

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The seer fashions a ward to guard against a specific danger. Fate then intervenes and some improbable event prevents each attack, such as a belt buckle miraculously turning blows from a sword aside.

The seer gains 3 points of hardened armour against one specific type of danger only. The seer can ward themselves to such dangers as: Weapons (all), Spells (all) or Creatures (any type of damage from one creature type such as Undead, Elves or Humans).

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Sigil!”

Soul Walk

[Dur: Special - Range: 100 yards - Area: Caster]
The mystic may project their soul into the spirit world. The body is shed and lies in a trance like state. In game terms, the character concentrates, and the player physically moves to the desired viewing location.

The spirit form is invisible and intangible, but may interact with spirits, and be reacted to, as though each were corporeal. The mystic is treated as a spirit for all spells and spell like effects. When the mystic returns to their body after projecting the soul, the body awakens from the trance. The mystic dies if either their body or spirit is slain whilst they are in this trance.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Soul Walk!”

Suggestion

[Dur: 10 seconds or special - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The caster makes the target believe a short sentence is true. For example, if the target were told, “Your sword is a serpent!” then they would believe it. The sentence must be 10 words or less in length and the target must be capable of understanding the sentence.

The duration of a Suggestion is 10 seconds if the victim can check with their immediate senses or their long term memory (longer than one day) that the statement is incorrect (“My sword’s not a serpent”, “I am not a vagabond”), and indefinite if this cannot be verified. (“These are not the druids you’re looking for...”).

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe - Suggestion!” and then the suggestion.

Traitor

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
With this spell all the petty grievances and hurts done to the target by their friends are magnified and flare up into an unreasoning hatred. The traitor will have exactly the same attitude towards the mystic as before, but their friends are now bitter enemies. The target will simply vent their rage on whoever is nearest to them. The spell ends when the traitor kills or disables a friend (“Oh no, what have I done...”) or when the duration runs out.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe - Traitor!”

Great Spells

Geas

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The mystic can move the Fates to lay a Geas upon an opponent to carry out some service or refrain from some action. If the target breaks the terms of the Geas they sicken and lose one point of Endurance per day until they die. A Geas cannot compel a creature to kill itself or to perform an action that would result in certain death. If such a Geas is attempted, the Fates turn their power upon the mystic and it is they who are affected. The opponent will be held by subject to the Geas until such time as they have completed their task, or the mystic releases them. A task that cannot ever be completed lasts for but a day.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to beguile my foe - Geas!”

Feeble Mind

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The victim of the Feeble Mind spell has their faculties destroyed by the mystic. They are reduced to a vegetative state immediately, losing track of what was going on around them. If struck, they may squeal or cry, but cannot even gather the wits to flee. A mage struck down by a Feeble Mind cannot cast spells, but may Spell Ward the magic normally if they do so before it takes effect.

The spell ends when someone whispers the victim’s true name or a childhood nickname in his or her ear.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to beguile my foe - Feeble Mind!”

Mental Fortress

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The mystic builds a mental fortress such that they are totally immune to any and all mind controlling or influencing, spells and abilities and the mystic is additionally shielded from any divination magic. The mystic can put up false fronts, with completely fake thoughts and emotions. Only what the mystic wishes to be seen will be revealed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Mental Fortress!”

Mind Grasp

[Dur: Total Concentration - Range: 20 - Area: 1 object or creature]
Upon casting this spell, the mystic may move objects or creatures with the power of their mind. The mystic may choose to either knockback or entangle a creature (with Strength equal to caster’s Aura) or move an object 20’ in any direction.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Mind Grasp!”

Timeslip

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range/Area: caster and 10’ radius]
The caster steps outside time, calling a 10 second time freeze during which time only the caster and any allies within 10’ are free to act. Those outside time cannot affect, move or touch anything else in the frozen world during this time freeze, but are otherwise free to act.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Timeslip! Time Freeze!”

Wizardry

The maxim of persistence: “Only perfection is eternal.”

The maxim of signatures: “The attribute without mirrors the power within.”

“With our craft we harness the many forces of this world and the spirit world. To heights and depths we put forth our hands and grasp them, bind them in cunning works. What other Art can compare with ours? For the power of the elements can be captured in a lightning stave; the second sight can be ours with a scrying glass. While the thaumaturges are happy with their dolls, we command the golem.”

— torn extract from the Cantilica Automata

Principles & Creed

Wizards believe that something that is truly perfect will last forever. This seeking of perfection leads them to discard the temporary and imperfect spells of other spheres in place of the stability of will represented by the rune. Each rune is a tiny symbol that stands for an instance of magic, an instance that can be perfected and made to last in perpetuity if enchanted. As the runic symbol contains both the wizard’s skill and will, a rune may be gifted to another, even those not magically gifted.

Wizards often describe runes as in someway “living”. It is an act of will to charge the rune with power and this seems almost to give the individual runes a personality. Runes are described by wizards as jealous, it is impossible to inscribe more than one rune of any one type onto a target.

Role-Playing Notes

Wizards can be drawn from many cultures. Symbolic magic is found in barbaric tribesmen smearing runes in blood, or the exquisite calligraphy of an eastern mage.

Wizards, unlike other mages, do not normally cast spells, instead most of their magics are inscribed in runic form. A rune must be inscribed onto a surface: writing or scribing implements of some kind are required. The rune requires 5 minutes to fill with power.

Inscribing a rune replaces the normal vocals of a spell, the rune is inscribed and the spell is activated. The rune glows with a soft light that fades at the end of the magic’s duration. A few runes, that have an instant effect, require a triggering phrase. To trigger such a rune the wizard, or those gifted with a rune, must say:

Vocals: I call upon a (spell level) rune (Rune name)!

Wizards gain little to no benefit from being able to farcast magic as other mages do, as in effect most of their spell are already Touch spells. To compensate, wizards gain more benefit from the Artificer skill than any other mage. The stable symbols a wizard employs are perfectly suited to the Artificer art. The wizard may use their Lore rather than simply the spells they can cast, when creating some items with the Artificer skill.

Wizard-Artificers are common and potent. Any weakness in the wizard’s arts may be compensated against with appropriate Charms and Enchanted items. Wizard-Artificer-Smiths are less common, but as the benefits of craftsmanship and unusual steels are retained in their creations, they craft the most potent of arms and armour.

Archetypes

Sauron — The Lord of the Rings

“One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all,
and in the Darkness bind them.”

Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkien

Sauron was, no doubt, many things: a demigod, a necromancer, a tyrant — but he was first and foremost a wizard. Consider the first task he set himself when his master Morgoth was cast into the void — he helped make the Rings of Power, influencing their creation in a way that would forever curse those that wore them.

And his crowning achievement, his one glory, was the creation of an artefact that he poured his energies into — a thing that was to prove his ultimate downfall. The One Ring. The Ring he set above all the other Rings of Power, to enslave their wielders and corrupt them into his service.

Heroes struggled, died, were corrupted by and carried the Ring. Elves, thousands of years old, hid from Sauron’s all-seeing eye for fear that he would turn its power against them. And when, in the end, one long-lost hobbit destroyed the Ring, by doing so he also destroyed Sauron himself.

The One Ring is the archetypal wizardly creation — something so powerful and terrible that it has a life of its own, beyond that of its creator and his schemes. Something that when turned against him, destroyed Sauron as surely as it destroyed everyone else it had touched.

Therein lies, perhaps, a lesson for all wizards.

Minor Spells

Hidden Runes

[Dur: Continual - Area: Rune or writing]
This spell hides any runes upon an item, or any amount of non-magical markings (provided they all fit on one surface). The runes or markings are made invisible to the naked eye and undetectable with Second Sight.

The caster must specify certain mundane circumstances under which the Hidden Runes will appear, for example, by the light of the moon. The Hidden Runes last for the duration of the runes inscribed on the item or until the mundane circumstance occurs.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that object - Hidden Runes!”

Rune of Armouring

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: 1 creature or named armour]
When inscribed on a creature’s skin, the Rune of Armouring provides 1 point of hardened armour point to all locations.

The Rune of Armouring may be applied to armour that has been inscribed with the Rune of Naming. Unlike most magical armour, the armour provided by the Rune of Armouring stacks with that provided by physical armour.

Rune of Naming

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: 1 item]
The Rune of Naming is an integral part of Wizardry as some runes can only be cast on enchanted or “named” objects. The wizard whispers an archetypal name of the object as they inscribe it with a small rune.

In all cases the item is now treated as enchanted and does not impede the flow of mana. In addition the item gains the following benefits:

Rune of Skill

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Wielder - Progressive]
The Rune of Skill grants Proficiency in a particular skill. The rune must be drawn in the blood of someone who knows the skill to the appropriate level. Magical skills may not be granted by this method.

Rune of Thorns

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Named weapon]

The Rune of Thorns may be applied to any weapon that has been permanently enchanted or that has been inscribed with the Rune of Naming. The weapon edge becomes so keen that it passes through amour as if it was not there — the weapon deals through damage.

Major Spells

Bane Rune

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Named weapon]
Bane Rune — the weapon thirsts for the blood of a chosen race, twisting in any wounds caused, for still greater harm — the weapon deals +1damage against this race. The rune will also glow whenever one of the chosen race is near. giving the effect of Danger sense (but only for that race). For the purposes of this spell the Undead are considered one race. Bane Rune may be applied to any weapon that has been permanently enchanted or that has been inscribed with the Rune of Naming.

Rune of Absorption

[Dur: 24 hours (triggered) - Area: 1 creature]
When called upon, a single minor or major spell targeted on the protected creature does not affect the creature but is instead ‘captured’. The captured spell may be cast by the bearer at a later time, by using the captured spell’s name as vocals and this discharges the rune.

Rune of Might

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Wielder]
This rune gives great power to the wielder of the rune. The rune adds either one point to Strength or Endurance (decided when the rune is inscribed), which may take the attribute higher than the normal maximum. When the rune expires, all Endurance gained is removed at once, which may kill or incapacitate the wielder.

Rune of Travel

[Dur: 24 hours (trigger) - Range: 100 yds - Area: one creature]
When called upon the rune allows the wielder to travel to any other place within 100 yards without passing through the intervening space. The travel is almost instantaneous.

Rune Reading

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
The wizard may throw a series of runes for the purpose of divination. They may ask any one question per reading: the reading has no chance of failure provided there is no obscuring magic at work. A yes or no question always provides a clear and accurate response. Specific information is usually not granted — names, dates and so forth. The wizard needs a bag of runes or rune sticks to cast this spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to reveal the truth - Rune Reading!”

Great Spells

Binding Rune

[Dur: Continual - Area: 1 creature or construct]
When inscribed on the forehead of a victim, the Binding Rune places the wielder under the verbal control of the wizard or any one person appointed by them. The bound creature becomes like a living golem and must obey their controller’s spoken commands. The mental control is absolute, but those bound may try to subvert the controller’s commands. The bound creature is unable to engage in any meaningful conversation and their controlled behaviour is obviously unnatural. The rune counts as a beguilement effect for the purpose of resisting. Those bound by the rune remember what they did while under the influence of the Binding Rune. The effect of the rune is cancelled if the rune is obscured by any means.

Rune of Death

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: 1 named or enchanted weapon]
The Rune of Death may enchant a weapon to deal +1damage. If the wizard can draw the rune with the blood of one specific foe, or incorporate the victims True Name into the rune, the foe is now Vulnerable to the weapon. The Rune of Death may be applied to any weapon that has been permanently enchanted or that has been inscribed with the Rune of Naming.

Rune of Souls

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Wielder]
The wizard draws a rune which can hold the soul of the wielder if they are slain. On the wielder’s death the rune will activate and hold their soul safe for up to 24 hours. Damage inflicted on the wielder’s body during this time does not affect the stored soul, although severe damage can make it less likely that the soul will be able to return.

Once the body is free from mortal injuries the rune will return the soul to the body. The rune will decay over time and if the wielder’s body is still too badly damaged to re-enter 24 hours after the rune has been triggered, then the soul is lost and the wielder dies. If the rune is erased the soul is immediately released back into the body, often with fatal results.

Rune of Spell Immunity

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Wielder]
The rune may be used to render the wielder immune to any one spell type, decided when the rune is drawn.

This can be any of the spell types, for instance beguilement, fire spells, divination magic, but may not be an entire sphere of magic or a path of Sorcery.

Rune of Weapon Immunity

[Dur: 24 hours - Area: Wielder]
The wielder of the rune is protected from any one group of melee weapons or all missile weapons, as chosen when the rune is inscribed. The weapon groups are Axes and Clubs, Short Weapons, Staff and Spear, Sword and Sabre or Missile Weapons. The wielder of the rune is totally immune to any non-magical weapons of the group warded against.

Thaumaturgy

Like affects like; that which lay together once lies together still; force and matter are one.

“The world we see is merely the surface of the Weave. Those priests and sorcerers, who seek power from the spirit born, merely reveal their ignorance. For where do their dÊmons and gods find this power, but in the Weave! These fools demean themselves by begging like dogs for scraps from their master’s table.”

— Jael Ragge, Master Thaumaturge

Principles & Creed

Thaumaturgy deals with directing and amplifying physical and magical forces, and with the alteration and transformation of matter. Three great principles govern thaumaturgy: Sympathy, Contagion and Unity.

The Principle of Sympathy holds “like affects like”. Therefore, something done to a model of an object may, through thaumaturgic magic, affect that very object. Sympathy dictates that a thaumaturgic doll may not be a shapeless blob of wax but must resemble the victim.

The Principle of Contagion is “once together, always together”. Thus a piece of an object allows the thaumaturge to affect the whole object. The more intimate the object the more useful, so a drop of blood is more useful than an item of clothing.

The Principle of Unity allows “forces and matter are in reality one”. A thaumaturge can then alter the outward form of both forces and matter. A master thaumaturge can then transform a shield into a staff or ice into fire. There is a proviso, however: sentience may not be given or taken. A thaumaturge could transform a man into a wardrobe, but the wardrobe would still be sentient.

All thaumaturgy spells require a Foci, a mundane item that acts as focus of their magic. When casting a spell a thaumaturgist must have the Foci in hand, requiring the use of one free hand.

Role-playing notes

It is a greater commitment to play a thaumaturge in live-role-playing than it is to play, for example, an elementalist or a mystic. This is because you must have physical representations for the Foci. Note, however, that the spell strengths have been balanced with this in mind so that thaumaturgy spells are often more powerful than spells of an equivalent level from other spheres

Archetypes

Raistlin Majere — Archmage of the Black

Before anything else, let us note that Raistlin looked the perfect thaumaturge. Robed and cowled, laden down with herbs, powders and symbols, his hands stained with sulphur and burn marks, he could be nothing else but a thaumaturge. However, beyond that, much of his personality was perfectly suited to Thaumaturgy: Raistlin was obsessed with power. To him, his arts were a means to that power and, unlike the mystics, he was more than willing to directly wield his magic in the pursuit of that power. As he gained power, he became more distant to the mundane around him.

C.f. Margret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s “The Dragonlance Chronicles/Legends” (Particularly Legends).

Minor Spells

Animate

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 item]
The thaumaturge uses the powers of sympathy and contagion to give an object a semblance of life. The object may be made to perform a simple, repetitive task related to the normal function of the item, or make a very simple movement. The object has a Strength equivalent to the mage’s Aura. The Foci for this is the object itself, thus an axe could be used to chop down a tree, or a glove to grab and drag an item.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that object - Animate!”

Crushing Hand

[Dur: Tot. Concentration - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature - Progressive]
The thaumaturge chants and then clenches their fist — the victim is then completely entangled by an invisible hand and may not move. The thaumaturge can choose to crush those held who take 1pt of through damage per full 10 seconds they are crushed (call Single Through! for each full 10 seconds).

The Foci is a glove on the caster’s hand.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to entangle my foe - Crushing Hand! Entangle! Strength 1!” - 1pt dmg per 10s

“I call upon a Major Magic - to entangle my foe - Crushing Hand! Entangle! Strength 2!” - 1pt dmg per 10s

“I call upon a Great Magic - to entangle my foe - Crushing Hand! Entangle! Strength 3!” - 1pt dmg per 10s

Jump

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
This spell allows the caster (or a creature touched) to make a single prodigious leap. The target may move to anywhere within 20’. The thaumaturge may not be struck with weapons or spell effects whilst they move.

The Foci is the limb of a jumping creature such as a frog or grasshopper.

Vocals: I call upon a Minor Magic - Jump!

Mend

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 item]
This spell repairs and makes good as new any broken object which is not enchanted, so armour may be repaired and wineskins made whole. As the spell perfectly mends the item, the limitations of mundane armour repair do not apply. The Foci are miniature appropriate mending materials, for example, a needle and thread or small anvil. The mana cost is 1 per point of Size of the item to be mended.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that object - Mend!”

Steelsilk

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 complete outfit - Progressive]
The caster touches a set of clothing as they say the words of this spell. The fabric of that clothing toughens and becomes as though woven from steel threads, giving the cloth a hardened armour value of 1. The clothing must be woven. The Foci is the cloth.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that object - Steelsilk!” - 1 point of armour

“I call upon a Major Magic - to affect that object - Steelsilk!” - 2 points of armour

“I call upon a Great Magic - to affect that object - Steelsilk!” - 3 points of armour

Major Spells

Bone Break

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The thaumaturge calls upon the power of sympathy to form a link between a twig and the victim. Then they snap the twig. On the twig breaking, the target of the spell takes 2 points of piercing damage to a designated location — breaking the bones of all but the most stalwart. This spell has no effect on ethereal creatures or spirits.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to pierce my foe - Bone Break! Double Piercing!” (Location)

Reflection

[Dur: Instant - Range/Area: Caster]
This nasty little spell allows a thaumaturge to redirect a spell targeted at them back to the spell’s caster. The Foci is a polished silver mirror, which is pointed towards an opponent while the spell is being cast. Spells of any level may be deflected.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Reflection!”

Repel

[Dur: Instant - Range: Caster - Area: 10’ radius]
The thaumaturge speaks a harsh word of power whilst holding a lodestone aloft. All within 10’ are repelled away from the caster and hurled to the ground with a Strength equivalent to the mage’s Aura (mass knockback). The intangible force generated by this spell will repel even ethereal creatures. The Foci is a lodestone.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Repel! Mass Knockback!”

Shatter

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 item]
The thaumaturge breaks a twig or branch whilst pointing at an object. Unless the item is enchanted it shatters into dozens of pieces. The object is impossible to repair without the Mend spell or similar supernatural aid.

Vocals:”I call upon a Major Magic - to affect that object - Shatter!”

Transmutation

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: Object Size equal to Aura]
The thaumaturge can temporarily change either the material or the form of any item or items whose Size equals their Aura or less. The mass of the item to be changed must be conserved. Thus a sword may be changed to a ploughshare or copper coins to gold. The special steels created by Smithcraft may be replicated. The Foci is a small sample of the target material to seed the change.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect that object - Transmutation!”

Great Spells

Fortress

[Dur: Concentration - Range: Caster - Area: 10’ radius around caster]
The spell creates an invisible wall in all directions around the caster, at a distance of 10 feet. No physical effect may pass through this wall except sound — no physical spells, weapons or creatures can pass through.

Spirits in ethereal form can travel through the wall. The Foci is a chip of stone from a keep. The walls of the Fortress may be seen with Second Sight.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Fortress!”

Portal

[Dur: Instant - Range: 100 yards - Area: caster and 10’ round them]
This spell opens a portal allowing the thaumaturge and their allies to travel to any other place within 100 yards without passing through the intervening space. The travel is almost instantaneous. The Foci is a rook from a chess set.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Portal!”

Rain of Blood

[Dur: Instant (10 seconds stun) - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
Chanting words of hate and spite, the thaumaturge takes a blade and makes a deep cut in the palm of their hand (causing 1 point of damage) . As blood wells and drips from the thaumaturge’s hand a rain of blood falls upon their enemies. The blood burns like acid and forms a thick miasma that causes 2 points of piercing damage and a stun effect to all those within 10’ of the spell’s target. The Foci is the mage’s blood.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to pierce my foe(s) - Rain of Blood! Mass Double Piercing! Stun!”

Scry

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: Unlimited - Area: Caster]
Using the powers of Sympathy and Contagion the thaumaturge may spy from afar. The thaumaturge may spy upon a single person or item. To cast the spell the thaumaturge requires a material item from the person, or part of the item to be scryed upon. The thaumaturge may cast a single spell through the magical link, the power of the spell that may be cast is dependent on how personal the material item is to the target, a minor connection allows a minor spell etc.

The material item is consumed when the spell is cast. The Foci for the spell is the material item described, and a mirror or crystal sphere to gaze into, which is not destroyed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to reveal the truth - Scry!”

Transformation

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The thaumaturge calls upon the principle of Sympathy and Unity to transmogrify an opponent. The target is turned into a small inoffensive creature such as a rabbit. The victim of the spell retains full intelligence but cannot use most skills or abilities due to their new form. The Foci for the spell is a part of an animal that the victim will be transformed into, such as rabbit’s foot. The spell can be broken by feeding the creature Wolfsbane.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to affect my foe - Transformation!” (Name of animal)

Elementalism

Stone, Wind, Flame and Ice: from these all things are made.

“Let others mock our supposed lack of lore. They cannot imagine the forces that exist in the elemental planes. To channel these forces into this world, I make myself the pinch in the hourglass, the hole in the dam, the focus of all that streaming energy. All of this is in me. I feel divine, and for a moment I could be. It is the ultimate ecstasy, there is nothing like it.”

— Micheal Batique, Elementalist

Principles & Creed

To an elementalist, reality is composed of four key principles: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Elementalists do not view the universe as simply being composed of varying proportions of these ‘elements’; when an elementalist says ‘earth’ they mean far more than the mere dirt beneath their feet. They are referring to the underlying cyclical principles of growth and decay, of solidity and tenacity, life and death. Earth is a metaphor for change.

The elementalist deals with the spirits of the elements: spirits that embody the characteristics of Flame, of Ice, of Stone and of Wind. Unlike a sorcerer, they do not draw their power from these spirits. The elementalist taps the undying and supreme essence of creation itself, something beyond the spirits that carry that power within them. The elementalist does not bow to these spirits to attain their power - they take the power themselves and shape it as they see fit. They are not enslaved to the elementals, but seek to emulate them in their wrath and terrible glory.

Role Playing Notes

Elementalists draw power from the elemental planes into this world, shaping it as they can. Elementalists often find the channelling of their powers greatly exhilarating. They tend to be mercurial individuals, often less scholarly than their more staid brethren in the Guild. There are more elementalist warlocks than warlocks of any other sphere. Elementalism is especially strong in combat magic and its followers unsurpassed in war, but even so, these arts can lend themselves to other purposes.

Casting Notes

Each of the four elements is indivisible and mutually exclusive, and this applies to differing elemental versions of the same spell. If an elementalist draws power from the element of fire to create an Elemental Favour against fire then the elementalist cannot also draw power from the element of air to be protected from this element as well. Similarly an Elemental Weapon can only be of one element at a time.

Archetypes

Gandalf the Grey

Gandalf remains a mystery — we dont know much about the powers he could draw upon, their nature or their extent. Yet the few spells we do see him cast have a generally elementalist air to them. Consider the fiery illusions he entertains the children in Hobbiton with. Or the flame he strikes the wargs of Sauron with. And when he shatters the stone bridge in Moria, it seems clear that Earth responds to his call as easily as Fire.

Ultimately, however, Gandalf’s magic is as mysterious as his character. He embodies much of the elementalist personality — he is a man of action more than a mere scholar. Yet as becomes clear in The Two Towers, he is much more than he appears. . .

Minor Spells

Elemental Bolt

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature/10’ radius - Progressive]
The elements respond to the elementalist’s call and a bolt flies from their fingers into the torso of the creature indicated. The element called must be specified e.g. Fire bolt. The creature takes one point of through damage to the torso.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to strike my foe - Elemental Bolt! Single Through!”

“I call upon a Major Magic - to strike my foe - Elemental Bolt! Double Through!”

“I call upon a Great Magic - to strike my foes - Elemental Bolt! Triple Through!”

Flash

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
A corona of blinding light briefly outlines the creature, which is blinded by the after-image for 10 seconds

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect my foe - Flash!”

Preserving Ice

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The elementalist calls upon the element of water to encase the target in a sheet of preserving ice. The target is held in stasis, time does not pass and there will be no deterioration in the body’s condition from such effects as bleeding, poison or disease. The ice is quite fragile and provides no protection from further harm.

The spell may only be cast on a willing or helpless target.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that creature - Preserving Ice!”

Stoneskin

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster - Progressive]
The caster’s skin takes on the texture and appearance of weathered granite, turning aside sword blows and arrows. The elementalist gains hardened armour to all locations.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Stoneskin!” - 1 point of hardened armour

“I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Stoneskin!” - 2 points of hardened armour

“I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Stoneskin!” - 3 points of hardened armour

Wind Blast

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The elementalist makes a single gesture and whispers in the secret tongue of magic. The creature is blown directly away from the caster and is hurled to the ground. The intangible forces generated by this spell will knockback even ethereal creatures. The Strength of the blast is equal to the elementalist’s Aura.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect my foe - Wind Blast! Knockback!”

Major Spells

Earthmight

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The caster takes up a stone and calls upon the strength and resilience that lie therein. The recipient gains +1 to their Strength or Endurance, which may take the attribute higher than the normal maximum. When the spell expires, all Endurance gained is removed at once, which may kill or incapacitate the wielder.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Earthmight!”

Elemental Favours

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
This spell summons a friendly, minor elemental spirit to serve the caster for one task. These spirits are the Sylphs of Air, Salamanders of Fire, Undines of Water and Gnomes of Earth. Though these spirits are friendly: they are also capricious, alien and may not understand the caster’s wishes. The spirit’s actions must be determined with role-playing between the caster and Player GM.

For example, the caster might whisper a message to a sylph, to then be carried to any one creature that they can accurately describe. Actual distance is irrelevant, but the recipient must be in an area to which air can flow.

The spirit may grant protection from harm from their specific element Fire, Air, Earth or Water. Those favoured are immune to any and all harmful effects caused by that element; an elementalist could walk through fire unharmed or breathe underwater. The elementalist may only have the favour of one element at a time.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Elemental Favours! - (followed by type of servant)”

Fireball

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
Causes a small ball of energy to shoot from the elementalist’s hand to the target, where it explodes into flame. The Fireball inflicts two points of damage to the torso of the target and anyone — including allies — within 10 feet.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to strike my foe - Fireball! Mass Double Through!”

Glissade

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
This spell creates an area of slippery ice. The ice is too slippery for any within the area to keep their footing.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foes - Glissade! Mass Strikedown!”

Mist Form

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
The caster takes on the form of mist and becomes intangible. They may not be harmed except with magical weapons or spells. The elementalist is not ethereal, they cannot walk through solid barriers such as a dungeon’s walls or a Fortress spell, but the elementalist may pass through an area where air could flow freely, such as a barred window.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Mist Form!”

Great Spells

Elemental Weapon

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: Touch - Area: 1 weapon]
This spell surrounds a weapon with a corona of elemental power of the caster’s choosing - fire, frost, crystal or lightning. The weapon is now enchanted and some creatures may be vulnerable to it e.g. those of the opposite element.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great magic - to affect that object - Elemental Weapon!”

Fire Shroud

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range/Area: Caster]
The spell summons a corona of intense fire that outlines the elementalist. Anyone the elementalist touches or who touches them will take a single point of damage to the location in contact with the elementalist. Any weapon that strikes the elementalist will then melt instantly unless it is enchanted.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Fire Shroud!”

Hoar Frost

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
The elementalist unleashes the force of a blizzard upon their foes. The victims are encrusted in a thick rime of frost and frozen in place and may not move at all for the spell’s duration (entangle effect Strength 2).

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to entangle my foes - Hoar Frost! Mass Entangle!”

Statue

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
At the geomancer’s command a hideous transformation takes place. The victim of the spell solidifies to stone! The victim cannot act, but there will be no deterioration in the body’s condition from such effects as bleeding, poison or disease. The statue may only be harmed by things that would damage stone e.g. hammer and chisel. The spell can be reversed if the target is bathed in salt water. The geomancer may choose to transform them-self in to a statue, and may transform back at will.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great magic - to affect my foe - Statue!”

Vortex

[Dur: Concentration - Range: Caster - Area: 10’ radius from caster]
At the elementalist’s command a mighty storm forms about them. The elementalist stands at the eye of this vortex. Anyone within 10’ is hurled backwards and knocked to the ground. The elementalist is also totally immune to any missile fire as arrows and bolts etc. are thrown aside by the great wind.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to affect my foes - Vortex! Knockback Strength 3!”

Sorcery

There are invisible worlds beyond this one, where true power lies.

“You are right to fear me. The spirit worlds are mine to explore, its denizens are mine to command. At night they whisper to me, revealing many secrets, they scream terrible truths. Their words caress me as music. The mysteries of life and death have been revealed to me. If you will not serve in this world then you will be mine in the next!”

— Arkalyn, the necromancer

Principles & Creed

Sorcery is concerned with the power that may be drawn from the multiple other planes that overlap our own. Sorcerers focus on the spirits that dwell there, and their summoning, control and abjuration. There are five planes in the realm of the spirits, and each sorcerer normally follows one of these as a primary path (taking all spells from its list).

Each level of magic that a sorcerer has learned enables them to pick 5 spells at that level — three from their primary path and two from the path of spirits (general sorcery spells).

Animism:
The path of nature
Shamanism:
The path of beasts
Necromancy:
The path of the dead
Nethermancy:
The path of the Void
DÊmonology:
The path of the Pit

Note: A sorcerer may learn any of the Paths of Sorcery at normal cost.

Role Playing Notes

These are, all too often, the people that give magi a bad name. Sorcerers deal with powers that exist outside normal mortal reckoning — forces and spirits mysterious and frightening even to other magi. Because of this, it is all too easy for a sorcerer to grow apart from humanity, to consider himself above the common run of mortal man, more important than those they were born with. All too often, a master sorcerer considers mortal life as a cheap commodity and mortal souls as little more.

Each of the paths of sorcery can have a powerful effect on the personality of those who follow them. DÊmonology and necromancy, in particular, concerned as they are with the enslavement of souls (to demonkind and to the necromancer) are impossible to follow without some element of evil entering the soul. Nethermancy often drives its sorcerers insane. Even animism and shamanism lead the sorcerer to identify themselves with forces not even remotely human.

Miscasting Sorcery spells

Unlike other spells, when a mage miscasts a sorcery spell they acquire either a physical or mental flaw. This is to reflect the loss of humanity that is inherent in the study of sorcery. The flaw will be connected to the path of sorcery taken, thus a shaman might acquire slitted eyes or an animal mannerism, and a necromancer may bear the stench of death or become increasingly morbid.

The sorcerer may gain at maximum, one flaw per adventure. The specific flaw gained will be at the discretion of the GM and player. Players gain no additional points for flaws so acquired.

If a Nethermancer miscasts a Nethermancy spell they immediately take a point of a Void damage to the torso that ignores any and all armour and wards, as the void seeks to claim them. This is in addition to the other negative effects that Sorcerers gain when they miscast. If the Nethermancer is slain by this damage they disappear into the void and may not be resurrected by any means.

Archetypes

Elric of Melnibone

Elric remains the most famous sorcerer of fantasy fiction. Calling on ancient and not easily understood powers, he toyed with forces greater than himself: the forces of Law and of Chaos. Unlike most sorcerers, Elric tried to keep his humanity, his mortal life. He had friends, lovers, drives and goals more secular than mystical. Yet again and again, his destiny and his role as a sorcerer prevented this. His friends were slain.

His lovers were driven insane. His kingdom damned.

The powers that he used were powers that, in turn, used him — a common theme in the life of a sorcerer. Even when he thought he was struggling against the forces of Chaos, Gods themselves, it was Stormbringer that had the last word and Stormbringer that slew him.

Elric shows us that no matter the power of the sorcerer, they are always in danger of being the pawn of some greater force. With sorcery, it is never clear who is using whom, and who is ultimately in control.

Path of Spirits — Sorcery Basics

These are the spells that are required for all sorcerers. All deal, to some extent, with the spirits that inhabit the other planes. Spirits are commonly ethereal creatures of pure Aura, but when they are summoned to this world, they most often change in nature and become physical, either creating their own body (incorporation, demons and spirits of nature) or possessing an already existing body (beast spirits and undead and, again, demons). If a spirit’s body is killed or destroyed in the mortal world, then it will usually flee to its home plane, especially if it is normally bound there as most demons are. If a spirit’s ethereal form is destroyed, it flees to its home plane automatically. Spirits may not incorporate or possess unless their description specifically says they can.

There are more planes than the five listed above, but the others are the province of powerful beings such as Gods, or are warded and protected against magical interference. Sorcery spells may be used against the spirits from these places, but remember that the ‘Beings’ that dwell therein may be greatly angered by such treatment.

Common spirits have an Aura from 0 to 1. Powerful spirits have an Aura from 2 to 3. Spirit Lords and rulers of domains in the Spirit Planes have an Aura of 4 or more.

Spirits in ethereal form normally have total hits equal to their Aura times two. They are immune to non-magical weapons. Most spirits in ethereal form are invisible to normal sight and may disappear to their home plane, so they are impossible to destroy by normal means.

Minor Spells

Banish

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 spirit - Progressive]
This spell exorcises a spirit forcing it to return to its home plane. More powerful spirits require greater banishments.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” - banishes a Minor spirit

“I call upon a Major Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” - banishes a Major spirit

“I call upon a Great Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” - banishes a Great spirit

Summon Spirit

[Dur: Special - Range: 0 - Area: 1 spirit]
This spell summons a minor spirit to do the sorcerer’s bidding. The spirit summoned must be from a Path the sorcerer walks (has learned). The spirit can be ordered to perform one simple task that is appropriate to the spirit. A dÊmonologist could summon an imp to steal keys or other mischief; a necromancer could summon a ghost to deliver a message or threat; a boggart could guide an animist through a swamp; a beast spirit could quiet a noisy guard dog; a shade of the void could make evidence disappear etc. In all cases the summoned spirit will not engage in combat and will disappear to their home plane if attacked.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Summon Spirit!”

Major Spells

Command Spirit

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 spirit]
Upon finishing this spell, the sorcerer can issue a single command to the target spirit that must be obeyed.

The command must be of 10 words or less and able to be completed in a single day or the spell automatically fails. The sorcerer may command a spirit with an Aura no greater than their own. If the spirit succumbs, then it will enact the caster’s stated wish to the best of its ability, but it will retain memory of the events and may desire revenge. The action requested cannot force the spirit to act against its essential nature.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major magic - to compel that spirit - Command Spirit!”

Ward Spirits

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: caster and 10’ around]
The caster chants a litany to hold spirits at bay. Any spirits affected by the spell cannot move within 10’ of, or cast any spells at, the caster as long as the chant continues. Note: some spirits may Spell Ward and be immune to the effects.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to compel those spirits - Ward Spirit!” - all spirits within 10’

Great Spells

Bind spirit

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 spirit]
The sorcerer may bind a spirit to their will. The sorcerer can bind a spirit to a specific location in the world, and give the spirit a continuing task such as guarding a chest or a grove of trees. The spirit will continue with this task until they are driven from this plane. Demon spirits will often bargain with a sorcerer rather than be bound, but they will always try to twist such bargains, by acting upon the exact terms of a bargain rather than the wishes of the sorcerer. In any case the demon will always desire vengeance.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to compel that spirit - Bind Spirit!”

Path of Spirits

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: caster and 10’ around]
This spell allows the sorcerer and any companions to walk in the spirit lands that overlay the world. There are five branches of the path that can be taken; the Path of the Dead, the Path of the Pit, the Path of Nature, the Path of Beasts and the Path of the Void. None who have taken the Path of the Void have ever returned.

Whilst on the pathway the sorcerer and their companions are far from the mundane word and cannot interact with the normal world, and none in the normal world can interact with them. The spirits of the land they are in, however, can interact with them and be reacted to as though each were corporeal.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Path of Spirits!”

Path of Animism — The Power of Nature

“To know nature as I do, you must love nature. To love nature, you must realise the transience of man. Nature is eternal: the world will spin on regardless of man’s presence. We are guests of the Earth and we must endeavour to be pleasing to our host, if we wish to stay.”

— Chullain, druid of the Great Forest

Animists are the guardians of the wild places of the world. Beyond even animals, the plane of nature is a lonely place filled with unwitnessed beauty and wonder. Forests are everywhere, but plant life is the only life.

The lords of nature are ancient, sleeping things that an animist will never contact directly. Dryads, nymphs and other such anima (spirits of places) are the only spirits of nature an animist will meet or commune with. They are closely linked with the places where they reside, and will not leave them. They normally incorporate bodies from natural material.

Any corruption or harm done to these places will affect them deeply. Spirits of nature are not inherently good; they desire their preservation more than anything else and do not care for humanity or any other animals especially. In wrathful moods they may even demand human sacrifices. The spirits of nature vary in strength according to the place they draw power from; the spirit of a babbling brook is weak but simple to waken, whilst the spirit of an entire mountain is very strong, but difficult to awake.

Minor Spells

Barkskin

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The caster’s skin takes on the texture and appearance of thick roughened bark, giving the caster 2 points of hardened armour to all locations. The animist becomes vulnerable to fire damage and effects.

Vocals: I call upon a Minor Magic to grant me aid Barkskin!

Tanglevine

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature - Progressive]
The caster indicates a patch of natural ground, including solid stone or wood. Vines rise from it and trap the feet of the target, entangling it. The target’s arms are still free, and they may attack and defend as normal.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to entangle my foe - Tanglevine! Strength 1”

“I call upon a Major Magic - to entangle my foe - Tanglevine! Strength 2”

“I call upon a Great Magic - to entangle my foe - Tanglevine! Strength 3”

Tree Walk

[Dur: Instant - Range: 100 yards - Area: Caster]
This spell enables the caster to enter any tree in any place, and step out of any other one within the range.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Tree Walk!”

Major Spells

Earth Blood

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The animist channels life energy from the nurturing earth for ten seconds to renew and heal a single hit point to an injured location. To cast this spell the animist must be standing on natural earth. The animist may also heal the injuries and cleanse anima or nature spirits with this spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Earth Blood!”

Nature’s Commune

[Dur: Total Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
The animist awakens the anima of the land so they might tell what has occurred. The spirits are friendly and have long memories but have difficulty with many human concepts; they cannot differentiate between races or sex or give exact numbers or precise times.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to reveal the truth - Nature’s Commune!”

Storm of Thorns

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
At the animist’s words a veritable storm of thorns assails the victim. The spell causes two points of damage to the torso and blinds the victim for ten seconds.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to strike my foe - Storm of Thorns! Double Through! Blind!”

Great Spells

Cloak of Nature

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster and 10’ radius around them]
This spell renders the animist and any within 10’ of them invisible whilst they are surrounded by living nature. The spell is cancelled if the animist breaks concentration or if any cloaked by the spell attack or cast a spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Cloak of Nature!”

Light of Dawn

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
A pure light shoots from the animist’s hands. This light is inimical to demons, undead and other negative spirits. Such creatures are vulnerable to the spell effects and so take 4 points of magical through damage.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to strike my foes - Light of Dawn! Mass Quad Through!”

Treeform

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The animist can transform themselves or a victim into the shape of a tree. The form the tree takes is dependent upon the character of those transformed, so for example, a melancholy individual might take the shape of a weeping willow. The animist can change back into their true form at will. However another so affected can only be transformed back at the animist’s words or the touch of cold iron. A character in tree form cannot act, but there will be no deterioration in the body’s condition from such effects as bleeding, poison or disease. They will only be affected by damage that would normally hurt a tree such as axe blows or fire.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great magic - to affect my foe - Treeform!”

Path of DÊmonology — The Power of Hell

“My Masters have much to offer you. They have sent me because they have been watching you from afar. They wish to aid you, to grant you power for your efforts. I am the instrument of their will, and I can tell you that the power they offer is no trifling matter.”

“Of course there is a cost. There is always a cost. However, this shall cost you something you will never miss. Something that does you no good, grants you no benefit. My Masters wish a small thing from you. Your soul.”

— the Demon Knight Mephistopheles

The path of the dÊmonologist is a dangerous and often short-lived one. Their spells are powerful, more powerful than comparable spells from other paths or spheres, but the drawbacks are plentiful. The GM should keep track of any dÊmonologist and their activities: if they stray too far from what Hell desires (and Hell may let them know what it desires every time they cast Dark Consultation), then Hell will punish them.

At first demons they summon will behave contrarily and whisper dark warnings, but if time goes on and the dÊmonologist remains unmoved, the demons will begin to disobey the caster and plot his downfall. Remember: the dÊmonologist always serves Hell, never the other way around. The dÊmonologist’s soul is forfeit. There will be no redemption for them, no escape from an eternity of enslavement to evil.

Demons in general have a variety of abilities, more than may be imagined. They are hierarchical by nature, forming into ranks based on power. All demons only take damage from magic weapons (when they form a body in the world) and deal magic damage with any weapon they use. All demons are immune to any spells that seek to beguile them, even Great spells such as Feeble Mind. Their lies may not be detected with magic of any kind, and any attempt to read their minds will result in an automatic Whispered Madness spell taking place (with no chance to ward).

All demons can incorporate and possess freely if in ethereal form, but if any demon is destroyed or banished, it is normally sent straight back to Hell. Demons in Hell are bound there by strong magics that summoning spells can defeat only temporarily. These bindings take hold every time a demon returns to Hell.

Minor Spells

Dark Consultation

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
DÊmonologists use this spell to communicate with their masters: the knights and lords of Hell. The conversations are entirely in the mind, and consist of visions and speech.

Hell has vast secret storehouses of knowledge, and they may grant them to the proper supplicant. The demons will always eagerly provide information about the moral flaws and weaknesses of others. If the spell provides useful information, the dmonologist is afflicted with Whispered Madness as Hell demands payment for the knowledge gleaned, and this effect cannot be warded against.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to reveal the truth - Dark Consultation!”

Hellfire

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature ]
The sorcerer calls upon the powers of Hell to consume the victim’s soul. The spell’s target takes 1 point of piercing damage to the torso as their soul burns. Anyone killed by this may never be resurrected or resuscitated by any spell effect as their soul has been consumed by the power of Hell. If the dÊmonologist miscasts this spell it is their soul that burns and it is they that are affected by the spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to pierce my foe - Hellfire, Single Piercing!”

Path of Flame

[Dur: Instant - Range: 100 yards - Area: Caster]
The sorcerer walks an infernal path tangential to the world. The sorcerer may travel to any other place within 100 yards without passing through the intervening space. The travel is almost instantaneous.

The dÊmonologist leaves behind a trail of three or four burning footprints that quickly fade (10 seconds). If iron or cold iron is driven into the last footprint made the dÊmonologist takes 1 point of piercing damage to their foot and appears at their destination, hopping mad.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Path of Flame!”

Major Spells

Infernal Shackles

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The dÊmonologist binds their victim in the shackles of Hell. The victim is entangled (with Strength equal to the dÊmonologist’s Aura) and takes 1 point of piercing damage to the torso as their soul burns. Anyone killed by this may never be resurrected or resuscitated by any spell effect as their soul has been consumed by the power of Hell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to entangle my foe - Infernal Shackles! Entangle Strength X, Single Piercing!”

Sin

[Dur: 10 seconds or special - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The spell evokes one of the seven deadly sins within the victim: Greed, Gluttony, Jealousy, Lust, Pride, Sloth or Wrath. The dÊmonologist then suggests how the victim should act upon this sin (in a sentence of ten words or less). The duration of the spell is 10 seconds if the suggestion is extreme or completely against the victim’s character. Otherwise the effect will last until the victim has followed the suggestion, for example if the sin of Wrath is evoked the suggestion could be “You are enraged with your friend, attack him.” This would last 10 seconds, whilst a dÊmonologist that evoked Jealousy could suggest “Your wife is with another man this very minute” and the victim would then go to accuse his wife. The dÊmonologist can cause great harm and misery with this spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe - Sin! ” followed by sin and 10 word command relating to it.

Whispered Madness

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The dÊmonologist whispers blasphemies, opening a window to Hell for the victim. Though only 10 seconds pass in the real world, to the victim it feels like an eternity of suffering. The victim is stunned and struck down. The victim also gains a 1 point mental Flaw. This flaw may only be removed by spells and abilities that cure madness or baptism by holy water.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe - Whispered Madness! Stun! Strikedown!”

Great Spells

Demonic Form

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range/Area: Caster]
As the dÊmonologist chants the powers of Hell reshapes their form to a more pleasing shape. For the duration of the spell the dÊmonologist becomes demonic in form gaining: 1 point of both Strength and Endurance, 3 points of hardened armour, Veil of Corruption and becoming immune to weapons that are not enchanted or crafted from cold iron. The dÊmonologist is counted as a demon for all spells and effects. At the spell end the dÊmonologist gains a manifestation of the corruption of their body such as slitted eyes or a third nipple.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Demonic Form!”

Possession

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The victim’s body becomes an open conduit for the demons of Hell. Whilst in this state, demons may contact the victim freely and offer them temptations or torture them mentally. The demons’ only goals are to degregate the victim; physically, mentally and spiritually. The victim may take no actions other than to writhe and moan in agony. Demons may also talk through the character to others; again the demons’ goals are to cause pain and distress. As victims of this spell are a resource for Hell, Hell frowns strongly on any dÊmonologist who kills a victim or ends the spell prematurely. The spell only ends when the Demons are Banished. Note sometimes demons intervene to ward the host against Banishment or a host can be possessed by a Great Spirit.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to beguile my foe - Possession!”

Veil of Corruption

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The dÊmonologist’s mind is shielded by the dark powers of Hell. They are immune to any beguilement effects. Their lies may not be detected with magic of any kind, and any attempt to read their minds will result in an automatic Whispered Madness spell taking place (with no chance to ward).

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Veil of Corruption!”

Path of Necromancy — The Power of the Dead

“The paths the dead walk are well-trodden. And I, for one, wish to examine the road ahead of me. Man is mortal, so Eleanor is mortal. So says Aristotle the philosopher. Man is mortal, so Eleanor will be more than Man. So says Eleanor the necromancer.”

“The knowledge of my path will grant me this, as it granted my Lord Arkalyn. . . ”

— Lady Eleanor, Arkalyns apprentice

The necromancer walks a path between life and death. Normally an obsessive student of the means and processes of death and what lies beyond, they draw upon the power of the dead to serve them in the land of the living. This path is a powerful, though distasteful one.

When a corpse is raised as an undead being, its soul travels from the plane of the dead into the body it once occupied. This is a damaging process that harms the already weakened spirit, normally destroying its mind (except for more powerful undead such as vampires or liches but even they suffer an element of personality transformation). This makes the undead mindless, or at the very best, a shade of what it once was, and normally enslaves it to the necromancer. Undead are affected by spells that affect spirits.

Because the original spirit occupies the body, it must be available to respond to the call. If the spirit was sent to the plane of its God (rather than the plane of the dead), then it may not be called. The new undead has an Aura equal to the original living inhabitant.

Minor Spells

Corpse Flesh

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The necromancer’s skin takes on the toughness of mortified flesh and they gain 1 point of hardened armour.

The necromancer may masquerade as one of the dead or undead. This deception may only be revealed by someone with Expert Physician, Healer or Keen Senses. In any case, mindless undead will leave them be.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Corpse Flesh!”

Ghoul Stench

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The victim is overwhelmed with the charnel smell of the grave. The victim is stunned for 10 seconds as they retch and heave.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect my foe - Ghoul Stench!”

Speak with the Dead

[Dur: Special - Range: Touch - Area: 1 corpse or undead creature]
Summons the spirit of the dead creature, and forces it to answer 3 questions of the necromancer. The shade of the dead creature must answer truthfully with yes or no answers. If the three questions have not been asked within 5 minutes, the shade vanishes back to its rest.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to compel that spirit- Speak with the Dead!” while touching grave or body.

Major Spells

Ghost Whispers

[Dur: 10 second - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
Tormented spirits from the land of the dead whisper their suffering into the victims’ ears. If the targets have any dead enemies or loved ones then the spell will use these particular spirits. The victims of the spell will run in fear.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe(s) - Ghost Whispers! Mass Fear!”

Living Death

[Dur: Continual - Range: Touch - Area: 1 coin]
This dark spell is cast upon a coin taken from the grave. The next creature to touch the coin with their bare skin is forced to obey the spoken commands of the necromancer. Their speech becomes slurred and they move as if being forced to. The victim retains full awareness of their actions.

The spell lasts for as long as the victim holds the object. They cannot put it down by themselves but unless specifically commanded to, they will not resist if someone takes it from them.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to beguile my foe - Living Death!”

Vampiric Touch

[Dur: Instant (24 hours) - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The necromancer steals the life essence or vitae of one creature. The necromancer’s touch leeches one point of Endurance from the victim and the necromancer gains one point of Endurance for 24 hours. More than 1 point of Endurance can be drained from a victim, but the necromancer does not gain any extra vigour.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foe - Vampiric Touch!”

Great Spells

Arise!

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 or more corpses within 20 feet]
With the casting of this spell, any corpses in the area are raised as zombies (minor undead). These corpses may have been undead before, provided the bodies have not been hacked apart or their heads removed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Arise!”

Shadow of Death

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: Mass]
The necromancer summons the shadow of death to fall upon their enemies. The victims take 2 points of piercing damage to the chest; this damage ignores even hardened armour.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to pierce my foe - Shadow of Death! Mass Double Piercing!”

Wraithform

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: Caster]
The necromancer becomes an ethereal wraith. Normal blades pass straight through them, and they are only affected by magical damage. The necromancer may attack with their hands which cause magical through damage, or spells or magical weapons. The necromancer is treated as an undead spirit for all spell and effects.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Wraithform!”

Path of Nethermancy — The Power of the Void

“. . . please. Please. Stop. Please.”

“You’ve killed everyone else. But this is my child. She’s only a baby. She is less than a year old. She won’t remember this. She won’t come hunting for you. She’s too young. Please. Have pity. I beg you. . . ”

— quoted in the memoirs of Axarkus, the nethermancer

The nature of the Void is unknowable to mortal beings. Everything that has ever been lost forever vanishes into the Void, where it cannot be reclaimed. The nethermancer taps into a power that consumes all it touches, taking it even beyond the land of the dead. Every time they flirt with this power, it hurts them a little.

Spirits of the Void are awful things, beyond good and evil, which exist only to devour. The true nethermancer wishes to contact these spirits, to call upon their power and use it to serve them. Every so often, powerful nethermancers just disappear forever. . . and some say that they have been claimed by the spirits of the Void.

Nethermancers make very powerful foes their magics are second only, perhaps, to the elementalist for combat efficacy. That, coupled with the fact that nethermancers tend to be tough enough to endure the pains of the Void, makes them fearsome warriors. But the true nethermancer is not lured to this path for that reason - the secrets of the Void are terrible, but incite curiosity in those for whom knowledge and power are everything.

Minor Spells

Fear

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
This spell evokes the primal fear of darkness. The victim runs in fear for 10 seconds. The victim may return only if convinced by a friend or due to pressing personal goals, such as a code of honour.

Unfortunately, this spell may only serve to enrage creatures of animal intelligence (such as berserks).

Vocals:“I call upon a Minor Magic - to beguile my foe - Fear!”

Shadowblade

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: Touch - Area: 1 weapon]
The nethermancer turns a normal blade into a dark blade of twisting shadows which ignores normal armour. The weapon deals magical through damage. The weapon is Consumed at the spell’s end.

Vocals:“I call upon a Minor Magic - to affect that object - Shadowblade!”

Shadow Walk

[Dur: Instant - Range: 100 yards - Area: caster]
The nethermancer may step into a pool of shadow or darkness and emerge in any other shadow within one hundred yards. The shadow must be deep enough to cover the nethermancer’s entire body.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Shadow Walk!”

Major Spells

Consume

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 item]
The spell calls the Void to consume an object entirely from the world. The object taken in this fashion is pulled into the Void. Magical or enchanted items may not be consumed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect that object - Consume!”

Darkness

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
The nethermancer chants this spell and points at their victims. A pool of darkness fills the area, immediately blinding all those within. This spell may dispel, and in turn be dispelled, by Word of Light.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foes - Darkness!”

Enervate

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The nethermancer unleashes a dark miasma that saps at the victim’s strength. The victim’s Strength attribute is reduced by one level, with all the penalties that entails. A victim that is reduced to less than 0 Strength collapses to the floor, not even able to support their own body weight, and is unable to act in any way.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foe - Enervate!”

Great Spells

Angst

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
This spell afflicts its victim with a terrible and soul-rending angst. The victim ceases to care about anything that they once held to be of great importance, including their own life. Depending on their personality, they may go berserk, fall into depression, leave their home and wander endlessly or anything else. They cease to care for their loved ones, normally causing great heartache and distress to all.

If cast in combat, the character will immediately stop fighting, the character will not see the point of killing the nethermancer — or of anything. This spell may only be ended if someone who truly loves the victim shows them the beautiful or important things in life.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to beguile my foe - Angst!”

Sphere of Annihilation

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
This spell creates a ball of absolute darkness that surrounds the nethermancer. The nethermancer can only move at a slow walking speed or be consumed by their Sphere of Annihilation. Anything that touches the sphere is destroyed forever and cast into the Void — this may not be prevented in any way.

No magics can be cast either way through a Sphere of Annihilation as they are consumed by the Void.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Sphere of Annihilation!”

Touch of the Void

[Dur: Instant (Continual) - Range/Area: Caster or shadow blade]
The nethermancer’s hands or Shadow Blade become a conduit to the Void. The next strike with weapon or hands causes two points of void damage. In addition the victim seems to grow pale and insubstantial and loses one point of Endurance per full day until they are consumed by the void.

The spell is broken when all damage caused to the victim is purified and healed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Touch of the Void!”

Path of Shamanism — The Power of Beasts

“King Hollover? Everyone knows that story - pick another!”

“Well, if you insist. . . Good King Hollover every month would hunt a different animal - they say he had the head of every creature mounted on his bedposts - from mouse to dragon. And one yule, King Hollover wished to hunt for something a tad more challenging. So he went to hunt for the White Wolf, the sacred guardian of the Icepeak. He found it. . . ”

“King Vallance VI, who took the throne from his father the day after that hunt, was a much better King. With much better stories. . . pass me a shilling, and I’ll tell one of those”

— Mary Faithful, wandering bard

To perform shamanistic magic, the shaman must have some item that came from the creature they wish to summon power from. This is why, to have the requisite materials, a powerful shaman will often have a cloak of many furs or a necklace of different teeth.

Shamans contact the great archetypal spirits of beasts - ancient Bear, wily Fox, and suchlike. They draw forth a portion of the power of these demi-divine beings, and use it to enhance their own. These spirits have many servants - the animals around all of us. Each spell also changes the temperament of the shaman, making them reflect the nature of the creature they are channelling.

Shamans believe that animals are sacred — normally they have no problem with hunting them, but the hunt must respect the animal being chased. It need not be for food — even hunting for sport is acceptable, as long as the prey is understood and respected. It is the way of life that things die, and the shaman knows this.

Shaman can make powerful warlocks, especially if they possess the Berserk skill. Their spells focus on enhancing their own power, so this can make them terrible in battle.

There are no typical Beast spirits listed, since all animals are merely channels for the great Beast spirits. Animals in general can be treated as Aura 0 animal spirits, and controlled and affected with the appropriate Path of Spirits spells. Some animals have more powerful Aura, especially old or powerful animals. For example, the alpha male of a typical wolf pack might have Aura 1, and the oldest bear in the world might have an Aura of 3.

A shaman may channel the power of all beasts or may choose a specific type of beast to be their totem animal, such as snake or wolf. A shaman with a totem animal will never be attacked by creatures of that type but cannot take the form of any other type of beast.

Minor Spells

Animal’s Eyes

[Dur: Total Concentration - Range: 100 yards - Area: 1 animal]
The shaman may concentrate and see through the eyes of any one animal within 100 yards. The shaman does not control the movements of the animal in any way. The game effect is that the shaman may move to a single vantage point within 100 yards to look about.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to reveal the truth - Animal’s Eyes!”

Bestial Form

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
As the shaman chants their body undergoes a transformation. The shaman grows teeth and claws and their skin transforms into a thick hide. The shaman is automatically proficient in these natural weapons, and they cause magic damage that is not subduaI; they also gain 1 point of hardened armour to all locations.

The shaman’s speech takes on an aspect of their totem animal, but they may cast spells as normal.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid- Bestial Form!”

Heightened Awareness

[Dur: 24 hour - Range/Area: Caster - Progressive]
The shaman gains a heightened awareness such that they gain Keen Senses at the appropriate level. In addition, spells which would normally render them blind have no effect, as the shaman’s other senses compensate, allowing them to act as if they can see.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to grant me aid - Heightened Awareness!”

“I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Heightened Awareness!”

“I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Heightened Awareness!”

Major Spells

Bestial Roar

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
The shaman lets out a bestial roar that shakes and demoralises their foes causing a mass stun effect. The roar heartens the shaman and his comarades such that it dispels any Fear effects upon them.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foes - Bestial Roar! Mass Stun!”

Heart of the Beast

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The shaman grows in stature as the spirit of the beast flows through them - they gain either a point of Strength or a point of Endurance.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to grant me aid - Heart of the Beast!”

Read Entrails

[Dur: Instant - Range/Area: Caster]
The shaman sacrifices an animal, cutting its guts out and spilling them on the floor. Examining the entrails closely, the shaman discovers information relevant to one target. The target must be a living being. The shaman may ask one question, which will be answered with yes or no.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to reveal the truth - Read Entrails!”

Great Spells

Aspect of the Pack

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: 10’ radius]
At the shaman’s howl the shaman and his comrades become feral and animalistic. Each of the pack gains Proficient Berserk (or one additional use of the power), Keen Senses and Survival and in addition they are immune to any fatigue effects from running.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Aspect of the Pack!”

Lycanthropy

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range/Area: Caster]
This spell blesses (or curses) the shaman with Lycanthropy. The mind becomes more bestial in nature and instincts, but retains cunning, approximate memory and the ability to understand speech. The shaman may not use items that require hands to hold, or speak human language, but they can still cast spells.

They gain Bestial Form, Great Heightened Awareness, Heart of the Beast (Strength and Endurance) but become vulnerable to silver.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to grant me aid - Lycanthropy!”

Swarm

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 10’ radius]
The shaman summons a swarm of small biting insects to attack their foes. Normal armour offers no protection as the insects burrow underneath causing two points of piercing damage to the torso as they bite and sting.The victims of this spell are so distracted as to count as stunned.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - to pierce my foe - Swarm! Mass Double Piercing Stun!”

Naming Magic

“You think you can threaten me?”

“I am the greatest of us all here. I stand unchallenged as the principal archmage of my day! I know the ways of three spheres as a master, and the rest are only a matter of time! Yes, damn you all, I admit it: I have trafficked with spirits, and unclean spirits at that. They have much to teach us, and I for one will learn! Do not think this council can stop me. Do not think that I even permit you to threaten me. Take whatever decision you wish, I care not.”

“But do not think to curse me, or lay a spell upon me. For my vengeance would be undying. I tell you this now, as a fair warning: I know your names. . . ”

— Arkalyn, at his trial for sorcery

Principals & Creed

In days long gone, before even the oldest Dragon can remember, it is said that the First Men were all Archmagi. When the universe was young, all the things that existed within it had no Name, and so had no Form. The First Men walked among the Chaos and brought Order — by Naming things, by giving them a True Name, the First Men had great power over the entirety of Creation.

This ancient and first magic is the source of all the modern arts. Sometimes called naming magic, its true power has long been ignored in favour of the more specialised five great arts. It is still commonly taught to young magicians, for it is the only art that can manipulate magic itself.

It is within the sphere of naming magic that one will find spells that fill the pages of every spell book, whether it belongs to a mystic or an elementalist: from the ever useful Spell Ward to the mighty Word of Death.

Notes on Names

True Names are the most deadly secrets in creation: anyone that knows their own true name is forever altered, as the potential of naming is revealed to them. Knowing your true name is a double-edged sword: now you know your true name, it becomes easier for others to learn — spells like Mind Probe (Level 3 Mysticism) can pluck the knowledge from you. And once someone else knows your true name, you may never rest easy again.

If someone knows your true name you are vulnerable to any spells they cast.

Minor Spells

Dispel

[Dur: Instant (5 mins) - Range: 20’ - Area: Target - Progressive]
Dispel cancels any Minor spells currently affecting the target. Permanently enchanted objects containing Minor spells are also suppressed for 5 minutes. As the namer gains power, more powerful spells can be dispelled or suppressed. This spell will not cancel any continual spells; these spells all have a method, unique to the individual spell, of being disrupted.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Dispel!”

“I call upon a Major Magic - Dispel!”

“I call upon a Great Magic - Dispel!”

Spell Ward

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
When called upon or cast, a Minor or Major spell targeted at the warded creature automatically fails. This discharges the Spell Ward. This spell does not stack with itself but will stack with a Greater Spell Ward.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Spell Ward!”

Word of Concealment

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature or item]
The mage may hide the Aura given off by any one creature or magical object. If cast upon a creature then any items carried by them or spells cast upon them will also be concealed. The target of the spell will not be seen as magical with Second Sight, unless the viewer has an Aura above the caster’s, in which case they will know that there is concealing magic upon the target. In addition, a word of concealment may be cast upon a creature or object to remove any magical trace of spells cast upon them (see Analyse Dweomer).

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Conceal!”

Word of Light

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 item]
The target glows with a strong light, sufficient to see in darkness. The light may be extinguished at will and lit again within the duration at will, but it cannot be directed to blind a foe (for real-life safety reasons). This may be physically represented with a torch or other small light source. This spell can dispel, and in turn be dispelled, by a Darkness spell.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Light!”

Word of Silence

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
At the mage’s word the creature is struck dumb and unable to utter a sound. The spell is a fearsome weapon against mages who cannot cast spells when so affected, but it is also useful to stop a guard raising the alarm.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - Silence!”

Major Spells

Analyse Dweomer

[Dur: Concentration - Range: Touch - Area: 1 object or creature]
The mage can tell the power (level) and sphere of a spell that has been cast on a creature or is contained within an item (or the exact spell if the caster has sufficient Lore). If the caster has sensed the Aura of the source of the spell, then they will be able to identify that source. The magical trace will linger for a number of days equal to the spell level.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Analyse Dweomer!”

Greater Spell Ward

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
When called upon or cast, a spell of any level targeted on the warded creature automatically fails. This discharges the Greater Spell Ward. This spell does not stack with itself but will stack with a Spell Ward.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Greater Spell Ward!”

Word of Obfuscation

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature or item]
The subject of this spell is immune to any and all divination spells or effects and any spell or effects that reveal emotions or thought. The mage attempting the divination knows that their magics have been thwarted somehow.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Obfuscate!”

Word of Command

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The namer gives a one word command that the victim must try to perform for the next ten seconds. For example, the victim could be told to“Spin”.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Command!”

Word of Pain

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
As the namer utters but a single word, searing agony shoots through their victim. The creature falls to the ground and is stunned.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - Pain! Stun! Strikedown!”

Great Spells

Aegis

[Dur: 5 minutes - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The namer fashions a powerful magical shield. The person shielded is totally immune to any magic cast upon them after the Aegis, including beneficial magic such as healing.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Aegis!”

Identify Dweomer

[Dur: Concentration - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 object, creature, or place]
This powerful spell identifies any and all spell and magical abilities affecting a person, creature, item or place.

The knowledge is absolute, the mage knows the exact details of the magic, including any counters to continual spells. Even Ritual magic and power may be understood.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Identify Dweomer!”

Word of Death

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
This dread word slays all but those with the strongest will to live or those magically protected. The spell inflicts 3 points of piercing damage to the torso of the target creature. The strain of casting the spell inflicts a single point of piercing damage to the caster. The spell has no effect on spirits (including undead).

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Death! Triple Piercing!”

Word of Destruction

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 magical item]
When unleashed the Word of Destruction deal five points of damage to a target magical item, destroying all but the most of powerful artefacts.

Any bearer of the item is hit with a magical backlash that causes one point of damage per spell level of the greatest enchantment bound in the item. The damage is taken to the location that is in contact with the magic item e.g. on the arm if a magical sword explodes.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic - Destruction! Quint!”

Word of Disruption

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The spell severs the tie from the flow of magic, disrupting a victim’s ability to draw upon mana to cast spells, prayers or innate gifts. The victim cannot draw upon mana from any source. The spell has no effect on spells that have already been cast or those that have no magical ability. The spell may only be broken by speaking your name aloud at the exact place your name was given to you.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Magic Disruption!”

Prayer

“Damn him! Damn Arioch! If He will let you and your kind ravage the world, if He will not aid those who stand against you, then I denounce Him and deny Him my service. I throw aside His protection and stand before you as nothing but a mortal man. I care nothing for the Gods, and less for you! Have at it!”

— the last words of Morrigan, antipaladin of Arioch

Principles & Creed

The Gods have great power, and this power they lend to their faithful followers. Anyone with the skill Prayer is assumed to have faith in the powers and principles of one or more Gods — their beliefs must be clearly defined when the skill is taken.

Prayers are not spells, but they have many characteristics in common. The divine being channels their power through the faith of the priest and produces an effect. This effect can be Spell Warded, Dispelled, or treated as a spell for enchantment purposes. To recite a prayer of a certain level, the priest’s Aura must be at least equal to that level.

The Gods are diverse and their worshippers more so, the precise prayers available to those with the Prayer skill will vary. At each level, three prayers are fixed and two more must be chosen from the spheres or paths of magery. These optional prayers should reflect the beliefs of the god and their follower.

Role-playing notes

Priests are, by their nature, subservient to their deities. They may placate them with sacrifices, meditate to give offerings, but the notion of service is always there, in one form or another. Priests who turn from their God lose all prayer powers until (if) they find another patron. Upon finding a new patron, their powers recover, and their optional spells may change.

Priests who do not show appropriate subservience, or who act contrarily to their God, may find themselves losing access to prayers, having their mana drained to zero, or being affected by one or more curses (depending on the severity of their offence).

Minor Spells

Banish

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 spirit - Progressive]
This spell exorcises a spirit forcing it to return to its home plane. More powerful spirits require greater banishments.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” - banishes a Minor spirit

“I call upon a Major Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” - banishes a Major spirit

“I call upon a Great Magic - to compel that spirit - Banish!” banishes a Great spirit

Consecrate/Desecrate

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 item]
The item is blessed and becomes holy or unholy depending on the faith of the priest. If a weapon it now counts as enchanted and deals magical damage. Armour becomes hardened. The spell may also be cast upon water to make it a potent weapon. One vial’s worth of holy or unholy water is created per casting .

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Prayer - to affect that object - Consecrate/Desecrate [object]!”

Spell Ward

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
When called upon or cast, a Minor or Major spell targeted at the warded creature automatically fails. This discharges the Spell Ward. This spell does not stack with itself but will stack with a Greater Spell Ward.

textbfVocals: “I call upon a Minor Prayer - Spell Ward!”

Major Spells

Greater Spell Ward

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
When called upon or cast, a spell of any level targeted at the warded creature automatically fails. This discharges the Greater Spell Ward. This spell does not stack with itself but will stack with a Greater Spell Ward.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Prayer - Greater Spell Ward!”

Salvation

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The target is protected such that if they bleed to death from a wound or suffer a blow that would otherwise kill or maim, they take no damage, but are instead knocked unconscious and will awaken 5 minutes later.

While the target is unconscious they are protected by 2 points of hardened armour. If the target dies during this period, then their soul is automatically taken to the God’s resting place.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Prayer - to grant me aid - Salvation!”

Ward Spirit

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: 10’ radius from caster]
The caster chants a litany to hold a spirit at bay. Any spirits affected by the spell cannot move within 10’ of, or cast any spells at, the caster as long as the chant continues. Note: some spirits may Spell Ward or be immune to the effects.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Magic - to compel those spirits - Ward Spirit!” - all spirits within 10’

Great Spells

Divine Command

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
The priest speaks with divine authority. The priest may utter a short [10 words or less] clear and unequivocal sentence. If the creature does not obey the command then they are cursed by the priest’s God. The victim becomes unable to use skills above a proficient level and loses one point from their highest attribute. Their soul will be barred from the religion’s resting place if a benevolent deity or be consigned to the pit of Hell if an evil deity. The curse can only be removed by service to a master priest of either the deity who imposed the anathema, or a deity that opposes the first.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Prayer - Divine Command!”

Divine Majesty

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: Caster - Area: 20’ radius from caster]
The priest is a channel for their deity and glows with divine might, as a burst of holy/unholy power emanates from them to fill a 20 foot radius. Any creature or spirit within this area who is morally opposed to the priest’s faith is blinded and stunned by this display.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Prayer - to affect my foe - Divine Majesty! Mass Blind & Stun!

Revelation

[Dur: Instant - Range/Area: Caster]
The priest receives a vision revealing to them the knowledge and wishes of the god regarding a specific subject. Divine knowledge is extensive but strongly coloured by the god’s personality. The information gained should always provide at least three pieces of tangible and new information (unless the God has no knowledge of the subject, for example The Void). Further revelations on the same (or substantially similar) topics will reveal the same information as the first.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Prayer - to reveal the truth - Revelation!”

Channelling

Channel Glyph

The character may apply designs upon themselves that may be charged to give magical effects. These designs take the form of tattoos, scarification, war paint or woad. When a glyph is triggered it glows or writhes in an obviously magical manner.

Minor Spells

Glyph of Defence

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster’s locations covered by design - Progressive]
The character’s body is covered with designs that form a tracery of magical armour. The character has 1 point of hardened armour on all locations covered by the design. The armour is organic in nature and may be healed by use of Healing Touch etc.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Glyph of Defence!” - 1 point of hardened armour

“I call upon a Major Gift - Glyph of Defence!” - 2 points of hardened armour

“I call upon a Great Gift Glyph of Defence!” - 3 points of hardened armour

Glyph of Spell Ward

[Dur: Instant - Range/Area: Caster]
The channeller draws a glyph, often in the form of an “evil eye”, to turn aside hostile magics. The channeller may cast Spell Ward.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Glyph of Spell Ward!”

Glyph of Skill

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster - Progressive]
The character can apply designs that allow them to gain proficiency in any of the following skills: Berserk, Keen Senses, Stealth and Survival. Only one Glyph of Skill may be activated at any one time. The tattoos are often stylised representation of animals associated with the skill, for example a boar for berserk or a cat for the stealth skill, though some tattooists prefer geometric designs.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Glyph of Skill - [Skill Name]” - gain at Proficient level

“I call upon a Major Gift Glyph of Skill [Skill Name]” gain at Expert level

“I call upon a Great Gift Glyph of Skill [Skill Name]” gain at Master level

Major Spells

Glyph of Awareness

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
This glyph grants great spatial awareness. The character gains the skill Blind Fight as Master Keen Senses. The glyph often takes the form of lines radiating from a central point.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift Glyph of Awareness!”

Glyph of Greater Spell Ward

[Dur: Triggered - Range/Area: Caster]
The glyph allows a channeller to avoid powerful spells. The next spell of any level that would affect them fails as per Greater Spell Ward.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Glyph of Greater Spell Ward!”

Glyph of Invisibility

[Dur: Concentration - Range/Area: Caster]
When the channeller calls upon this glyph they fade from normal sight. The glyph requires the concentration of the caster and so ends if the caster attempts to activate another glyph or strike in combat.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Glyph of Invisibility!”

Great Spells

Glyph of Absorption

[Dur: 24 hours (Triggered) - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
When this Glyph is called upon, a single minor or major spell targeted on the protected creature does not affect the creature but is instead ‘captured’. The captured spell may be cast by the bearer at a later time, by using the captured spell’s name as vocals and this discharges the glyph.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Glyph of Absorption!”

Glyph of Blinding

[Dur: Continual - Range: 20’ - Area: 1 creature]
When this Glyph is called upon a target creature is struck blind. The effect can only be removed by washing the eyes in clear morning dew.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift- Glyph of Blinding!”

Glyph of Mind Shielding

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
When active, this glyph blocks any attempt to read the channeller’s mind or emotion. The channeller can put up false fronts, with completely fake thoughts and emotions. Only what the channeller wishes to be seen will be revealed.

Vocals: I call upon a Great Gift Glyph of Mind Shielding!

Channel Healing

The healer can channel their life essence to diagnose illness, heal wounds and lend strength or health. The healer’s hands or eyes glow with magical energy when they manifest their power.

Minor Spells

Diagnosis

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The healer concentrates and uses their power to detect what ails a person. The healer is aware of any disease or poison afflicting their patient and the potency of such. The healer is aware of the presence of detrimental magical affects but not their exact nature.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Diagnosis!”

Healing Touch

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The character can heal injuries and wounds through the use of their own life essence. The healer channels life energy through their hands into the injured location for ten seconds and one hit point is regained.

Poison, disease, or venom damage cannot be healed. Healers may never overcast to heal themselves. The rush of life energy is inimical to undead and they take a point of damage, rather than be healed by the healer’s touch. The damage is applied immediately, as there is no delicate manipulation required.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Healing Touch!”

Restoration

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature - Progressive]
The healer banishes any minor negative spell affecting a character. As the healer strength grows greater magics may be banished. Note: continual spells may only be removed with the appropriate counter described in the spell description.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Restoration!”

“I call upon a Major Gift - Restoration!”

“I call upon a Great Gift - Restoration!”

Major Spells

Bestow

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The healer draws upon their own life energy to make a gift to another. The healer may give of their body’s Attributes or senses. The recipient gains either one point of; Strength, Endurance or Aura and the healer loses one point of the same attribute. The healer may similarly grant another any one sense, and again the healer loses the sense.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Bestow (the gift)!”

Healing Wave

[Dur: 10 secs - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
From the healer’s touch a wave of healing energy spreads over the patient. The target creature is bathed in healing energy and two hit points are regained to every location.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Healing Wave!”

Lesser Purge

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The healer channels their life energy to purge the patient’s body of any lesser poisons and non-magical diseases. This ability does not heal any damage but does allow further healing to be administered.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Lesser Purge!”

Great Spells

Cure Insanity

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The healer can repair a shattered mind. The healer can remove any and all mind influencing magic, but continual spells and effects.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Cure Insanity!”

Purge

[Dur: Instant - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The healer channels their life energy to purge the patient’s body of any poisons and non-magical diseases.

This ability does not heal any damage but does allow further healing to be administered.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Purge!”

Regeneration

[Dur: 10 secs - Range: Touch - Area: 1 creature]
The master healer has great power over the body’s natural healing ability. The healer can heal broken bones, and rebuild ruined organs so that the recipient is totally healed. The healer may also reattach limbs or restore the last glimmer of life to someone whoss soul has not departed the body (if the limb was severed or the character bled to “death” within the last 5 minutes) though this requires all of the healing energy bestowed.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Regeneration!”

Channel Spirit

The spirit warrior is able to channel their soul to enhance their combat ability. When a spirit warrior manifests their abilities they are surrounded by a corona of power, of colour determined at character creation, which should reflect the character’s inner nature. For example, the hands of a holy warrior monk might glow with a silvery radiance when they manifest a Spiritual Weapon.

The name of these gifts may be changed to more accurately represent the character type. A Paladin for example might call on Holy arms and armour, Mantle of Faith, and Divine Favour as minor gifts.

Minor Spells

Channel Chi — Water

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The spirit warrior focuses their mind to give supernatural fluidity of movement. The spirit warrior gains one Dodge as per Duellist.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Channel Chi - Water!”

Soul Armour

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The warrior’s armour or body is surrounded by their spirit radiance. The spirit warrior gains 1 point of hardened armour on all locations. Soul Armour, unlike most armour spells, stacks with the physical armour provided with Spirit Armour.

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Soul Armour!”

Spiritual Arms and Armour

[Dur: 24 hours - Range: Touch - Area: Caster’s arms or armour]
The spirit warrior channels their soul to enhance arms and armour. In all cases the item is now treated as enchanted and does not impede the flow of mana. In addition the item gains the following benefits:

Vocals: “I call upon a Minor Gift - Spirit (object)!”

Major Spells

Channel Chi — Fire/Earth

[Dur: 24 hour - Range/Area: Caster]
The spirit warrior channels the power of their mind to increase the strength or resilience of their body. The recipient gains a +1 to their Strength or Endurance.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Channel Chi Fire - Strength / Earth - Endurance!”

Soul Cage

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The spirit warrior soul is safely warded within their spirit radiance such that they are immune to any minor or major beguilement spells. The caster could then be immune to any Traitor spell but take damage from a lowly Fire Bolt.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Soul Cage!”

Spirit Strike

[Dur: Instant - Range: 20 - Area: 1 creature]
The warrior unleashes a blast of force that knocks the opponent 20 feet. The spirit warrior may call a knockback with Strength equivalent to their Aura.

Vocals: “I call upon a Major Gift - Spirit Strike!”

Great Spells

Channel Chi — Air

[Dur: 10 seconds - Range/Area: Caster]
The spirit warrior channels their Chi to “move without moving” and effectively steps outside time, calling a 10 second time freeze. The spirit warrior cannot affect, move, or touch anything else in the frozen world during this time freeze, but is otherwise free to act.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Channel Chi Air!”

Soul Radiance

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster]
The spirit warrior’s soul blazes with power and provides even greater protection. The spirit warrior gains 2 points of hardened armour on all locations.

Soul Radiance, unlike most armour spells, stacks with the physical armour provided with Spirit Armour.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Soul Radiance!”

Spirit Bane

[Dur: 24 hours - Range/Area: Caster’s spirit weapon]
The channeller’s Spirit Weapon becomes inimical to chosen race, the weapon deals +1 damage against this race. For the purposes of this spell the Undead are considered one race. Spirit Bane also may be applied to any weapon that has been permanently enchanted or temporarily enchanted.

Vocals: “I call upon a Great Gift - Spirit Bane!”

Ritual Magic

“. . . take your offering; place it on the block with the throat turned upwards so that it may be easier for you to cut it, be ready with your knife, and cut the throat at a single stroke, pronouncing the name of SammÊl. Have a care that two blows be not needed, but let it die at the first; then skin it with the knife, and while skinning it make the following. . . ”

- excerpt from the Grimorium Verum

Magic is a supernatural ability to make changes in the world through an act of will alone. There are two types of magic. The most commonly used magic is in the form of spells or formulaic magic. These spells have been distilled by mages to give relatively predictable results. Even if the incantations are mispronounced, usually the mage only suffers the loss of a little power.

There are other magics though. Older magics. These magics may even predate humankind. Rituals, incantations and old formulae have great power, should one dare to use them. Ritual magic can do almost anything its wielder desires. Spells can affect hundreds of people, reality may be reshaped to suit the magician’s will and even the dead may be brought back to life. There is always a price however, both for success and failure. The fabric of reality cannot be altered cheaply.

All rituals cost experience points to cast. The cost to perform a ritual maybe reduced or eliminated by sacrificing magical components in a similar way to enchantment (see rules on Enchanting Items). Note: the component must be appropriate to the ritual being cast. Once cast a ritual is normally permanent and the effects can only be suppressed rather than dispelled.

More powerful ritual effects can be gained by creating a chain of dependent rituals. A ritual to transform a sorcerer into a Demon, for example, might involve three great rituals, each costing three experience points.

A ritual to change the entire world in some way could involve hundreds of rituals over perhaps hundreds of years. The resources to do this are only going to be available to the most dedicated (or fanatical) of groups or cults. Even then the disruption of a single ritual could destroy the entire effect, earning the undying enmity of such a group.

Ritual magic is not suited to the cut and thrust of spell casting in combat. The ceremony always takes at least five minutes to complete, may use bulky paraphernalia and is disrupted if the caster’s concentration is broken, such as by being attacked.

Determining Ritual Level

To create a ritual the ritualist must first define exactly what they wish to achieve. The ritualist must draft for the GM’s consideration a ritual Ideal. This Ideal defines a ritual in game terms and must include the following information; Link, Power and Complexity. This information will be used by the GM to determine the ritual level and hence the skill that is required to cast the ritual and the cost in experience points to perform the ritual.

To determine the ritual level determine the effect Power Level (Cosmetic, Minor etc.) and then the Complexity of the ritual. The Ritual Level is the Power Level plus any modifiers, minus the Complexity Level e.g a ritual that has a Major effect (4) and requires a relatively simple ritual (Minor -1) would be a Great ritual (3).

Link

The ritual must have a clear and obvious thematic connection to the Sphere of Magic (or appropriate God’s area of influence) that the ritualist is drawing upon for the ritual (as adjudicated by the GM). If the connection is not clear and obvious no ritual can be performed. Each Sphere of Magic is limited in the effects that can be achieved with its power as defined in the Principle and Creeds of the sphere.

Similarly, rituals dedicated to a God must be limited by the God’s area of influence, or a single facet of a God with multiple areas of influence (as determined by the additional prayers the God grants).

For example, if the ritualist was drawing upon Mysticism the ritualist could manipulate the Soul and through this such intangibles as; Emotions, Illusions, Prophecies, Time.

Power

This is how powerful the consequence of the ritual is. The greater the power of the ritual, the higher the ritual level is. It takes more magical effort to bring someone back from the dead than to heal a ruined arm. Any power that mimics a Virtue will be the same level as that Virtue e.g as Truename is a Great Virtue it would require a ritual of Great power to reveal someone’s Truename. Other effects are of course possible and examples are given below.








0Cosmetic

The consequence of the ritual has no direct game influencing effect e.g the character may not fall pregnant, crops blossom, or the character’s soul will dwell with their god upon death.




2 Minor

The consequence of the ritual can: alter emotions or senses, create illusions, cure or inflict permanent injuries (1 point of damage), reshape matter, summon minor spirits etc.




4 Major

The consequence of the ritual can: entirely transform emotions or senses, create reactive illusions, cure or inflict debilitating injuries(2 point of damage), transform the nature of matter e.g harden air to form an impenetrable shield , summon major spirits etc.




6 Great

The consequence of the spell can: kill (or transform a person so severely that they are as good as dead), raise the dead, open portals to other dimensions, create illusions that can think and act summon Great spirits etc





The power of a ritual is increased by one Power Level if a group of people are directly affected by the ritual (as a mass spell) or two Power Levels if up to the population of a small town (100) are affected e.g. a Cosmetic ritual to make everyone in a town fall barren would be a Major Ritual. Note illusions have indirect effects and this modifier is not used.

Complexity

The complexity of the ritual is the sum of mundane requirements that are required to cast the ritual. The more complex the requirements of the ritual, the lower the ritual level, as the raw power of the ritual is more focussed. The complexity level of the ritual should directly effect the chance of success of the ritual, with the greater the complexity of the ritual, the lower the chance of success. Ritual requirements include; special ingredients such as incense, eye of newt, fresh corpse or magic circles and symbols (these should be appropriate to the school of magic evoked so that an elemental magic circle would be a square marked with a ingredient denoting each element at the corners) and arcane incantantions.





1Minor

The ritual involves a minimum of 5 minutes roleplay and basic ingredients that are easily obtainable. The incantantions are simple and may be read from ritual scroll or tombs.




2Major

The ritual is more complex with elements such as; ingredients obtained from adventures or manufactured with skills, a magic circle (if the circle is crossed the ritual fails) multiple participants that each contribute, incantantions that are difficult and must be memorised, movement or performance.




3Great

The ritual is highly complex and requires three or more difficult ritual elements. If any of the elements of the ritual are not met the ritual will be flawed or even fail if a number of the ritual elements are not met. A flawed ritual will give a lesser or erratic effect.





Backlash Some rituals are more dangerous. If the ritual fails in any way, any involved in the ritual will be affected by the ritual or a deleterious effect of similar power level as defined in the ritual. A ritual that is affected by backlash decreases the ritual level by one point

The power of a ritual is decreased by one point if the ritual effect is a continual effect, that is the ritual may be disrupted by a relatively simple to achieve mundane method (as determined by the GM).

Ritual Components

Exotic and magical components can contribute experience points to the cost of a ritual. Magical ingredients reduce the cost of an ritual (not the ritual level) — by 1xp for a relatively common component to 3xp for a near unique component.





Minor

Rare components such as a flawless crystal or an extremely well crafted item.

1



Major

Extremely rare components such as the skull of a legendary necromancer or unicorn horn.

2



Great

Almost unique items such as a dragon heart or a phoenix feather, or the caster’s life force

3




Any component used must be wholly relevant to the overall ritual or else the potency will be reduced by at least one. Multiple ingredients may be combined into a single ritual; however the maximum total ingredient contribution to any ritual is 3 XP. The potency of ingredients increases exponentially such that three minor components are only the equivalent to one major component and three major components are equivalent to one great component.

Nodes

There are areas in the world that are heavy in ritual significance. These “nodes of power” or nodes are where the flow of magic seems to eddy and pool. These nodes are always associated with a specific sphere of magic or deity. Ritual nodes include: The Isle of Mists (Mysticism), Durin’s Forge (Wizardry), Molten Falls (Elementalism - Fire), Dead Mans Mire (Sorcery - Necromancy), The Hellmouth (Sorcery — DÊmonology), The Dome of the Moon (a temple founded where the goddess was said to have rested).

Any appropriate ritual cast at the node costs 1 point less as power is drawn from the node. The node then must “recharge” before it may again contribute to a ritual and this may take anything from a week for the most powerful nodes to years for a lesser note.

To find an active node requires use of Scholarly Research with the appropriate Arcane or Divine Lore. Note that it will not always be possible to find an appropriate node. Moreover, powerful creatures of the aspect of magic are drawn to such areas and resent intrusion. It is said that Salamander and Firekin dance in the lava at Molten Falls and the undead walk in Dead Man’s Mire.

Opposed rituals

If a ritual is being cast upon a creature that is opposed to the ritual, a conduit of power is opened between the ritualist and the target of the spell. If the target of the spell is a ritualist as well, they may use any spells they possess to try and disrupt the ritual. However the maximum spell level that may be cast through the conduit is equivalent to the ritual level.

Role-Playing Notes

So what can ritual magic achieve? In theory pretty much anything, in practice, not so much. The more ambitious the purpose, the harder it is to perform a ritual that can achieve it. For ritual magic to succeed the ritual should have a simple and straightforward goal.

For someone to be the focus of a ritual there must be a clear link involved to the ritual magic, if only as a sacrifice. Rituals often have unpredictable results, even if they “succeed”. A ritual cast to bring woe on an enemy may often backfire and bring harm to the caster.

Notes for GM’s

In many ways a ritual is like an adventure in miniature. The same consideration of theme, balance, and challenge must be addressed and served up with a healthy dose of imagination. Disrupting or completing a ritual is a classic climax to an adventure or story. However care must be taken; it is easy to overuse such plot devices so that they become hackneyed or clichÈd, and any one skill or ability should not dominate the game.

The cost of completing rituals can be reduced by obtaining powerful magical component or completing the ritual in a node of power. It is intended that obtaining or using such items or areas would be the focus of a party’s adventure and they provide power to further the party’s goals or story-arcs so that a ritualist character is not penalised for furthering the story.

Finally, it is the responsibility of both the player and GM to ensure that ritual magic enhances rather than detracts from an adventure. Magic is a fickle force and it is up to the GM to interpret it in the way that best serves the game.

Example Minor Ideals

The following are example ritual Ideals. It must be noted that the effect and methodology are examples only.

Mysticism — Grand Secret

Area: One location, creature, concept, or item of any size
Link: Prophecy
Ritual Level: 1 (Minor Power [2] - Minor Complexity [1])

The mystic may lay a Grand Secret upon anything that they suspect will be the target of some sort of divinatory magic. All such attempts will fail absolutely. Any spell that seeks to gather information about the subject of the Grand Secret will fail.

The mystic lays a circle of the major arcana of tarot cards around the item, creature, or a scroll of the concept. The cards are each laid face up; the mystic then turns each card over and says, “Let the (card name) be made blind. As I will it, so it shall be.” The mystic then gathers up the cards and the ritual is complete.

Wizardry — Attunement

Area: One enchanted item
Link: Enchanted Items
Ritual Level: 1 (Minor Power [2] - Minor Complexity [1])

The wizard may break the “bond” that an enchanted item has with a person and reforge the bond with another person (including the wizard) so that the enchanted item may then useable by that person.

The wizard forms a figure eight around the item with a length of chain. The wizard then takes up a hammer and says “By my art and by my craft I shatter the bond that holds you”, and strikes the chain twice. The wizard then takes up a blade and cuts the recipient of the item across the palm of their hand and smears the blood on the item. The wizard and the recipient intone, ”By blood shall this (item) be bound to (recipient). Now and forever.” The wizard then presents the items (or takes the item).

Thaumaturgy — Thaumaturgic Doll

Area: 1 doll
Link: Sympathy
Ritual Level: 1 (Major Power [4] - Major Complexity [2] - Continual [1])

The thaumaturge creates a wax or straw doll of another creature that is linked to that creature Any spell (up to 2nd level) cast on the doll is effectively cast on the creature it represents, no matter the physical distance between caster and target, this spell cannot be countered or warded against. If desired, the doll may be damaged (such as burnt or struck with pins) which inflicts piercing damage that cannot be healed as long as the doll is in existence. Up to 2 levels of spells or points of damage may be inflicted upon the doll before it is destroyed. Only one thaumaturgic doll of a person can be enchanted at any one time.

The thaumaturge must create the thaumaturgic doll whilst incanting, “By the principle of sympathy I command you”, this is repeated three times. The doll must include 3 special ingredients of an intimate nature belonging to the creature, for example, blood, hair, saliva, or clothing. The ingredients must be fresh (if not enchanted into a doll within 1 adventure, they degrade).The thaumaturgic doll counts as a continual effect as it is destroyed by use, and may also be safely destroyed by the target of the spell.

Sorcery: Necromancy — Minor Raising

Link: Summoning
Ritual Level: 1 (Major Power (Minor Effect + Mass) [4] - Minor Complexity [1] - Backlash [1] - Continual [1] )

Summons up to ten minor undead servants. The undead hate any and all life including the necromancer but they may be “commanded” and where one goes the others will follow, and will not normally attack someone protected by Corpse Flesh.

The necromancer must first harvest the corpses to raise. The necromancer then forms a pentacle with the corpses. The necromancer must stand in the centre of the corpses and chant “From the dark portal I call you, Walk the path of the dead once more”, 5 times. As the necromancer chants a terrifying moan comes from the corpses. The eyes begin to glow with a fetid green light and the bodies jerk violently.

Then, as the spell destroys the creatures’ wills, they lie still for a moment, before sitting bolt upright. The new undead can be a zombie or a skeleton. The ritual is a continual effect as the spirits can be dispelled by destroying their mortal shells. If the necromancer miscasts the incantation the undead will attack even if the necromancer is protected by spells.

Skeleton
Attributes: Strength 1, Endurance 1, Armour 0, Hits per location - 2
Virtues and Flaws: Claws - unarmed attacks deal real damage
Skeletal - hits per location are equal to double Endurance (armour is cosmetic), vulnerable to blunt weapons and the Bone break spell
Mindless - any spell with “beguile my foe” as its middle vocal has no effect.
Skills: one weapon skill.

Zombie
Attributes: Strength 1, Endurance 1, 10 Global Hits Virtues and Flaws: Automaton - The creature has ten times as many hits as its Endurance score as Global hits. The creature is slow and moves at walking pace only.
Claws - unarmed attacks deal real damage.
Mindless - any spell with “beguile my foe” as its middle vocal has no effect

Priest/Healing — Restore Limb

Area: One limb
Link: Healing Deity
Ritual Level: 1 (Minor Power [2] - Minor Complexity [1])

The priest or healer can restore the use to a withered or mangled limb. The priest describes the injury and anoints the area with holy water. The priest then asks, “Do you believe in the healing power of (deity)” three times, each time the recipient must answer in the affirmative. Then the priest strikes the offending limb and unleashes the power of their god. The priest and the recipient must remember to then thank the deity or the limb will surely wither once more.

Example Major Ideals

Mysticism — Beguilement

Area: One creature
Link: Emotions
Ritual Level: 2 (Great Power [6] - Major Complexity [2] - Backlash [1] - Continual [1])

Through the use of this ritual, the mystic utterly bends the will of another to his or her own. The victim follows all the orders and suggestions of the mystic to the best of their ability, and has a strong desire to be near the mystic at all times. The victim may well be aware of what has happened to them, but is not offended in the slightest by the actions of the mystic. There is no limit to their loyalty. The caster may not voluntarily cancel Beguilement once it has begun.

The victim loses one point of Endurance per week that they do not see the mystic at least once. The spell can be broken by the power of true love.

The mystic must obtain 3 special ingredients of an intimate nature belonging to the creature, for example, blood, hair, saliva, or clothing. The ingredients must be fresh (if not used to beguile within 1 adventure, they degrade). The mystic then burns the ingredients and intones “Let (name of creature)’s heart burn with desire for me. As I mote it, shall it be so.” The mystic then places the full arcana of tarot cards face down and must then turn over at first attempt, The Fool, The Priestess and The Lovers. The mystic then intones, “The fates have willed it so” and the ritual is complete.

If this is not achieved the mystic will suffer a magical backlash and they will be beguiled by the next person they meet. If the ritual is cast correctly then the Beguilement is unleashed when they meet the victim’s gaze.

Wizardry — Fortune

Area: One enchanted item
Link: Rune Reading
Ritual Level: 2 (Major Power [4] - Minor Complexity[1] - Backlash[1])

The wizard may reforge the runes of their destiny so that wheel of fortune spins at their command. The wizard gains the use of any one mundane skill at Expert level once per adventure, to reflect their great fortune. So the wizard could; Disarm a foe “Oops butter fingers” (Duellist), pick a lock ”Seems like they forgot to lock this chest” (Rogue), find a potion of Sweetbalm “I don’t know if it’s important but that assassin got this vial marked Antidote” (Survival) etc.

The wizard throws onto a small fire “lucky” ingredients and charms such as a four leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot etc. The wizard then takes one runestone from a bag of 5 stones and names it and describes how it will aid their fortune e.g “This is Naraz the rune of strength — it will give me the strength to forge my destiny”. One of the runes in the bag must be blank and it is very bad luck to draw this as this means the wizard has no future. If this rune is drawn (or the drawn rune is misnamed) once per adventure one of the wizard’s mundane skills will fail to work when called upon (at a time determined by the GM).This ill fortune does not cost experience.

Sorcery: DÊmonolgy — Summon Demonic Warrior

Link: Summoning
Ritual Level: 2 (Great Power (Major Effect + Mass) [6] - Major Complexity [2] - Backlash[1] - Continual[1])

Summons three demonic warriors. The demons hate being constrained and will try their best to slay the summoner. The demons may be commanded to complete any 1 task but stay on the mortal plain for but one hour.

The dÊmonologist must kill 3 creatures with a single blow to their heart. The dÊmonologist must then step inside a pentacle made of powdered cold iron and then intone “I conjure thee, Maladel, Laaval, Bamalahe*, Come for thy feast. Come without inflicting any harm upon me. Come by thy names, I exhort and call you”. The dÊmonologist must have a care not to break the circle or the demons will attack, as they will if the incantion is not cast correctly (though the powdered iron will inflict a point of damage in this case).

The demons may then be given a single task that involves killing or torturing someone. The dÊmonologist must have a care to say “Then return to the infernal abyss”, else the demon will come looking for the sorcerer when they have completed their task.

*example names only

Demon Warrior
Attributes: Strength 2, Endurance 2, Aura 1, Armour 2(H), Hits per location - 4
Virtues and Flaws : Claws - unarmed attacks deal real damage. Demonic resistances.
Innate spells: Hellfire, Path of flame, Spellward (precast)
Armoured hide - the leathery hide of the creature counts as 2 point of hardened armour
Skills: Any 2 combat skills

Example Great Ideals

Mysticism — Alter Reality

Link: Fate
Ritual Level: 3 (Great Power [6] Great Complexity [3])

The mystic who cast this ritual turns back the folds of time and forces the universe to play itself out once more — this time, dancing to the mystic’s tune. The mystic may reverse one thing that has happened in the past, as long as they can provide a viable alternative.

As long as the new reality does not break the bounds of possibility too much, and as long as only one major factor is changed, the ritual should succeed, remoulding time itself around the mystic’s desire. If the mystic tries to Alter Reality further than it will go, bizarre and undesirable consequences may well result.

The ritual costs an amount of XP dependent upon the desired result. If any minor or major spell of any sphere could replicate the effect, it costs 1 XP. If the effect could be replicated by any great spell (including mass versions of level 2 or 3 spells), it costs 2 XP. If the effect could not be replicated by any one spell, it costs 3 XP. Remember, some effects simply cannot be achieved, even with the awesome power of this spell.

The mystic and appropriate actors (illusions figments) must act out the events leading up to the event and then the new “interpretation”. The acting out of the events must be exact or the ritual will fail or be flawed in some way.

Naming — Word of Naming

Area: One creature
Link: Names
Ritual Level: 3 (Great Power [6] - Major Complexity[2] - Backlash[1])

This ritual allows the caster to change the true name of anything they desire, including themselves. The caster alone knows the new true name, but they may communicate this to whomever they desire. The target can be given up to 3 points of Flaws or Virtues at a cost of 1 XP per point.

The namer must inscribe a pentagram of magic, with a symbol for each of the magic spheres where the pentacle touches the circle e.g. an eye for mysticm, a mobius strip of silver for wizardry etc. The Namer then says ”What was once (old name) shall now be (new name). This new name is then inscribed on a piece of parchment and buried in the earth at the centre of the pentagram. The namer and any who find this scrap of paper (and have the wit to figure out what it is) will have a fraction of the creatures truename, and the creature will be vulnerable to any spell cast that call upon this e.g ”I call upon a Major magic, to strike Argentium” etc.

Priest — Resurrection

Area: One creature
Link: Souls
Ritual Level: 3 (Great Power [6] - Major Complexity[2] - Backlash[1] )

The dead body rises from the grave, provided its soul was in the god’s resting place or an allied god’s resting place. The resurrection must occur within 3 days of death; otherwise the soul is permanently tied to the afterlife. If the soul was made undead, this ritual fails. Limbs are restored and diseases and poisoned removed. Hit points in all locations are restored to one.

The priest anoints the body with holy water and oils and walks around the body three time waving incense. The priest then calls out ”Holy (deity) I beseech you. Let thy hallowed servant walk again amongst us. Release this spirit from thy kingdom. As thy will, so it will be done.” The creature will then rise once more if the deity believes the creature is worthy (GM call). If the deity does not believe the creature is worthy the ritual will fail and the priest will be affected as if they disobeyed a Divine Command.

Enchanted & Special Items

Enchanting Items

An Artificer may bind any spell they may cast into an item. To bind a spell within an item costs twice the spell level to use the spell once per day , or have two uses per adventure. If the cost is doubled the spell becomes usable three times per day or 6 charges per adventure, and if tripled becomes usable fives times per day or 10 charges per adventure. The method of activating an item must be decided at the time of creation.

The experience point cost of an item can be given from the artificer, or donated by others. The person donating experience must have a relationship with either the item e.g. intended wielder of the item or an ongoing magical working relationship with the artificer (an apprentice, coven member, or university colleague).

Bonded

The item created is keyed or “bonded” to either the item’s creator or to another specified individual and may only by used by them. A Master Artificer may choose to create an item that is not so bonded and may be wielded by anyone.

Limitations

To reduce the XP cost of an item, items may have restrictions on their usage or Limitations. Limitations may not reduce the value of an item below half (round up) and must have a definite and worsening impact on the use of the item.





Minor

Decreases the utility/ power of the effect by more than a quarter.

1



Major

Decreases the utility/ power of the effect by more than a half.

2



Great

Decreases the utility/ power of the effect by more than three quarters.

3




Magical Components

Exotic and magical components can contribute experience points to the cost of an item. Magical ingredients reduce the cost of an item (not the item’s value) — by 1XP for a relatively common component to 3XP for a near unique component:





Minor

Rare components such as a flawless crystal or an extremely well crafted item.

1



Major

Extremely rare components such as the skull of a legendary necromancer or unicorn horn.

2



Great

Almost unique items such as a dragon heart or a phoenix feather.

3




Any component used must be wholly relevant to the overall enchantment or else the potency will be reduced by at least one. Multiple ingredients may be combined into a single enchantment; however the maximum total ingredient contribution to any enchanted item is 3 XP. The potency of ingredients increases exponentially such that three minor components are only the equivalent to one major component and three major components are equivalent to one great component.

Existing magic items, or their remains, can also be used as ingredients in new enchantments. As this process involves the destruction and reconstitution of the item, the maximum potency of such ingredients for a new enchantment is half what the original item was worth, and then only if the new enchantment is exactly the same as the original magical effect on the item, otherwise the potency will be reduced further. Note that the maximum experience point contribution to an enchantment from an existing magical item is 3 XP, as with any magical component.

For example, the shards of Aragorn’s sword Narsil are worth:

Rune of Naming (size 2 weapon): 2
Rune of Thorns (Minor Spell) 1 X 2 = 2
Rune of Death (Great Spell) 3 X 2 = 6
Item value = 10 points.

The sword shards themselves are worth 10 X 0.5 = 5; however the maximum contribution from ingredients is 3 points, so the Elven smiths need to contribute 7 further XP points (Item cost).

If the sword shards were instead forged into an axe blade then their contribution would be only 2; if the steel were used to enchant mail then it would be worth 1 point and the components would be of no use at all for enchanting a ring of invisibility.

Breaking items

Enchanted items are difficult to destroy. An enchanted item has a Magical Defence of half the Item value (round up); the damage must be dealt with a single blow from an enchanted item or spell.

For example, the sword Narsil has a Magical Defence of 10 x 0.5 = 5. The sword would be very hard to destroy. Items such as: potions, scrolls and other trinkets etc. are not considered as enchanted and may be destroyed by appropriate mundane means. A potion bottle, for example, could be smashed or a scroll torn to pieces.

Fragile

Enchanted items may have Fragile as a Minor (-1) Limitation. If an item is fragile it has no Magical Defence.

Example: Crystal of Soul Vision
When activated the crystal may be used to peer into another’s soul (Mind Probe).

Mind Probe - Spell level 3 usable once per day (6)
Flaw - Fragile - the crystal may be destroyed by smashing off a hard surface or will shatter from the strain if called upon more than once per day. (-1)
Magical ingredients - A perfect unflawed crystal from the Mines of Glitterhame (-1)
Activation - Command word: “Power of the Crystal - Mind probe!”
Item Value = 5 / Cost to Create = 4

Example Items

Veil of a Thousand Faces

This simple enchanted item is often used as a tool by Assassins to aid them gain access to their victims. When the veil is passed over the face, another’s features may be taken.

Glamour - Spell level 1, usable once per day (2)
Flaw - can only take the features of someone the veil has touched (Minor -1)
Activation - Touch: passing the veil over the face
Item Value/Cost to Create = 1

Hand of Glory

This grisly token is much sought after by local thieves. It is formed from the mummified hand of a hanged man. When called upon it allows the bearer to become invisible.

Invisibilty - Spell level 2, usable once per day (4)
Flaw - Hand needs to be held aloft in both hands (Major -2)
Magical Component - Mummified hand of a hanged man (Minor -1)
Activation - holding the hand aloft.
Item Value = 2 / Cost to Create = 1

Gauntlets of Ogre’s Might

The gauntlets are made from strange leather and confer great strength on the wielder (+1 to Strength attribute).

Rune of Might - Spell level 2, usable once per day (4)
Flaw - The Strength gained is only in the arms of the wearer as Fellhanded (Minor -1)
Magical Component - Tanned Ogres hide (-1)
Activation - Touch: wearing gauntlets
Item Value = 3 / Cost to Create = 2

Ring of Spell capture

The bearer of this rune inscribed ring is protected from all but the most powerful magics (level 1 and 2). The bearer must call upon the ring and an incoming spell is captured. The ring bearer may then call upon the ring again to use the captured spell. Only one spell can be captured in this way per day.

Rune of Absorption - Spell level 2, usable once per day (4)
Activation - command word: “Power of the ring - Absorption!”. Then to cast - “Power of the ring - (the captured spell name)”
Item Value = 4

Nuada’s Warhorn

This warhorn was wielded by the Elven hero Nuada, though the legends do not tell where she obtained it. The horn causes great harm to the undead but leaves the living unscathed. Nuada fell surrounded by legions of the undead, her life force spent to sound the horn for the third and last time.

Banish - Three times per day, spell level 2 x 2 x2 (8)
Flaws - Cost 3 mana to use, only affects undead (Great -3)
Activation - sounding the horn.
Item Value = 5

Wolfskin cloak

This great silver wolf skin cloak grants its wearer the ability to transform into a werewolf (see the spell Lycanthropy).

Lycanthropy - Spell level 3, usable once per day (6)
Activation - command word: “Power of the cloak - Lupus!”
Item Value = 6

Panolopy of the White Guard.

This old fashioned plate armour was blessed by one of the old Gods, for the twelve warrior-saints of the White Guard. The last of these, the Paladin Valinor de Jeunne, was lost somewhere in distant lands, and presumably the armour lies with him.

Consecrated Armour - Plate and Mail Size 3 (2)
Rune of Armouring - Spell level 1 (2)
Greater Spell Ward - Spell level 2, once per day (4)
Flaws - The spell ward is only usable against evil spirits (-1)
Activation - command word: “I call upon a Major Prayer - Greater Spell Ward”
Item Value = 7

Black Razor - The Axe of Dain Ironfist

One of the three fabled great axes the Dwarves created for use in the “War of Durgin’s Beard” against their Orcish foes. The blade is wickedly sharp and will pass through the finest of mundane armour.

Rune of Naming - (2)
Bane Rune - Orcs - Spell level 2 (4)
Rune of Thorns - Spell level 1 (2)
Item Value = 8

The Dragonbone Stave

This mighty staff is carved from a black unknown material, rumour has it from the bones of the last true Dragon. The staff seems awkward to wield for those without strong magical powers (Aura 3).

Magestaff - Size 2 (6)
Bloodstone - 6 mana (6)
Flaw - any mage that views the staff is filled with a lust to own it - as 2nd level beguilement effect. On holding the staff a mage becomes vulnerable to this effect (Great -3).
Item Value = 9

Playing the Character

You should now have a fair idea of how you are going to play your character. Here are a few more suggestions and things to think about for role-playing:

It often adds to role-play if you use an accent or a manner of speech for the character that is not your own. Some people find this difficult to do, but if you can, it is worth it. Find a voice that fits the character. For a start, people can tell when you are talking as your character and when you are talking out-of-character. Secondly, as soon as you start to use the voice, you make it much easier for everyone else to fall naturally into character.

Talk to people during the game. It is all very well being an aloof and cold type - but if you discuss things with others, even to tell them off, they get a far better idea of your character and you can drop in all sorts of bits and pieces - you can drop hints about your background, or withhold it ruthlessly so that they think “hmm there’s a mystery there.”

Remember to keep in mind what your character does and doesn’t know. For instance, as you approach a monster player who’s wearing a troll mask, you as a player may think to yourself “oh, its a troll.” But stop and think for a second - has the character you’re playing ever seen one before? If so, what happened - will he run away from this one? If not, will he try to talk to it? What, exactly (in-character) does he know about trolls?

There are many other cases of having to draw the line between player and character knowledge. You may have someone pointing an arrow at you, and know that the player is James, who couldn’t hit an elephant at three paces. Your character doesn’t know that. You may know that fairies are affected by cold iron; your character may have been told a whole set of stories when he was young about fairies, and what to do about them, and spend the next half-hour trying to tempt them away with a bowl of milk.

Think about whether you’ve seen magic before. Are you going to be surprised by it? How about strange races - have you any prejudices? What stories have you heard about goblins? How about dwarves - are they really as horrible and greedy as people say? What sex are they, under those beards? Will they cut you in half for calling them “stunty”?

One last thing - one of the best ways of playing an “impressive” character is to bluff it. Pretend that you can fight well. Adopt an easy attitude, a calm, relaxed pose. If people believe you’re good at what you do, nine times out of ten you’ll win. On the other hand, if you’re playing a hopeless incompetent, act it. Stumble around, be nervous, get your spell book upside down and drop your spell components all over the floor. The character will stick in people’s minds for years to come, as opposed to the characters played by people who are just playing “a mage” or “a fighter”.

The Excuse

For the adventure to work, you need to have a reason to be out doing whatever you are doing - and a reason to be travelling with these particular people. Some of these other travellers you may know from previous adventures or freeforms - some you may not.

You might well all turn up at the adventure with an idea of what you are doing. During the last adventure or freeform, for example, a king may have asked you to rescue his daughter - and you may have accepted, and recruited a few others to help you. Or you may all have been hired to carry some merchandise for a local merchant - or whatever.

If by the time the game starts you don’t know what you’re doing, you may be starting somewhere like an inn you’ve stayed the night, or a small village or something. When you start play, the excuse will happen - the village will be raided, a barmaid will be carried off from the inn, or something along those lines. It is entirely up to the GMs.

It is also entirely up to you as a character whether you actually want to go on the adventure. Try to find an excuse, if you can, or you’ll have to give up on playing and go and join the monsters.

Costuming & Props

Okay, you have a completed character background and a lot of numbers on a piece of paper. Now, you have to get dressed. Costuming is a fairly important part of LRP, for three main reasons.

Firstly, it’s much easier to play a medieval peasant wearing rags and old sacks than it is to play one wearing jeans, T-shirt and trainers. It’s easier to play a swashbuckler whilst wearing a frilly shirt and a large hat with a feather in it (and possibly even a fake curly moustache, or, in extreme cases, chest hair).

Secondly, everyone else who is playing is much more convinced of the reality of your character if you’re in costume - it makes them role-play better.

Thirdly, costuming is fun. Costumes are available from specialist suppliers. We suggest and encourage people to build their own, however - it’s much more fun, much cheaper, and can result in stunning costumes personalised to the character. You’ll be surprised what you pick up from a junk stall somewhere that’ll turn into a superb bit of costume.

First of all, think of the character’s general dress sense. Are they a warrior? In which case, what sort of armour are they wearing? What style is it? Is it something they scraped together from various battlefields, or was it specially built?

Try to get a different costume together for each character you play, to keep them separate in peoples’ minds. In some cases, try to get more than one costume (in roughly the same style) for the same character - a warrior is hardly going to wear full armour to a village feast.

Props

Props or physical representations (“Phys Reps”) are used to represent an object within the game. Props are necessary to use many Skills. Your weapons are all phys reps. Your GMs may well provide phys rep coins.

The general rule for a phys rep is this - try to make it look as much as possible like the real thing. For example if your character wears metal armour, you will have to find an appropriate phys rep such as fibreglass or heavy plastic painted silver - or real metal, for that matter. Your GMs will not let you away with saying “Uh...I really am wearing plate mail - they just look like jeans and a T-shirt...” or “But ref, the chain mail’s under the T-shirt.”

Money

Unless the character is unusually wealthy (c.f. Courtier) they are assumed to start with 10 silver coins. The monetary system uses ten coppers to a silver piece, and ten silvers are equivalent to one gold piece. A copper piece can buy you a pint of ale. A silver piece buys you a bottle of good spirits or a night in the common room of an inn. A gold piece could buy you a Healing Salve or the equivalent if one could be found upon an adventure.

Armour

Your armour acts as a buffer between you and the weapon hitting you. If you are hit on the armour you are wearing, the armour takes the damage rather than you, so a gauntlet offers no protection if you are hit on the upper arm. The Armour Value describes how much damage the armour can absorb. Once the armour has absorbed all the damage it can, you take the damage yourself.

For example, if you were wearing a leather vambrace (armour value 1) and were hit on that armour with a “Double!” the armour would become useless and you would take one point of damage.





Armour ValueSize

Example




1 1

Light — Furs, Leather, Studded Leather




2 2

Medium — Chain, Scale, Rigid Leather




3 3

Heavy — Heavy plate, Plate and mail





For armour to count as its full armour value, its phys rep should be made from an appropriate material e.g. metal for chain mail. If the phys rep is made from another material e.g. woollen chain mail, it counts as a light version of the armour, and its armour value is reduced by one. Otherwise, a player wearing metal mail would effectively be penalised, as the metal mail has real world encumbrance (unlike woollen mail).

Armour Size

The Size value for armour assumes a full set and the Size should be reduced as follows if this is not the case: Covers 1 location - 2 points; Covers up to half locations [or Body] - 1. A Plate helmet, therefore would be Size 1 [Size 3 (Plate) – 2 (1 location armoured)]. This modified Size value should be used for; the encumbering effect of armour and mana interference.

Encumbrance

Unfortunately armour slows down a character and may make tasks such as being stealthy or quickly reacting to danger more difficult. A character may wear Armour equivalent to their Endurance with no penalty. A character may choose to wear Armour of one Size greater than their Endurance but the character is then encumbered and may not use any skills that require dexterity and freedom of movement. These skills are; Ambidextrous, Assassin, Brawl, Duellist, Rogue and Stealth.

Armour Repairs

Field repairs may be made to armour, if you possess the proper tools and equipment e.g. needle and twine for leather or pliers and links for mail. Field repairs take 5 minutes per point of damage [see the skill Smithcraft(p§)].

Armour and Mana

Wearing armour and carrying weapons interferes with the flow of magic. Carrying inert, magically “dead” items disrupts the delicate fabric of mana. In effect, the armour Size of the heaviest armour the character is wearing is taken from the character’s mana total. Weapons reduce mana also, by the weapon’s Size -1. For example, if a Mage of Aura 3 was wearing a chain mail jerkin (armour Size 2) and carrying a broadsword, their mana total would be:

Aura 3 = 9 mana - 2 (chain mail) - 1 (broadsword Size 2 - 1 ) = 6 mana

This problem may be overcome by the Virtue Transcendence Warlock or by using specifically enchanted items.

Live Role-playing Weaponry

For LRP combat we use safe weaponry of two main types; gaffer tape and latex. Gaffer tape weaponry can be easily made yourself, but latex takes rather more time, care, patience and more expensive materials.

In LRP you can duplicate most weapons you’re likely to want. Rapiers and other very thin blades, however, are impossible. The thinnest safe blade out there is about 1” by 1/2”. Due to the nature of the fighting style, you would not be able to use a rapier properly in any case - stabbing is completely prohibited in LRP. If you have ever been a fencer, it is best to find an LRP reproduction of a sabre.

Flails and whips are also very difficult. The flexible part of the weapon must be short enough not to wrap around someone’s throat (a bit of a handicap for whips), and it must be made of a material that won’t damage people. Rope won’t do.

Specific Weapon Guidelines
One-handed
For weapons such as one-hand or hand-and-a-half swords, daggers, one-handed axes and the like, do not hit with the weapon pommel (but you can use it to parry). Aside from that, pretty much anything goes.
Staves, Spears and Great Weapons
Keep both hands on the haft of the weapon, making sure that one of your hands is always about half-way up the weapon haft i.e. don’t have both hands holding on at one end and wave the weapon about, you won’t be able to control it very well and someone may get hurt. If you’re not holding the weapon correctly, then your opponent can discount the blow. Long weapons can sometimes be too flexible, resulting in the weapon “whipping”. Again, this is dangerous and can be controlled by holding the weapon correctly.
Shields
Only use shields for blocking blows. On no account use them for charging into your opponent and knocking him or her over.
Thrown Weapons
Do not throw melee weapons. Thrown weapons must be specially made, and be coreless.
Bows
These should be of a restricted poundage. The current LRP standard is a maximum of 30lb at a 28” draw length.
Arrows and bolts
Again, bows and arrows have to be safe for LRP. By all means, fire into a melee. Try to avoid very short range - mind you, if you’re that close, you’ll probably end up dead.

Playing the Game

There are two forms of live-role-playing game - the adventure, and the freeform.

The Adventure

The adventure will generally take place at an outdoor site - occasionally indoors through corridors and sometimes caverns. This is entirely up to your GMs - what site they can get permission to use and what they want to run.

There are 3 types of people taking part in an adventure - about 3-12 players, slightly more monsters, and at least 2 GMs - a player GM and a monster GM. The monster GM will head off into the distance with the monsters and all the costumes and extra props, and start to set up the adventure. Meanwhile, you and your companions can get costumed up, learn your spells, and get ready to go.

Site Rules

There are generally a few rules to stick to for an LRP site, partly to keep things safe and fun and partly to avoid getting a bad name. As a couple of general rules, always take off the site what you take on with you, litter included; no intoxication (unless you’re free-forming in a pub) as combat whilst legless can be dangerous (and can also reduce onlookers to hysterics). Generally, use your common sense. Stick within site boundaries, if there are any. Don’t throw monsters into lakes, swamps or whatever. Don’t set the place on fire. And just behave in a way which will make the site owners let you back again.

The General Public

Treat these with a little bit of respect. After all, you were one, once. It can be fun to see people’s faces when you wander past in a strange costume, but try not to worry people too much.

Hopefully your LRP site should be fairly much away from the public. However, if you are in a park of some kind, or a local pub and some of the public wander past, it is a good idea to stop play with a “Time Out!” until they’re well out of the way.

Secondly, avoid combat around the public; unless you’re specifically doing a display - some of the weapons are realistic enough that people can panic and call the police or rugby tackle you “For the Public Good”.

If anyone asks what’s going on, be polite: tell them. Explain it a bit. You never know, you might have a convert. If they start being problematic, direct them to a GM or fetch one and they can have the pleasure of dealing with them.

Time In

Whether you know what the excuse is or not, sooner or later the GM will call “Time In!” After that, you are in character. You are doing whatever you are doing. Once the excuse has been worked out, you will “set off” on your journey - through forests, dungeons or labyrinths of corridor. The GM will no doubt enhance things with a few descriptions as you go: “For some strange reason, you can’t hear birdsong in the trees...” Feel free to become paranoid.

Encounters

And as you continue on your journey every so often you will meet people or come across situations. These are known as encounters. The monster players will be playing different NPCs - anything from ravenous undead to casual travellers on the road. Each monster player will play a number of different creatures during the game - don’t assume that just because Dave played a goblin earlier on, he’s still the same goblin now. If you have any questions about what your character can see (e.g. “Is Dave playing the same goblin as before?”) direct them to your player GM.

Of course, you have to deal with these encounters. Try talking to people - you won’t get anywhere if you don’t look for information. Role-play - eventually you’ll find the place or person that you’re looking for. Sometimes it’ll come to a fight. If it does, keep mental track of your injuries. After each fight, the GM may call “Time Out!” and then ask you all how badly hurt you are and total up mana. Finally, you’ll reach your goal - deliver the message, find out the information, recover the person or whatever. More often than not, you’ll have to trek back to the place you started - unless you were just journeying from place to place. You may have to face dangers on the way back, too.

The Freeform

In general, the freeform will take place in a fixed location - you won’t be journeying throughout a site, you will just stay in one place. In character, this place might be a tavern, a village hall, a king’s banqueting hall, a meeting of conspirators over a table in an attic above the guild of seamstresses. Out of character, it may be a room in a local pub, someone’s house, or a room in a university facility.

The number of players in a freeform also varies - we’ve had everything from 5 to about 50. Many events in Britain run on a freeform basis, and cater for anything from 4 to 4000 people.

A freeform may simply consist of a group of characters and a few GMs. More often than not, the GMs will be taking the part of NPCs - and there will be other NPCs played by monster players. But you won’t know who’s a “real” character or not, and to your character it should make no difference.

Gameplay

In a small-scale freeform you will rarely come across combat. Combat is particularly discouraged if you’re LRPing in a local pub or somewhere you’re likely to smash up. There may be a couple of poisonings and the odd stab in the back, but full combat should not happen. This is most often explained by an in character “house rule” that there be no weapons allowed in the tavern, the banqueting hall, or wherever you are. In most cases, a guard or an innkeeper will relieve you of your weapons as you enter. Of course, if you happen to smuggle in a dagger with you...As you’re not likely to get into combat, you don’t need a GM following you around keeping track of your hits and your mana. You’re only going to have to call GMs in for skill or spell use, and those will be rare.

So, in a freeform, just relax and play your character. Talk to people. Invent huge sections of your character’s history. Learn who the other characters are, and what they do - they may be useful to you. Have a drink with your in-character friends. Chat up an attractive barmaid. If you’re in a tavern in a city, try to hold onto the idea that out there is a bustling metropolis of medieval life - even if out-of-character you’re in a small country pub. Freeforms are often a good chance to be recruited for an adventure that your GMs are running in the near future. A merchant may be wandering around the tavern looking for some guards to help him travel north. The king’s daughter may be kidnapped while you sit at his table, and you’ll jump up and volunteer to lead a mission to rescue her. Freeforms are the most fun for those that prefer talking rather than hitting things.

Special Effects

This is a fantasy game system; so many things will happen in character that cannot be accurately reproduced out-of-character. Generally, these will be described to you by a handy GM or by the person causing the effect, and everyone just has to use their imagination.

Examples are - large-scale spell effects, illusions and the like; also GM descriptions when the landscape around you looks nothing like the landscape in the game. For instance, the GM shouts: “This ditch here isn’t a ditch, it’s a chasm filled with molten lava!” Prepare to act as if you’re hot. Or a mage shouts an unknown spell: “I call upon a Major Magic - to affect my foe - Glissade! Mass Strikedown! Everyone within 5’ of that tree fall over!” Cue everyone flinging themselves backwards and so on.

Use this method yourself when things in real life aren’t matching up to what’s in the game - for example, if you’re facing a fire elemental, don’t throw a bucket of water over him. Pick up your bucket, frantically fill it with water, and say to the monster (and the GM) “I’m pouring this bucket of water over you” - dont actually do it or you will end up with a very wet (and annoyed) monster player.

Combat

Fighting. It’s bound to happen. In every fantasy book you’ve ever read, in every fantasy film, there’s a bit of swinging a sword around. And in fantasy gaming, there’s a lot more of it.

So how do you get into it? How do you start a fight? Who may fight whom? Are there special rules about who may hit whom when...?

No. You fight as and when your character would - against one, two, perhaps many opponents, with or without help from friends. It may be unfair odds. It may result in your character dying. It can range from a scuffle in an alleyway between thieves, to a massive battle involving thousands of people.

Safe Fighting

The fighting style recommended here is one used in most of the LRP clubs and at all the large events in Britain: it is designed to minimise accidents without losing too much verisimilitude.

Rule 1: Pull Your Blows!

Remember that when you’re fighting an opponent in LRP, you are not trying to hurt them. You are simply trying to let them know that they’ve been hit. When you swing a weapon at someone, slow it right down as it reaches their body, so that you just “tap” them with the weapon. This is known as “pulling” the blow - by all means, do wild, impressive swings, flick the sword around your head, as long as you are in no danger of hitting someone.

If you don’t pull your blows, two things can happen, first of all, you may well hurt someone. Secondly, if you hit too hard consistently, you’re likely to make people angry, and they’ll feel it’s perfectly all right to forget about pulling their blows on you too. This game is supposed to be fun!

Rule 2: No Stabbing!

...as a length of fibreglass core through the ribcage often offends. It’s all very well saying that you know what you’re doing, that you won’t stab too far, that the weapon is perfectly under control - unfortunately, you have no idea that your opponent is suddenly going to jump at you, growling menacingly, right onto the controlled stab you just launched. It’s not a good idea. Don’t do it...The easiest way to replace a stabbing motion is to flick the blade past the foe and bring it in from the side, as a cut.

Rule 3: No Head Hits!

The head is a valid hit location. However, don’t actually aim for it. If you actually hit it by accident that’s too bad; you or your opponent has to take the hit. There are other locations to stay away from - fairly obviously, throat and groin.

Rule 4: No Body Contact!

Unless between consenting adults. Don’t grab your opponent’s weapon, don’t grapple or punch them. Body contact is allowed within the game - just not for the purposes of combat. Yes, this will limit you - particularly if, say, two guards are holding you. It is perfectly allowable for them to hold you, and you can try to break free; but don’t bang their heads together, or kick one in the groin and run for freedom. It’s fair enough - they’re not allowed to rugby tackle you if you do break free.

Rule 5: No buzz sawing!

The term “buzz-sawing” means holding your weapon right next to someone and hitting them very fast, repeatedly - this would not work with a real weapon, so it shouldn’t work in LRP. If you are buzz-sawed yourself, it is generally accepted practice to only count it as one hit.

Spells in Combat

Spells normally strike their target automatically, so if someone points at you, says something incoherent beginning with “I call upon a Minor magic” and ending with “Elemental Dart!” or a spell name of some kind, take any effect they give out. Any damage inflicted by a spell is normally torso damage. If the mage stops halfway through and swears loudly, it normally means that they’ve fumbled the spell vocals and so the spell has no effect. Often, the GMs will let you know any spell effects that may be used before you begin an adventure or freeform. If you do know what a spell does, react as soon as the spell vocals are finished, and don’t bother waiting for a call. All damaging spells are assumed to do magical damage.

Injury and Death

And now to the painful part - actually being hit...

The body is divided into six locations. These are: Head, Left Arm, Right Arm, Torso, Left Leg and Right Leg. Each of these locations has a number of hit points or hits equal to your Endurance. These represent the number of points of damage you can take on that part of the body before the next blow will wound the location. So, with an Endurance of 2, you would be able to take two points of damage on each location before the next blow will wound.

While you are on an adventure or playing a freeform, keep a mental note of how many hits you have per location. Each time you get into combat, you have to keep track of how many points of damage you have lost from each location - listen for the damage calls of “Double!” and so on.

If a location falls to -1, that location is wounded and useless. If it’s an arm, drop any weapon in that hand and act as though the arm is lifeless. If it’s a leg, you can’t use it to support any of your weight. If it’s your torso or your head, you’ll fall over and start to bleed out. If a location reaches -2 hit points then if it’s a limb, it has been hacked off - if it’s your head or torso, you are dead!

Bleeding To Death

If you are wounded in your head or torso (-1), or a limb has been chopped off (reduced to -2) then you will start to bleed to death. It takes one minute plus one minute per point of Endurance to bleed out and die. This bleeding can be stopped by magical healing or the Physician skill.

Role-playing

React to blows. What many role-players fail to realise is that being hit is a wonderful opportunity for role-playing. It may well get you killed but how many of us in reality could stand and carry on happily fighting when someone has taken a large chunk out of one of their limbs? Act out the pain - it’ll bring things to life for the other players.

“Drama” Hits

Something which you may choose to role-play is the “drama” hit. If a blow lands on you in such a way that, in real life, it would have been an extremely serious injury such as an accidental cut to the throat, or a blade dragged along under the side of the ribs you, as a good role-player, may elect to take more damage from that blow than normal. You don’t have to do it, but if you feel like being fair to an opponent, or you feel like a bit of melodrama, why not? It is suggested that, at the least, a weapon held to the the neck causes +1 damage.

Poisons and Diseases

The damage and debilitating effects from poisons and diseases may not be healed or cured until the poison or disease has been removed from the victim’s system. This may happen when the poison is purged with a Sweetbalm or cured by an Expert healer. Physician’s salves and healing potions cannot cure poison damage, and neither can a Proficient healer. Armour, including magical armour, does not apply to either ingested or inhaled poisons and diseases.

Subdual Damage

Subdual damage is non-lethal damage. Subdual damage may be inflicted by a number of sources: the city guard, sleeping potions, or overcasting spells. In most ways, subdual damage should be treated in the same way as normal damage. However, if a character takes subdual damage to the head or torso sufficient to reduce their hits in that location to -1 they are winded (conscious but knocked over) and at -2 and below, they fall unconscious. They do not bleed to death, or suffer other ill effects. Subdual damage heals very quickly it takes 5 minutes to heal 1 point of subdual damage. Half of the total subdual damage is lethal damage, though, and this may kill a character as normal and does not heal any more quickly than normal. Be careful if you are over-zealously beating someone with your fists, as you may kill them!

Death

During the course of an adventure, you may well die. This is an occasion for sadness amongst the other characters (if they liked you), and it means that you can never play the character again. It’s always a shame when this happens, because people put so much time, effort and imagination into making characters exist. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Think up another character. You’ll know that you’ve done a good job if the other characters discuss your death for many sessions to come. Your new character may even hear of it

If you die fairly early on in an adventure, there’s no need to be bored. Go and join the monsters - they’re always after more help.

Recovery

Characters recover one hit point plus one hit point per point of Endurance per week through natural rest and healing. For example, a character with Endurance 0 will recover 1 hit point per week, while a character with 2 points of Endurance will recover 3 hit points per week.

Combat Summary

Head/Torso hits = -1
The character is incapacitated and bleeding.
Limb hits = -1
The limb is unusable.
Head or Torso hits = -2 or less
The character is dead.
Limb hits = -2 or less
The limb is hacked off or smashed beyond repair. The character is rendered incapacitated & bleeding out.

The End of the Game

Finally, you’ll reach the end of the adventure or freeform and “Time Out!” You’ll have taken part in a small section of whatever the continuing story may be.

Spending Points

Experience points may be used to purchase new skills or improve the skills you already have. As to the choice of your new or improved skills - try to improve skills that you have actually used or have seen being used during your adventure. After all, the points represent experience - so you should be getting better at the things you’ve learned about.

If you would like to spend your experience points to gain a new Virtue you must discuss this with your Player GM along with a good in character explanation as to why this occurs. The default answer for an increase in a Virtue should be no without an epic in-game reason

Note your new skill point total and the new number that you have free in the Skill Points section of your character sheet.

Game Mechanics

Game Calls

During the game you will hear people use game calls - these are out-of-character and provide you, as a player, with game information. So, when Grud the barbarian attacks you with his two-handed sword screaming “Double!” its not a strange battle cry - the call is out-of-character and your character shouldn’t react to it (until he’s hit, when he sees that half his arm is missing!).

“Time In”

Only GMs will use this call. It effectively “starts” game time - everything done after this call should be in character.

“Time Out!”

The GM will use this call to stop game time - you are now out-of-character and may do what you like until they call “Time In!” again. When you hear this call make sure that you do stop, particularly in battle - it may mean someone is injured.

“Time Freeze!”

When you hear this call, freeze in the position you are in and close your eyes (some GMs will make you hum to stop you hearing anything). This phrase halts time for an instant to allow the GMs to sort something out, to have a creature suddenly appear out of thin air or for many other special effects. When you hear “Time In!” again, no time has passed for your character - continue playing on exactly as you were before the time freeze.

“Trundle!”

GMs use this call to indicate a need for the players to stay in one place and remain in character whilst the monsters prepare an encounter. In game, their characters continue to walk, but the players stay still, possibly pretending to walk.

“Medic!”

Important - if you hear this call, stop what you are doing. If you are in real life injured and in need of first-aid urgently, or if you notice anyone else injured, use this call and get word to a GM immediately. If you hear this call raised by someone else, let a GM know if one is near. Never use the cry “Medic!” in-character because it is often difficult to tell whether someone is acting an injury and screaming “Medic!” in character or if they are really injured.

“Strength 2!” etc.

Use this call when your character is performing some feat of strength - trying to wrench a door open, pull another character free of the mud or trying to break something. This lets the GM or the other creature involved know how strong your character is, and means that you don’t have to rely on your own physical strength.

“Pilfer...”

An Expert rogue may use this to take something from you without your character noticing. If you did not notice them touching the object they wish, or they did so in a manner that is not suspicious (shaking hands to get a ring), then they have it. If you know or suspect they are a rogue, then any action they perform may be counted as suspicious. Unless you possess Master keen senses, your character has no chance of noticing the pilfer: simply give the rogue what they are thieving off you. Wait an appropriate time before noticing it is gone - it is poor role-playing to notice two or three seconds after the theft without a very good reason.

“Search...”

Use this to let another creature (dead or alive) know that you are searching them. Rather than you having to perform a physical search, it is assumed that your character is doing so, and the creature will hand over anything of interest it has on it - this stops you ending up with another player’s car keys or used hankies. If a player or monster insists that you search them in real life, by all means, break out the rubber gloves!

“Are you dead?”

This might seem like a bit of a silly question. But how, as a player, can you tell if the monster lying at your feet is really dead or if he’s only pretending? In character, you’d probably feel his pulse. Hopefully in both cases, the monster player should still be alive. To get around this, you ask this question, and the creature must either answer “yes” or “no”. Beware, as some corpses get up when you turn your back

“Are you regenerating?”

This does much the same as “Are you dead?” Some creatures out there (shudder) don’t die properly, and their wounds close over and they rise to fight again. In character, you would see the wounds close. Out-of-character there is no way of telling, unless you have superb special effects - so you have to ask this question. Again, the creature must answer “yes” or “no”. (If anyone answers “maybe...” you have our permission to hit them.)

Signals

There are also a couple of symbols used as standard in LRP - these are as follows:

The “T” Symbol
To use this, make a T-shape with your hands in front of you. This symbol means “I am timed out” or “I am out-of-character”. Use this during play when you want to talk to another player or monster out-of-character and want to let him know that you are doing so. For example, a simple question like “What time is it?” changes its meaning completely depending on whether it’s you speaking or your character.
Hand In The Air
This symbol means “I am invisible, you cannot see me.” This might be for lots of reasons: it could really be an invisible creature, it might be a monster that suddenly appears on the horizon to speak to the GM out-of-character or to pick up a prop he’s forgotten. Whatever the reason, if you see someone doing this, do not react to them if you are in character.

Monsters and Non-player Characters

Many live role-players much prefer “monstering” (as it is called) to playing, because it gives you the chance to play lots of different creatures, characters and personalities rather than just one. You also get to make the players extremely paranoid, and to play everything from a lowly serf to an extremely powerful sorcerer.

Adventures

Monstering for a normal adventure means running around a lot from one encounter to the next, changing costumes quickly and making a lot of things up. You will be given an outline script of the adventure, detailing each encounter. The script won’t have set words to learn - you are given an idea of what to say and you have to make up the rest. You’ll (hopefully) also be given costume, props, weapons, masks and anything else you need by the monster GM.

When you play a monster in an encounter, you’ll only be given a very rough outline of it - perhaps its name, its race, a quick idea of personality, its hit points and any spells it may have. You’ll also be told the information that the GMs want you to impart, even if it’s only “Aaargh! Die, human scum!”

Once dead, you’ll end up lying on the ground somewhere pretending to be dead. At the end of such a fight, the GM will call “Time Out!” to work out how hurt the players are - at that point you can run off to the next encounter.

The key to being a good monster player is, again, improvisation. Although you haven’t spent three weeks making up a character background for the monster, you still have to portray a “real” character - so make it all up on the spur of the moment.

Don’t worry if what you invent is wrong, according to the GMs. Your character may well be lying, for his own ends. Or he may just be incorrect, or exaggerating. “Oh, yer honour, it had 5 legs, 50 teeth, and was at least 10 feet tall”. As long as you get across what the GMs want you to get across, it doesn’t matter. Some of what you invent may well be incorporated into the story as true. On the other hand, if you do know anything about the GM’s game world, use as much information as you think your character should know.

Monster Hits

Monster hit points can work a little differently from player hit points. With many creatures they are the same as player location hits, (e.g. 2 so hits per location) but some creatures are powered by magic or are not humanoid, so they simply have a number of “hits” - i.e. you get hit that many times and then you fall over.

You also don’t need to worry about mana as a monster, unless you’re a spell caster - in which case you’ll be given a number of mana or “spell points” and told which spells you can cast. As far as spells go, the monster GM should provide you with all the spell vocals you need. Remember that a level-1 spell will take 1 of your spell points, a level-2 spell will take 2 and so on, and just cast spells at them until you run out of “spell points”.

Questions

You may also be given some treasure or an item. Remember that if a character says, “search” to you, you must hand it over if you are incapacitated. (If you are still perfectly healthy as a monster and they say “search” to you without holding you down, they’re being silly.)

Also remember that if a character checks your pulse when you’re lying on the ground and says “Are you dead?” or “Are you regenerating?” you must answer truthfully with a “yes” or “no” (unless there is no way that the characters can tell - undead look dead pretty much all the time).

Freeforms

You’re much less likely to be asked to play an “Ugh, hit things” monster in a freeform. Indeed, many freeform don’t actually have any NPCs in at all. If you are an NPC in a freeform, just act it as you would any other character - hand over the information or make the demands that the GM wants you to, and furiously invent your history and background. Give the world that you’re playing in a bit of depth - discuss the latest trade goings, on or the weather, or whatever. Get the players into the atmosphere of the thing.

And finally...

To become a monster player, just volunteer. GMs always need monsters. If you played a character last week, volunteer to play a monster this week - it pays back the GMs and the other monsters for their hard work. It also gives you an insight into how the games are written, run, how the plot is developing, and may lead you into becoming a GM in your own right. Which is great fun, tiring, but fun...

Glossary of Game Terms

This glossary should include all game terms you are likely to hear during the course of a live role-playing session. Some are general live role-playing terms whilst others are combat specific.

In combat, the person being hit needs to know how many points of damage are being done and any special game effects. All combat calls are shouted while striking the opponent, either with a weapon, open hand, or spell. If no call is used with a weapon blow, assume that a single point of non-magical normal damage is being inflicted. An open hand by default does half subdual.

Several calls below have alternates listed beside them. If the alternate is shouted out, simply understand it to be identical with the main call. We do recommend the use of the main calls only, however - it makes things simpler. Damage calls can be combined - “Magic Double” and so on.

Adventure
One type of live role-playing session that often involves traipsing around the countryside encountering various creatures, places and Unfortunate Situations.
Attribute
There are three game attributes, Strength, Endurance and Aura. See the chapter on Attributes (p§)
Beguilement
A mind influencing magical effect.
“Blind 10 seconds!” etc.
May be shouted by a mage or anyone else who has done something to blind your character. Close both eyes, unless you can blind fight and are in melee, in which case close only one.
Character
A persona created by someone for use within the game - it may be a player or a monster.
Character Sheet
This is a record used by you and the GM to keep track of what skills and abilities your character has.
Concentration
The caster has to concentrate to maintain the effects of a spell and only slow movement and simple conversation is possible. The mage may not spell cast, run or engage in combat whilst concentrating. If the caster is hit, or successfully struck by a spell, then concentration is broken and the spell’s effects will end, even if they take no damage from the attack. A character may only concentrate for a maximum of 5 minutes.
Continual
A spell that imposes a permanent change that cannot be dispelled with magic. Continual spells always have a mundane means by which they can be removed.
“Death blow!” (alt. “Behead!” or “Throat Cut!”)
A player may call deathblow to kill a completely incapacitated creature with one strike. This may not work on all monsters, but should finish off most.
“Disarm!”
Only a duellist or owner of a specially crafted weapon may use this call. If this call is used and the caller hits a weapon with their weapon, then the weapon must be dropped if the caller’s skill is equal to or greater than the Weapon skill of the opponent. A Disarm may not be parried.
“Dodge!” (alt. “Dodging!”)
The person who makes this call has avoided the spell or blow and takes no effect.
“Double!” or “Triple!” etc.
This is how many points of damage being done per strike. If nothing is called then a single point of damage can be assumed.
Durable
Items which are durable may be repaired twice as often as usual on an adventure.
Enchanted
The item is permanently magical. The item cannot be dispelled (but the effects may be suppressed) and the item has a Magical defence equivalent to half the item’s value that must be overcome to destroy the item. Enchanted weapons deal magic damage and enchanted armour is hardened.
Encounter
This only applies to adventures. Generally, it simply means any meeting with anyone who is not one of the characters - a monster or NPC.
Encumbered
A character wearing armour of a Size greater than their Endurance or using a shield of Size greater than their Strength is considered encumbered. An encumbered character can not use any of the following skills: Ambidextrous, Assassin, Brawl, Duellist, Rogue and Stealth.
“Entangle!” (alt “Grapple”)
If you hear this call it means that you are held in place in some way, either physically or magically. If you have Strength equal to the Strength of the spell or person if being restrained, you can free yourself after 10 seconds of struggling, and if your Strength is greater, you can ignore the effect. If someone offers aid their Strength is added to yours to determine when you can break free.
“Ethereal!”
Your blade passes straight through the creature without harming it. Find a magical blade.
“Fatal!” (alt. “Crush!”)
The location hit is reduced to negative two immediately (remember to fall over).
Fatigued
A character wielding a weapon of a Size greater than their Strength will be fatigued and so deal only half normal damage.
Freeform
A type of live role-playing that is fairly static, and generally has fewer non-player characters and hardly any combat.
GM (Games Master)
One of the people who oversee the running of a particular event. They are in charge whilst the adventure is running, and their word is law.
Hardened
This term applies to armour. The armour will provide a degree of protection even against through attacks.
“Immune!” (alt. “No Effect!”)
The character is immune to the type of damage or spell being visited upon them. This call is used when that would be obvious to an observer - if the character pretends to succumb, then they need not call this out.
In Character
When you are “in-character”, you are playing your character - everything you say is your character talking, not you, and everything you do is what your character would do. You ignore the real world, and ignore anyone who is not “in-character”. This is also known as time-in.
“Knockback!”
The character is knocked backwards ten feet and is knocked from their feet, as Strikedown. To resist a knockback requires Strength greater than the strength of the knockback.
“Leg!” or “Arm!” etc.
The effect is being applied to the location specified. Normally used if a mage is using a spell against something other than your torso. (Maybe they want to take you alive...)
Mass
A mass spell or effect will affect anyone the caster wishes within a 10’ radius of the target. A mass effect means that the recipients are affected by a single casting of the same spell.
“Magic!” (alt. “Enchanted!”)
This is what spells and magical weapons do. There are certain creatures that can only be affected by magical damage.
Monster
This can mean ogre, giant or whatever, but more generally means anyone in a game who is not playing a character and is therefore under the control of a GM. These are also called Non Player Characters (NPCs).
Monster GM
The GM whose job it is to organise all the monsters and non-player characters, making sure that they are in the right place at the right time in the right costume and with the right props.
NPC
A character that is plot-controlled (Non-Player Character) rather than left to his own devices - also called a monster.
Out-of-Character
Relax. You are you again. This is known as time-out.
“Paralyse!”
You are held in place, normally by a magic effect. The effect is mental, and can’t be resisted by Strength. This effect normally lasts for 10 seconds.
“Parry!”
The blow has been turned aside by the special skill of the character and will be ignored by them.
“Piercing!”
The spell is indirect and may not be dodged or blocked with a shield, and is not stopped even by hardened armour.
Player
One of the stars of the show: a person playing a character who is one of the protagonists of an adventure or freeform.
Player GM
The GM whose job it is to follow the players around, keep track of their characters’ state of health, and deal with any in-game situations that they need to. They are also a walking rulebook (or at least pretend to be whilst really making up the rules on the spot) and their word is (mostly) law. This person is rarely in character (they may put on a costume and monster for special encounters or monsters in some adventures or freeforms), and everything you say to them is treated as out-of-character.
Plot Team
The people who create and maintain the plot and world that the adventures are enacted within. They are in charge of all things that take place outside a particular adventure or freeform (where that event’s GMs words are law). Often they are all GMs themselves. All rules queries; plot decisions, adventure ideas, and anything else concerning the running of events revert to them ultimately. The Plot Team can, in extremis, retroactively change adventures, ruling that they never took place, or took place differently. This has not happened yet in Nest history.
Progressive
A more powerful version of the spell may be cast as the spell casters skill develops. A progressive spell may also be chosen as a clerical prayer and the higher versions of the spell become available when the prerequisite for that spell level are met. Characters that have a progressive spell as an Innate Gift automatically count as Magically Gifted towards buying the higher levels of that spell only.
“Silver!” etc.
The blade is made from a substance other than steel. This only needs to be called if you suspect your foe is vulnerable to that substance, like a werewolf with silver or a vampire and a wooden stake.
Strike
A directed spell - a physical spell that emanates from the caster and may be dodged.
“Strikedown!”
The character is knocked from his or her feet (at least both knees on the floor). This may be achieved by some spells and huge monsters.
“Stun!”
The character is left reeling for 10 seconds and can take no positive action, although they can still instinctively parry blows - not using the Parry ability. A stunned character may be Ambushed (see Assassin - p§).
“Subdual!”
This damage is designed to render the target unconscious - similar to clubbing someone over the back of the head. Unless the character has Brawl they will be dealing half normal damage when subduing. A subdued character will remain unconscious for 5 minutes(ish), basically the length of a battle. Half the subdual damage dealt will remain as “real” damage.
Suppressed
A permanently enchanted item may have its magical ability suppressed for 5 minutes if a dispel is cast on the wielder or the item. After five minutes the item will work again as normal.
Tabletop Role-playing
The standard “Dungeons & Dragons” style of role-play, where people sit around a table using their imagination for everything rather than acting them out.
“Through!”
The weapon ignores armour. This could be due to a spectral blade, a magical enchantment or striking from surprise etc.
Total Concentration
As concentration but the spell caster may not move or speak.
“Venom!” (alt. “Poison!”)
The damage inflicted is, at least in part, poison damage. The injury is much more difficult to heal than normal and must be first cleansed by use of the Purify spell or Sweetbalm.
“Void!”
This is short hand used in a very few spells. Damage of this kind is physical but cannot be healed except with magic, which heals it as if it were poisonous. Void damage inflicted by Greater spells and effects counts as a Greater poison, all other void damage counts as a Lesser poison. Tough does apply to the damage. The strike that inflicts the damage is piercing and magical.
Vulnerable
If struck by a weapon made of that material, the character takes one more point of damage. If the material touches the character (for example, a werewolf takes a silver coin) the character will take one point of damage to the location that is being touched — this damage ignores armour and other protections. If a spell is cast upon a character who is vulnerable to that spell then the spell counts as one level higher to ward against and, if a damaging spell, the character will also take one extra point of damage.
World (or Game World)
The setting for all the adventures overseen by the Plot Team. They normally create the World, with all of its ingredients and intrigues, decided in clandestine meetings where to eavesdrop is to perish
Wounded
The character is severely injured in a location and may not use it (at -1 hit points). If a character is wounded in the head or torso then they will begin to bleed to death.

Appendix A
Character Archetypes for Quick Play

Creating a character very quickly is simple. First, just decide the general sort of character that you would like to play and find the closest match amongst the archetypes. Then simply copy down the details for the archetype, picking from the choices given. Easy! You’re ready to go in less than a minute. If you would like to rework some of the elements of the character, that’s fine, just check with the Player GM.

Some character archetypes give no weapon skills; remember that everyone is proficient in Short Weapons at no points cost unless they are Scholarly.

The archetypes are also a good resource for ideas about new Virtues and Flaws, or as “off the peg” non-player characters.

Remember that the even starting players are proto-Heroes or Villains and hence significantly more skilled than normal, it is usually wise to remove at least 5 points worth of Attributes, Skills, or Virtues from normal NPCs.

Archer

Strength 2
Endurance1(2)
Aura 0
Virtues

Tough (3)

Flaws

Code of Honour - Heroic (rights wrongs, cannot stand to see innocents suffer) (2)
Enemy (an offended Noble) (2)
Mental flaw - Overconfidence(1)
Reputation (Brigand/Champion of the poor) (0)
OR
Enemy (the watch) (2)
Reputation (out and out brigand) (3)

Skills

Expert Weapon Skill - Bow or Crossbow (3), Keen Senses (3), Rogue (1), Stealth (1), Survival (1), Weapon skill - Any Melee (1)

Recommended costume and props

Leather Armour, Bow or Crossbow and other weapon, warm cloak (Lincoln Green?).

Assassin

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 0
Virtues

Ally - group the Dark Wheel, or Noble friend(s) (2)

Flaws

Limited - Magically dead (1)
Mental - Cruel (2)
Enemy (the watch) (2)

Skills

Expert Ambush (3), Rogue (3), Stealth (3), Brawl (1), Courtier (1), Keen senses (1) Scholar (1) Weapon skill - Any Melee (1) Weapon skill - Thrown (1)

Recommended costume and props

Dark clothing, Leather Armour, concealed dagger and vial of poison,

Barbarian

Strength 2
Endurance2
Aura 0
Virtues

Resistance - Spellward(1)

Flaws

Physical - (missing finger) (1)
Code of Honour - Heroic (rights wrongs, cannot stand to see innocents suffer) (2)
Mental - Mistrusts Magic (will not voluntarily allow spells to be cast on him) (2).

Skills

Expert Berserk (3), Expert Smite (3), Keen Senses (1), and Survival (1) Weapon skill - any Melee (1)

Recommended costume and props

Hides or leather Armour, Great weapon, warm cloak, and headband.

Bard

Strength 2
Endurance1
Aura 0
Virtues

Ally - Patron (2)

Flaws

Enemy (satirised noble) (2)
Code (the show must go on) (1)
Mental - Overconfidence (2)

Skills

Expert Bard (3), Expert Courtier (3), Duellist (1) Keen Senses (1), Rogue (1), Scholar (1), Weapon skill - Sword and Sabre (1)

Recommended costume and props

Musical instrument, bright clothes for performing in.

Dwarven Runesmith

Strength 2
Endurance2
Aura 0
Virtues

Runesmith - The characters Smithcraft skill levels counts as Wizard levels requirement for crafting enchanted weapons and armour only (3)
Item Dwarven Mail (1)

Flaws

Code - Heroic (2)
Physical One eye(2)
Mental Curmudgeon (1)

Skills

Expert Smith (3), Scholar (1) Weapon skill Axe and Mace (1)

Recommended costume and props

Chainmail, Warhammer, beard

Elven Blade Dancer

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 1
Virtues

Innate Spell - Premonition (1)
Item - Mithril Mail (2)

Flaws

Code - Chivalry (3)
Mental - Arrogance (1)
Vulnerable - Bardic effects (1)

Skills

Expert Duellist (3) Expert Weapon skill Sword & Sabre (3), Ambidexterity (1) Keen Senses (1) Meditation (1) Scholar (1)

Recommended costume and props

Shiny Mail, a pair of Short swords, pointed ears.

Healer

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 2
Virtues

Mageborn - Channelling, (1)

Flaws

Limited - Scholarly (1)
Mental - Trusting (1)
Code of Honour - Oath of Healing (3)

Skills

Expert Channel Healing (3), Expert Physician (3), Meditation (1) Scholar (1)

Recommended costume and props

White robes, bandages.

Knight

Strength 2
Endurance2
Aura 0
Virtues

Reputation (as a just and fair knight) (1)

Flaws

Code of Honour Chivalry (3)
Limited - Mundane (1)
Mental - Hatred (for one specific race of beings on the fringes of society) (1)

Skills

Expert Weapon skill - Any Melee (3), Courtier (1), Inspire (1), Iron Will (1), Smithcraft (1), Weapon skill - Shield (1)

Recommended costume and props

Weapons, plate or chain Armour with helm, shield, tabard with heraldic sign on it, cloak.

Mage

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 2
Virtues

Mageborn - Mage (2)

Flaws

Limited - Scholarly (1)
Mental - Arrogant (2)
Enemy (a rival mage) (2)

Skills

Expert Mage - Sphere of choice (3), Artificer (1), Mage - Sphere another (1), Meditation (1), Scholar (1)

Recommended costume and props

Robes, magical accoutrements

Mercenary

Strength 2
Endurance2
Aura 0
Virtues

Language - additional one (1)

Flaws

Physical (limp from old battle wound) (2)
Mental - Avarice (1)
Reputation (Greedy and Violent) (2)

Skills

Expert Weapon skill - Any Melee (3), Berserk (1), Keen senses (1), Rogue (1), Smite (1), Weapon skill - Shield or Any Missile (1)

Recommended costume and props

Weapons, patchwork Armour, Shield or Missile weapon, cloak, and concealed weapon.

Paladin (Templar)

Strength 2
Endurance1
Aura 1
Virtues

Magical Aptitude - Channelling (1)
Transcendent - Warlock (1)
Faith (of God) (1)

Flaws

Code of Honour - Paladin (3)
Enemy (An unholy creature) (2)

Skills

Channel Spirit (1), Inspire (1), Iron Will (1), Scholar (1), Weapon skill - Sword and Sabre (1), Weapon Skill - Shield (1)

Recommended costume and props

Weapons, Chain Armour with Helm, Shield, Tabard (white with Holy symbol on), and Holy symbol.

Physician

Strength 1
Endurance2
Aura 0
Virtues

Resources - gain 1 item per adventure as Expert Courtier (2)

Flaws

Code of Honour - Physician Oath (2)
Limited - Scholarly (1)
Mental - Longwinded and verbose (2)

Skills

Expert Physician (3), Expert Alchemist (3), Expert Scholar (3), Iron Will (1) Keen senses (1)

Recommended costume and props

Well to do clothing, black bag of potions and elixirs and bandages

Priest

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 2
Virtues

Magical Aptitude - Prayer (2)
Transcendent - Warlock (1)

Flaws

Priest: Code of Honour: (of God) (3)
Enemy - of the Faith (2)

Skills

Deity Favoured Skill (1), Expert Prayer (3), Scholar (1), Weapon skill - Any (1)

Recommended costume and props

Weapon Size 1, Chain Armour, Tabard (with holy symbol on), and Holy Symbol

Ranger

Strength 2
Endurance1(2)
Aura 0
Virtues

Tough (adds one hit per location) (3)

Flaws

Code - Protect travellers in the wild (2)
Enemy - (noble encroaching on wilderness) (2)
Mental - Hatred (one specific race on the fringes of society) (1)

Skills

Expert Survival (3), Expert Keen Senses (3), Physician (1), Stealth (1), Weapon skill - Any Melee (1), Weapon skill - Any Missile (1)

Recommended costume and props

Weapons, Leather Armour, long and warm cloak, clothing in wilderness colours.

Swashbuckler

Strength 2
Endurance1(2)
Aura 0
Virtues

Ally (noble patron or person of influence) (1)
Tough (3)

Flaws

Code of Honour - Duellist (1)
Enemy (a rival swordsman) (2)
Physical - Missing One Eye (2)

Skills

Expert Duellist (3), Ambidexterity (1), Brawl (1), Courtier (1), Keen Senses (1), Rogue (1), Weapon Skill - Sword & Sabre (1)

Recommended costume and props

Fine clothing, leather armour, weapons, foppish cloak, locket with a picture of one’s true love within.

Thief

Strength 2
Endurance1
Aura 0
Virtues

Thievery (as expert Courtier without knowledge about the nobility) (2)
OR
Magic item [stolen?] - The Cloak of Shadows (Invisibility once per day) (2)

Flaws

Enemy (Rival thieves) (2)
Reputation (as a daring and flamboyant thief) (2)
Mental - Impulsive (will frequently act or speak without thinking) (1)

Skills

Expert Rogue (3), Expert Stealth (3), Ambush (1), Duellist (1) Scholar (1) Weapon skill - Sword & Sabre (1), Weapon skill - Thrown (1)

Recommended costume and props

Leather armour, weapons, dark clothing and cloak, rope, bag for swag.

Warlock

Strength 2
Endurance1
Aura 1
Virtues

Mageborn - Mage (2)
Transcendent - Warlock (1)

Flaws

Limited - Dilettante (2)
Code - Can never refuse a challenge (1)
Mental - Haughty (1)
Physical - Scarred (1)

Skills

Mage - Any Sphere (1), Mage - Another sphere (1), Artificer (1), Scholar (1), Smithcraft (1), Weapon skill - Any melee (1)

Recommended costume and props

Arms and armour with exotic markings, and sigils. Armour should be up to Size 2 (Mail).

Warrior monk

Strength 1
Endurance1
Aura 1
Virtues

Magical Aptitude - Channelling (2)

Flaws

Code - Pacifist (will only fight to protect self or others) (2)
Enemy (rival warrior-monk of equivalent power) (2)
Mental - Inscrutable (1)

Skills

Expert Brawl (3), Channel Glyph (1), Channel Healing (1), Channel Spirit (1), Duellist (1), Iron will (1), Meditation (1), Scholar (1) Weapon skill - Sword and Sabre (1)

Recommended costume and props

Oriental clothing and tattoos or padded armour [including head] and katana