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© 1994 by Scott Gray and Sharon Tripp. These pages may not be reproduced for profit. They may be copied, provided they are not altered and the authors' names remain attached.

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Character Creation

The first thing to do when making a character, is to have a concept. What sort of person is the character? What are her/his skills, and weaknesses? What does s/he act like, or think about?


Health points. Characters start with a base of ten health points. Players may buy benefits or disadvantages to start the game with more or less, or gain or lose points during the course of play. The maximum health a human may have is fifteen points. If a character has zero permanent health points, the character is comatose. If the character has less than zero permanent health points, that character is dead.

Damage to health represents direct damage to the body -- losing blood, being battered, etc.

Fatigue points. Characters start with a base of five fatigue points. The recover quickly ability gives the character an extra fatigue point for each time the ability is taken. The exhaust easily disadvantage subtracts one fatigue point for each time the disadvantage is taken. The maximum fatigue a human may have is fifteen points. If a character has zero (or fewer) permanent fatigue points, the character is comatose.

Damage to fatigue represents tiring -- losing energy and speed from dodging blows that would otherwise have done health damage. Fatigue is restored to full after ten minutes of rest, unless a particular effect (fatigue-effecting poison, etc.) prevents the points from regenerating normally.

If a character is struck by a poisoned weapon, the poison has no effect unless the weapon does health damage.

Hit points. The term "hit points" is a generic term for the total of a person's health and fatigue points.


Characters usually start with 10 brass farthings. Some character will have more or less, depending upon the character's benefits or disadvantages. Some GMs may vary the starting wealth.

To begin game with equipment requires expenditure of starting money. A starting character may purchase equipment at half the standard logistics prices. Some items not normally available through logistics might be available to a character just coming into game. Having access to such items depends upon the character's history.


Characters start with abilities and skills purchased with their initial points. A starting character receives twenty-five ability points and eighteen skill points. More ability points can be gained by taking disadvantages, and more skill points by trading in ability points. Additional ability points and skill points are accumulated as the game progresses.


Characters in Dominion can learn in two ways; gaining abilities and learning skills. Abilities represent highly trained reflexes, and become more difficult to gain over time. Skills are always learned at the same rate, without limit. They are generally techniques which interact with a character's abilities -- such as particular combat maneuvers, medical techniques, poisons, or spells.

Following is a list of abilities. The number to the left of each ability name is the point cost of the ability. Along the right hand side are the following codes:

R: required. If an ability is required, it must be purchased before the ability it is prerequisite for can be purchased.

S: stackable. The ability may be taken multiple times.

U: upgradable. If an ability is listed as upgradable, points spent on it can later be reapplied toward a different ability (usually a more powerful form of the same ability).

Example: Strong blow is upgradable to strength. Henry has purchased strong blow twice for his character, Jake. If he later decides to purchase strength, he need only spend 14 points to get strength, rather than 18. Jake will no longer have the strong blow abilities, the points having been reapplied to his strength ability.

The ability costs listed are for the Emeth campaign; the GM might alter the costs for different campaigns (for example, in a high fantasy campaign magery might be significantly cheaper and firearms not exist at all).

Ability List

Passive defense abilities

1   Recover quickly                                                      S
2   Wear force 2 armor                               U: wear force 3 armor
6   Wear force 3 armor


2   Small melee weapon                          U: one-handed melee weapon
4   One-handed melee weapon
2   Two-handed melee weapon                     R: one-handed melee weapon
2   Entangling weapon                           R: one-handed melee weapon
2   Off-hand weapon                    R: small or one-handed melee weapon
4   Weaponless combat
2   Missile weapon
3   Firearms
1   Thrown weapons

Damage Bonuses

2   Strong blow (.1 strength)                               S, U: strength
18  Strength                                                             S
1   Small melee weapon proficiency              S, U: sm melee wpn mastery
                                           or one-handed melee proficiency
1   Melee* proficiency                                 S, U: melee mastery
1   Weaponless combat proficiency          S, U: weaponless combat mastery
1   Missile proficiency                              S, U: missile mastery
1   Firearms proficiency                            S, U: firearms mastery
1   Thrown proficiency                                S, U: thrown mastery
6   Small weapon mastery                               S, U: melee mastery
10  Melee* mastery                                                       S
6   Weaponless combat mastery                                            S
8   Missile mastery                                                      S
8   Firearms mastery                                                     S
6   Thrown mastery                                                       S
4   Doubled attack, small weapon            S, U: doubled attack melee wpn
6   Doubled attack, melee* weapon                                        S
6   Doubled attack, weaponless                                           S
4   Doubled attack, missile weapon                                       S
8   Doubled attack, firearms                                             S
4   Doubled attack, thrown weapon                                        S

NOTE:  A character may not purchase any proficiencies, masteries,
or doubled attacks with a weapon, unless the character has base
ability with the weapon.

Vital Blows

2   Small weapon vitals hit               S, U: small weapon vitals attack
                                                       or melee vitals hit
3   Melee* vitals hit                            S, U: melee vitals attack
4   Weaponless vitals hit                  S, R: weaponless combat mastery
                                               U: weaponless vitals attack
2   Thrown vitals hit                           S, U: thrown vitals attack
5   Small weapon vitals attack
10  Melee* vitals attack
10  Weaponless vitals attack
5   Thrown vitals attack

NOTE:  A character may not purchase any vitals hits or vitals
attacks with a weapon, unless the character has base ability with
the weapon.

*Melee proficiency, melee mastery, doubled attack melee, melee
vitals hit, and melee vitals attack can be applied to any small
melee weapon, one-handed melee weapon, two-handed melee weapon or
entangling weapon.

Special maneuvers

3   Disarm*/grip                                       R: melee mastery, S
1   Overbear                                               S up to level 5 
4   Shatter* **                                         R: melee weapon, S
4   Tangle arm                                     R: entangling weapon, S

*A character may not call "disarm" and/or "shatter" more than
twice against one opponent over the course of one battle.

**A character must have at least 1.0 strength to use the shatter

Defensive maneuvers

4   Dodge                                                               S*
3   Parry                                              R: melee weapon, S*
3   Master defense

*No character may use more than five dodges or parries within one
battle.  The character may use as many grips as (s)he possesses.


7   Counterfeiting
3   Disarm/set traps                                           U: engineer
1   Angled lockpicks                                       S up to level 2
1   Bendable lockpicks                                     S up to level 2
1   Curved lockpicks                                       S up to level 2
1   Diminutive lockpicks                                   S up to level 2
2   Lockpick mastery                                       S up to level 4
4   Pickpocket


8   Escape
5   Trail
5   Waylay*

*To use waylay, the character must have at least .3 strength.


4   Alchemy
2   Botany
5   Engineer
3   First aid
6   Chirurgeon                                                R: first aid
1   Geology
n   Research (choose area)               R: base ability in most instances
2   Zoology
1   Six skill points                                                     S


1   Level 1 healing                           R: empathy, U: lvl 2 healing
3   Level 2 healing                           R: empathy, U: lvl 3 healing
6   Level 3 healing                                             R: empathy
2   Fleshshaping                                                R: empathy
3   Ignore light wounds                          U: ignore moderate wounds
6   Ignore moderate wounds                          U: ignore heavy wounds
10  Ignore heavy wounds        

Career abilities

3   Brokering
n   Craft                                             requires GM approval
10  Trade


3  Berserker
5  Empathy
2  Healthy                                                               S
5  Magery, level one
6  Magery, level two
7  Magery, level three
8  Magery, level four
10 Magery, level five
14 Magery, level six
4  Revenue, first level                                           
1  Revenue, additional levels                                R: revenue, S
1  Rumormonger                                                           S
1  Savings                                                               S
6  Sixth sense
12 Strength (identical to strength ability)                              S
n  Unknown benefit (set point cost)
n  Special                                            requires GM approval


6  Bad luck                                           requires GM approval
12 Can't learn
4  Can't read
15 Can't read or learn
1  Exhaust easily                                               S up to 4x
1  Impoverished
4  Low pain threshold
n  Mage disadvantages                                            R: magery
4  Short attention span
1  Unhealthy                                                   S: up to 4x
n  Unknown disadvantage (set point cost)
n  Special                                            requires GM approval

Ability Descriptions

Some abilities are listed as "per battle." For each time the ability is purchased, the character may use it once in a given battle. Such abilities "reset" after ten minutes of rest (the same conditions under which fatigue regenerates).

Passive Defense Abilities

Recover quickly. This increases the fatigue level of the character by one fatigue point. Stackable, though no character may have more than 15 fatigue points total.

Wear force 2 armor. Allows a character to wear chain mail or equivalent. The escape, waylay, or pickpocket abilities, or any skills which have any of these abilities as a prerequisite, cannot be used while in metal armor.

Wear force 3 armor. Allows a character to wear plate armor or equivalent. The escape, waylay, or pickpocket abilities, or any skills which have any of these abilities as a prerequisite, cannot be used while in metal armor.

Weapon Abilities

Small melee weapon. Allows a character to do the base weapon damage with a dagger, small stick or any other weapon shorter than 24", apart from projectiles (arrows, thrown weapons, etc.).

One-handed melee weapon. Allows a character to do the base weapon damage with a single one-handed weapon (sword, mace, dagger, etc.), or a staff. (However, staves must be wielded with two hands, following the safety guidelines for staves.)

Two-handed melee weapon. Allows a character to do the base weapon damage with a two-handed sword, polearm, zweihander, two-handed axe, etc.

Most weapons of this class require a certain amount of base strength to use; from .1-.2 (each "strong blow" is the equivalent of .1 strength) or perhaps an entire point of strength. Strength or strong blow bonuses necessary to wield the weapon are not expended in using the weapon, and may still be applied to damage.

Entangling weapon. Allows the character to do base damage with whips, flails, and other flexible weapons. It also allows the character to wield non-damaging weapons such as nets. Entangling weapons are generally designed to do less actual damage in combat, but can ensnare opponents, and allow a higher initial subduing strike.

Nets will never do any direct damage, but may be used to subdue. Neither strength nor strong blow bonuses may be applied to leather weapons. Overbear cannot be used when subduing with leather weapons or netting.

Out of game, for safety reasons, one may not use an entangling weapon to actually pin, trap, or entangle an opponent. In order to represent such moves ingame, one must use the "tangle arm" ability, or use the weapon to subdue.

Off-hand weapon. The character may use a small weapon, entangling weapon, or shield in his/her off-hand. Appropriate damage bonuses (mastery, proficiency, strength, etc.) may be applied to the off-hand weapon. Shields may not be used offensively.

Weaponless combat. The character may use two dagger-sized weapons with red-colored duct tape to represent his/her arms or legs in combat (these are referred to as "weaponless combat reps"). A person may not parry or block with a weaponless combat rep -- if an opponent's weapon hits the red weapon, the person using weaponless combat takes damage.

Weaponless combat masteries add to subduing; the first subduing hit will be called as (1 + weaponless combat masteries + character's strength bonus), the second will be called as (2 + weaponless combat masteries + character's strength bonus), etc.

When using weaponless combat, damage is called as "(damage) fist" or "(damage) kick" or "(damage) bite" as appropriate. Weaponless combat ability does a base of one point damage.

Missile weapon. Allows a character to do the base weapon damage with bows, composite bows, and crossbows. These weapons do their damage straight to health. Strength or strong blows cannot be applied to bow or crossbow, although composite bows allow these bonuses to be applied.

Firearms. Allows a character to do the base weapon damage with a blunderbuss or arquebus. Like missile weapons, these do damage straight to health, and proficiency/mastery is applied to the body damage. Strength and strong blow bonuses do not apply to damage.

Thrown weapons. This allows a character to do the base weapon damage with thrown rocks, thrown daggers, or other thrown weapons.

Damage Bonuses

Strong blow. This ability adds plus one to damage for one attack each battle. If bought twice, it adds plus one for two attacks each battle, not +2 for one attack. A character cannot apply strong blow bonuses to weapon damage unless (s)he has base ability with the weapon being used.

For certain tests of strength (including minimum strength levels to use certain weapons), strength is measured with a decimal -- each strong blow adding .1 to the character's level of strength.

Strength. This ability gives the character one point of strength. Each point of strength adds plus one to damage. A character cannot apply strength bonuses to weapon damage unless (s)he has base ability with the weapon being used.

Certain abilities or tasks require a minimum strength to use or attempt. A character must have some strength in order to waylay, use a two-handed sword, or break a door or lock.

Proficiency. This ability adds plus one to damage for one attack each battle with the particular type of weapon. If bought twice, it adds plus one for two attacks, not +2 for one attack.

Mastery. This ability adds plus one to all blows made with one type of weapon.

Doubled attack. The user can call double the damage for one blow. This is not usable when subduing or with attacks which do a standardized amount of damage (such as break or sever limb), but may double any other attack, including attacks that do damage straight to health. By expending two uses of this ability, the character may do four times as much damage, by expending three, the character may do eight times as much damage, etc. Any doubling/quadrupling/etc. is calculated after all other bonuses or minuses to called damage are calculated. This ability is usable once per battle for each time taken.

Vital Blows

Vitals hit. The user may, once per battle, call body damage with his/her weapon. The damage done wih this blow is one point less than normal (a person who normally calls three steel may, for one strike, call two body steel). This blow (after being reduced by armor) will go straight to health. Strong blow, proficiency, mastery, or other bonuses may be added to damage when the hit is called.

Vitals attack. The user may call body damage with his/her weapon, doing one point of damage less than normal (a person who normally calls three steel may, at will, call two body steel). This blow (after being reduced by armor) will go straight to health. Strong blow, proficiency, mastery, or other bonuses may be added to damage.

Special Maneuvers

Disarm/grip. Once per battle, a person with this ability may call "disarm" when striking an opponent's weapon with a melee weapon. The weapon is then knocked from the opponent's hand, and (s)he may not touch the weapon for five seconds.

The reverse "grip" ability may be called instead of the disarm. Grip can be used to counter an opponent's disarm attempt or shatter attempt.

Note that no character may call "shatter" and/or "disarm" more than twice against a single opponent during one battle.

Overbear. A character with this ability may add the level of overbear skill to his/her initial strike in an attempt to subdue. So, if a character has three levels of overbear ability, his/her first strike to subdue will be "subdue (strength + 4)," then "subdue (strength + 5)," etc., rather than "subdue (strength + 1)." This ability is not expended -- it always adds to the initial call for subduing.

Shatter. Once per battle, a character with this ability may attempt to shatter an opponent's weapon in combat. The character should call "shatter," and strike his/her opponent's weapon with his/her own. Some weapons are not usable with the shatter ability (see the weapon list), and some weapons may not be shattered by this means.

Shatters are dodgeable but not parryable without a shield, and may be stopped with the "grip" ability. If a person uses a parry with a shatterable shield to counter a shatter, the shield is shattered instead of whatever was struck; if the shield is unshatterable, the shatter is parried.

Note that no character may call "shatter" and/or "disarm" more than twice against a single opponent during one battle.

Tangle arm. Once per battle (per time taken), a character with this ability may attempt to ensnare an opponent's arm, keeping it from being used. If the person using the tangle arm ability drops the entangling weapon or the entangling weapon is broken, the entangled opponent is freed. An entangled person cannot leave the combat, and the player of the entangled character must hold onto the other end of the weapon with the tangled hand, to show that (s)he is currently entangled. Tangle arm may only be used with entangling weapons. Tangle arm should be called as "tangle [right/left] arm." Tangle arm does no damage to the entangled character.

Leather or net entangling weapons may be cut by a bladed weapon, or broken free of by the victim if (s)he has a strength of three or greater. Any character who strikes a taut, non-metal entangling weapon (one which has entangled its victim) with a bladed weapon can be assumed to have cut the weapon.

Tangle arm may be dodged, but not parried. Grip ability is no defense against tangle arm.

Unlike disarm and shatter, there is no limit on how many tangles may be used against a single opponent.

Defensive Maneuvers

No more than five defensive maneuvers can be used in one battle.

Dodge. Once per battle the user may ignore a single blow. The player must call "dodge" to alert his/her opponent that the character avoided the blow though the player did not. Dodge will prevent the effects of a disarm, shatter, or tangle arm attempt, as well as damage. Dodges cannot prevent subduing.

The dodge ability can be used against melee weapons, entangling weapons, weaponless combat, or thrown weapons. To evade arrows, bolts, gunshot, or other fired projectiles requires the use of two dodges. The character must see the blow coming to be able to dodge it -- dodge ability does not protect against surprise attacks.

A character may choose instead to call "dodge-intercept" to take a blow that hit someone else. Ingame, the character is jumping in front of the person for whom the damage was intended, and taking the force of the damage him/herself, straight to health, bypassing fatigue. Any aimed effects are ignored -- anything which is directed at a particular area, such as an intrinsic killing blow, break limb, or other such attack. Non-aimed effects such as poison affect the interceptor.

Example: Wynn sneaks up on Treina, and calls "10 steel." The attack caught Samantha (Treina's player) by surprise, and so Treina is unable to dodge. Josh, who plays Ishmael, notices Wynn at the last moment -- he does not have enough time to warn Treina. Josh calls "dodge-intercept," representing Ishmael heroically throwing himself in the way of the blow. The attack hits Ishmael for 10 body steel, knocking him unconscious. Treina sees all this, and bolts. Wynn gets in one more strike at Treina before she runs off, which Treina, since she is not caught by surprise this time, is able to dodge.

Dodge-intercept may only be done in situations where the interceptor could have reasonably done so; not if the character being protected is ten feet away, or has been caught in a chokehold, etc. As with normal dodges, the character using the dodge-intercept must see the blow coming. Dodge-intercept may only be used in situations where a single dodge would suffice to avoid a blow -- a character may not do a dodge-intercept to block missile weapons or firearms. Dodge-intercept may not be used to block disarm, shatter, or tangle arm attempts, or any other aimed attacks which do no physical damage.

Parry. Once per battle, the user may call "parry" to block any one blow. The character must have a melee weapon or a shield, and the ability to use it, to use a parry. Parries cannot be used to defend against waylays or other attacks which take the player (and thus the character as well) by surprise, or certain creature abilities. The character cannot parry missile or thrown weapons unless (s)he has a shield. Firearms cannot be parried.

The disarm ability can be countered with a parry. Shatters are never parryable without a shield. If a person uses a parry with a shatterable shield to counter a shatter, the shield is shattered; if the shield is unshatterable, the shatter is parried. Parries cannot prevent subduing, nor may they be used to avoid the tangle arm ability.

Master defense. This ability allows the character to use any of his/her parries to call "parry" or "grip," and allows the character to use any dodges to call "dodge," "parry," or "grip." It also allows ability points to be spent to upgrade "parry" abilities to "dodge" abilities.

Dexterity Abilities

Counterfeiting. A character with this ability has a good eye and hand for creating artificial replicas of existing objects. To do so requires that the character have equipment similar to what was used to create the original item, and a sample of the thing to be forged from which to work. The character must have whatever skills or abilities were necessary to produce the original item; a character who cannot read cannot forge a letter, a character without smithing skill cannot counterfeit a particular sword. The GM will rule on what can and cannot be counterfeited.

Out of game, some minimal test of the player's ability should usually be part of counterfeiting. If a character forges a bank note, for example, the GM might give the player an item identical to other bank notes, but with an empty line for the banker's signature (which the player would have to forge or mimic him/herself). If a character is attempting to counterfeit a sword, the player would likely be expected to provide all the necessary materials him/herself. Whether or not people will suspect that an item is counterfeit will depend upon how good a job the player does, as well as other factors (such as whether there seem to be more than there should be of that item). A skill called detect forgery exists which may be used to try to ascertain whether an item is a forgery, but characters may always suspect a forgery and act accordingly -- there's nothing to stop someone from believing that even the genuine article is a forgery, although experts studying it would probably disagree. An extremely poor forgery on the player's part (diplomatic papers written in crayon, for instance), would mean an extremely poor ingame forgery, which is unlikely to fool even the least critical eye.

If a character uses a counterfeit item to trade or purchase something through logistics, the odds of discovery should be determined by the GM. Ingame law enforcement might be sent to find the person who passed a false bank note if discovered.

Disarm/set traps. The character may attempt to disarm a trap with whatever tools (s)he has. Traps are represented by simple mechanical or electronic gizmos designed to make an obvious noise when set off. Disarming fails if a) any permanent damage is done to trap components or b) the trap goes off. In either instance all persons within the trap radius will suffer full effects from the trap. With possible use of expendable supplies, this ability allows one to reset another person's trap.

Angled lockpicks. This ability allows the character to attempt to pick any type A lock ranked equal to or less than his/her angled lockpick ability plus lockpick mastery, provided that the character uses an angled pick.

Bendable lockpicks. This ability allows the character to attempt to pick any type B lock ranked equal to or less than his/her angled lockpick ability plus lockpick mastery, provided that the character uses a bendable pick.

Curved lockpicks. This ability allows the character to attempt to pick any type C lock ranked equal to or less than his/her angled lockpick ability plus lockpick mastery, provided that the character uses a curved pick.

Diminutive lockpicks. This ability allows the character to attempt to pick any type D lock ranked equal to or less than his/her angled lockpick ability plus lockpick mastery, provided that the character uses a diminutive pick.

Lockpick mastery. This ability allows the character to attempt to pick any type of lock (A, B, C, or D) ranked equal to or less than his/her lockpick mastery ability combined with his/her ability (if any) with the particular sort of lockpick necessary. The character must use the appropriate type of lockpick (angled, bendable, curved, or diminutive).

Pickpocket. Anyone can try to steal an ingame item. Characters with this ability find pickpocketing easier. Rather than actually retrieving an item, a person with this ability may represent that soft touch by placing a sticker on the pouch, pocket, or jewelry being stolen, without being noticed. If (s)he manages to do so (and there is a plausible explanation of how the thief got the goods ingame -- slitting a hole in the base of the knotted pouch, carefully undoing the necklace and removing it while the victim slept, etc.) the item or ingame contents of the pouch must be given to the player whose character stole said goods. This might be done through an intermediary (GM or referee) in order to protect the rogue's identity.

This ability can also be used to represent slipping something into a pocket or pouch without being noticed. However, the task being represented shouldn't be an impossibly difficult one ingame -- obviously, something larger than the pocket could not be put in it, nor something too heavy, etc.

One may not wear metallic armor when using the pickpocket ability.

Perception Abilities

Escape. A character with this ability who is trying to hide may, if (s)he stays out of sight (around a corner, behind dense underbrush, whatever) for five seconds, place a white "out of game" headband on his/her head. The character may spend up to five minutes, moving at no more than a jogging pace, traveling to any area that could be conceivably traveled to inconspicuously (not through doors while people are looking directly at them, not across well-guarded bridges, not across a field in broad daylight). A person using the escape ability may end the escape, and remove the headband, any time prior to the end of five minutes to gain the benefit of full, unrestricted movement. While escaping, the player must make every effort to keep under cover -- skirting closely to buildings, ducking behind trees, staying in shadows. At the end of those five minutes, the character must remove his/her headband, and the ability is no longer in use. The escape ability is "used up" from the moment the white headband is taken off, and may not be used again until it resets after ten minutes of rest. No information can be gained while escaping -- no conversations listened to, etc.

One may not wear metal armor when using the escape ability.

Trail. If a player with this ability is pursuing a character who uses the "escape" ability, the trailing character may announce "trail." The trailer must spend one minute in the area from which the other first escaped. Unlike other players, the trailer may watch where the escapee is heading (though may not move to get a better view). After the minute is over (and only if an entire minute is spent in that area), the trailer can search for the escapee. (S)he may also lead other characters to the escaping player.

After the minute has passed, when and if the trailer sees the escapee, (s)he can tell the escapee to remove the headband. Once the escapee has removed his/her headband, (s)he is fair game for those without trail ability.

Trailing may be useful in other instances, such as for tracking animals or people in the wilderness. Trail ability can also be used to uncover a character using the "hide" skill.

Waylay. The character may expend fatigue points to attempt to knock another character unconscious from behind. The waylay may only be performed from surprise. The waylay does one point of body damage to the target, and has a significant chance of knocking him or her out. Note that to use this ability, the character must have at least .3 strength (three strong blows).

For every fatigue point expended by the waylayer, (s)he does 3 points subduing damage. To represent this, tap the victim on the shoulder and say "subdue [x] 1 body waylay" in a moderate voice to represent the audible force of the blow. No subduing may be stacked atop the subduing damage from the waylay -- no using overbears, no continuing with "subdue 16" if "subdue 15 1 body waylay" didn't take the victim down. If the level of subduing done by the waylay wasn't sufficient to knock out the target, the only effect will be the one health point of damage. The fatigue points expended by the rogue regenerate normally, after ten minutes of rest.

For every point of strength the rogue possesses, (s)he may keep one point of fatigue. Therefore, a rogue with 1 strength could call "subdue 3 1 body waylay" without any fatigue cost to him/herself, but would expend one fatigue point to call "subdue 6 1 body waylay." Any target knocked unconscious will be unconscious for ten minutes, and is woozy and can be surprised and knocked out again without needing waylay ability nor any expenditure of fatigue for one minute after regaining consciousness.

Like all surprise attacks, this may not be parried or dodged, except by a character with the sixth sense benefit. No weapon is necessary to use waylay.

One may not wear metallic armor when using the waylay ability.

Intellect Abilities

Alchemy. Alchemy is required to mix elixirs. In addition to alchemy ability, the character must have the formula of the elixir in order to make it.

An alchemist can analyze any poison or alchemical mixture (alone or mixed into food or drink) and determine its potential use. This inspection takes five minutes and the use of alchemical tools, expending one set of "alchemical supplies." Analyzing with alchemy will also allow the "usable dates" of a component or elixir to be determined. Alchemical components and the elixirs made with them can "go bad." There will be a date on the tag stating the last day that component or elixir can be used.

By extended research (spending an additional set of alchemical supplies, and having access to the elixir when going to logistics) the exact components of the elixir can be broken down. Merely knowing all the ingredients of an elixir will not inform the alchemist of the formula -- there are matters like quantities, temperatures at which to mix things, etc. To learn the formula of an elixir, an alchemist must a) be taught the formula by another alchemist; b) have access to a written formula; or c) determine the formula him/herself through research (spending skill points in the process). However, knowledge of the ingredients in the elixir will make research easier and quicker.

Components to make elixirs can be found ingame, though the common ingredients can be bought at logistics. For certain common elixirs, the formulas may also be purchased at logistics.

Botany. The character can harvest vegetable components (for spells, alchemy, or other uses) found ingame. This ability also provides a general knowledge of plants. Certain plants have natural poisons or healing properties (though very weak); the character can recognize such plants, and use them for their own innate benefits. (Having alchemy or chirurgery in addition often would enable their potency to be increased greatly, as well as alchemy being necessary to mask the odd aftertaste in the case of poisoning).

Engineer. The character can learn skills for certain types of building projects; traps, ships, bridges, siege equipment, buildings, etc. Traps must have a reasonable ingame mechanism for both the trigger and effect. There may be an ingame fee for "trap bits." This ability also encompasses all of the abilities given by "disarm/set traps" ability.

First aid. The character can render aid to a fatally wounded character, returning a character at -1 health to 0 health. The person must spend one minute performing the first aid, during which time the death count is interrupted; if the first aid is not completed, the count continues from where it left off. While administering first aid, a character may not use other abilities. When it is completed, the recipient is left at 0 health.

First aid may also be used to counter the effects of quick poisons. See the rules for quick poison in the Elixirs and Alchemical Mixtures section.

Chirurgeon. If resting for one hour, and under the constant supervision of a person with chirurgeon ability (who may supervise no more than four patients at once), a character can receive up to five health points. The chirurgeon can "supervise" him/herself, but must be his/her only patient for that hour, and can only restore up to three points to him/herself.

If a character has both the chirurgeon ability and empathic healing, (s)he may add seven points to a patient under his/her supervision for half an hour; however, that patient must be the healer's only patient (the healer may not supervise him/herself for this type of chirurgery). A healer and a chirurgeon working together can produce the same result, still tending to only one patient, however, not one each.

Use of this ability requires the expenditure of medical supplies for the first variety of chirurgery, and healing supplies to use the more potent variety.

Geology. The character may harvest mineral components (for spells, alchemy, or other uses) found ingame. Sometimes a GM or LC in a pre-planned encounter will give relevant information to a person whose character has this ability (such as informing him/her of a possible danger of avalanche).

Research [choose ability or class of skills]. The player chooses one ability or class of skills which his/her character already knows, to which the research ability applies. Some research abilities -- for example Research (Magical) or Research (Historical) -- have no ability requirements.

Research (Alchemical) costs 3 points.
Research (Chirurgical) costs 4 points.
Research (Engineering) costs 1 point.
Research (Historical) costs 1 point.
Research (Magical) costs 8 points.
Research (Weapon) costs 6 points.

Other research abilities may be evaluated by the GM when suggested.

One general effect which research abilities have is to allow the player to occasionally make a request for information from the GM. The GM will ask what the character is researching, and what the character already knows/assumes from ingame knowledge. The more the character has already learned, the more interesting information the character may acquire. However, if the player lists incorrect information for his/her character's starting assumptions, the GM will be more likely to give false or misleading research results.

In addition to the normal cost in skill points to gain new skills or knowledge using research, a player will usually have to show that his/her character has had access to the appropriate sorts of libraries or materials, and/or be willing to wait a while after requesting the information (a few weeks) before the GM gives the information to the character.

The following additional benefits are gained with research abilities (these apply only to skills related to the area of research):

Zoology. The character can identify different animal matter. This ability is necessary to "harvest" any animal components (for elixirs, magic, or other uses), though is not always sufficient; it may sometimes require chirurgeon (or other abilities/skills) to apply this ability to certain creatures.

Six skill points. See the Skill section for descriptions of some of the skills that may be bought with skill points. To purchase a skill, the character must have the prerequisite ability for it (such as dodge to get breakfall, or the quick kill skill and a weapon mastery of some type to get an intrinsic killing blow with that weapon).

After a character has come into game, skills must be learned ingame through a teacher or written instructions (in addition to the expenditure of skill points). However, a character may start the game with skills without needing to find an ingame formula or teacher.

Bear in mind that a research ability halves the cost of related skills; if a player intends for his/her character to learn a large number of skills early on, taking a research ability is often more cost effective.

Ability points spent on skill points do not count against the maximum 50 ability points. However, ability points spent on skill points are still counted when determining the number of experience points needed to earn the next ability point. This is described in more detail in the Advancement section.

Empathy Abilities

Fleshshaping. The character can add permanent health points to him/herself or another character. By torturing to death another human character, the fleshshaper may add a total number of permanent health points to a character equal to the victim's:

((fatigue) + (strength) + (current health*)) / 10)

Round to nearest whole number.
* This includes only points gained from rest. No points gained by chirurgery or empathic healing.

If the act was a betrayal (by either the fleshshaper, or someone else involved with it), rather than done to someone who does not know or does not like the fleshshaper, then the number of points gained by fleshshaping is doubled.

No human maximum health may exceed 15. The points derived from fleshshaping may not be split between recipients. The sacrifice involves torturing the victim to death, for one hour. The victim must be conscious, though may be gagged.

Note: This ability is considered illegal and evil in most cultures. Demons are likely to react differently towards a character who is a fleshshaper (perhaps they will try to claim the fleshshaper's soul early; or perhaps they'll be more likely to strike a deal with him/her).

This ability may only be used once per week.

Healing. The player can give his/her own character's health points to another person. The only points which can be used for empathic healing are the healer's own -- never those gained by chirurgery or healing by another character, only those gained by rest. Healing requires one minute of intense concentration (using no other abilities) per point healed whilst touching the recipient. During this period, the death count shall cease. No healer may treat him/herself. Healing only assists in healing concussion wounds (bleeding and bruises) or the effects of quick poison. Chirurgery is required to mend broken or sprained limbs, cure infection, etc.

Health lost by empathically healing another represents a general weakness and exhaustion, rather than localized physical damage.

A healer may not use his/her last health point to heal another. This is due to the way in which the health tags are handled. However, this may not be the case in small scale games (GM's decision), and in some large scale games a skill may exist which allows a healer to expend his/her last health point.

Level one healing. Heal one health point of another, for every two spent oneself.
Level two healing. Heal one health point of another, for every one spent oneself.
Level three healing. Heal two health points of another, for every one spent oneself.

Ignore light wounds. The character is able to ignore all wound effects as long as his/her wounds are no worse than light. When the character has moderate wounds, (s)he suffers the effects of moderate and light wounds as per normal, and the character gains no benefit from the "ignore light wounds" ability.

Ignore moderate wounds. The character is able to ignore all wound effects as long as his/her wounds are no worse than moderate. When the character has heavy wounds, (s)he suffers the effects of heavy, moderate, and light wounds as per normal, and the character gains no benefit from the "ignore moderate wounds" ability.

Ignore heavy wounds. The character is able to ignore all wound effects as long as his/her wounds are no worse than heavy. When the character has severe wounds, (s)he suffers the effects of severe, heavy, moderate, and light wounds as per normal, and the character gains no benefit from the "ignore heavy wounds" ability.

Career Abilities

Brokering. The character can sell "used" goods for 1/2 of their list price (rather than for 1/4 as all may do) to off-screen characters (i.e., logistics) at the end of an event or between events.

Craft. This ability allows a character to acquire certain goods at half the normal listed logistics price. The character must pay for the materials (and/or tools), which this ability allows him/her to turn into finished goods and sell ingame. The cost of materials is one half "list" price of the finished goods. In most games with ingame craftspeople, the GM will not allow items to be bought through logistics during an event.

The cost of craft abilities will generally range from 1 to 5 ability points, depending upon how broad a class of items the ability covers. Farmer, producing a widely needed but low cost product, would be worth one ability point. Locksmith, a less common, but higher income profession requiring specific knowledge, would be worth three ability points. Smith is a commonly needed profession which produces a broad range of items, with a good income, and would cost five points. Blacksmith, a specialization of smith which still has great common usage, would cost four points; but silversmith would only be worth three. Other possible craft abilities might be armorer, baker, bowyer/fletcher, gemcutter/jeweler, hunter, tailor, or tavernkeeper/brewer.

Craft ability also allows a character to create goods during an event, with the proper raw materials and, in certain cases, blueprint or formula. For example, a smith could make trap bits provided (s)he had a diagram of what (s)he is trying to make.

If a craft ability is in an area of expertise that is covered by an existent ability, then a player is expected to get the ability in addition to the craft ability. For instance, a miner might have geology ability; a locksmith should have at least one or two levels of lockpicking.

Trade. The character may acquire any goods which are available through logistics at less than the normal logistics price. This is applicable only when purchasing through logistics, not when buying from other characters. If the base cost of items purchased is 50 farthings or more, the character pays half rate. If less than 50 farthings, the character pays (100 - [cost in farthings]) percent of the cost. Round all fractions to nearest whole number. Or just consult the following table:

Base cost      Cost with      Base cost      Cost with   
in farthings:  trade ability: in farthings:  trade ability:
1              1              20             16
2              2              21-22          17
3              3              23-24          18
4              4              25-26          19
5              5              27-28          20
6              6              29-31          21
7-8            7              32-34          22
9              8              35-37          23
10             9              38-42          24
11             10             43-49          25
12-13          11             50             25 (1/2 cost)
14             12             51-52          26
15-16          13             53-54          27
17             14             55-56          28
18-19          15             etc.   

In most games with ingame merchants, the GM will not allow items to be bought through logistics during the event.


benefits can only be purchased at character creation

Berserker. Under certain pre-determined circumstances, a character with this benefit will become enraged. This rage adds 1 to the damage which the character calls (even with a weapon (s)he is untrained with), but has a number of other side effects:

The rage lasts until the character has defeated his/her target(s) or been unable to combat for at least one minute -- subdued and held, his/her opponent(s) escaped, etc. Once the primary target has been defeated, the character may choose a new focus for his/her anger from among obvious allies of the initial target, or may allow the rage to subside.

The exact circumstances under which the character will go berserk must be chosen when the character is created. Commonly, this will be "taking health damage from a physical attack by an obvious enemy," or "insulted and provoked despite enraged warnings to stop." The GM might approve more particular circumstances such as "against undead" or "when not addressed as 'Your Highness'."

Empathy. This benefit is required to purchase healing or fleshshaping abilities.

Healthy. The character starts game with one extra permanent health point. Have an explanation -- did a fleshshaper add the point? Did the character eat his/her spinach growing up? Stackable, though no character may have more than 15 health points total.

Magery. Magery is required to perform most magics; the level of magery required depends upon the specific spell.

Magery has certain intrinsic disadvantages. A magically active character may be sought by those who wish to use the character's power for their own ends. Magery itself serves as a beacon to demons. Mages are in some ways more susceptible to demonic powers, as certain demons can harness a mage's own power when attacking the mage.

Every event that the mage character is played at, the GM rolls a percentage chance equal to three times the level of magery (or more) that "bad mage stuff" happens. This might mean that the mage's level of power attracts the attention of a demon or diviner. If the character possesses magical powers (s)he may gain a magical disorder (withering touch, debilitating illness, blindness, etc.) from the ritual flaw table in th GM's section.

The cost of magery can be reduced if certain innate disadvantages or limitations on the magery are taken. See mage disadvantages for details.

Rank. The character has some sort of title or special rank.

Revenue per session. The character has a regular source of income. The definition of "session" is left up to the GM; perhaps for a weekend long game, or after several events measuring only a few hours each. The amount of money awarded will be fifteen brass farthings per time this benefit is taken.

The character will get one event's allowance at the time the character is created, allowing that money to be used for the initial half-cost purchase of supplies.

The player must explain the source of revenue. Events may occur ingame which put the character in danger of losing the income; a child of rich parents might be "cut off," a character owning real estate might lose the fiefs when war breaks out in his/her homeland, etc.

The income is collected only on events attended; it is assumed that whatever is earned between sessions is spent between sessions.

Rumormonger. A person with this benefit will be given a list of rumors his/her character has picked up (provided that the character has been in contact with others); some of which are true, some of which are not. The rumors a character knows are appropriate to the area where the character has been between events.

In some games the GM will give out "rumor sheets" to all characters at the beginning of an event. If such is the case, a character with this advantage will receive an extra rumor sheet for each time the benefit is taken.

Savings. The character starts the game with additional money. The amount depends upon the particular campaign, but will generally be thirty farthings. The money can be used to purchase initial equipment at half normal logistics price, as with regular starting money. The player should explain the source of the money in the character history.

Sixth sense. Allows dodges or parries to be called against surprise attacks. Sixth sense will not awaken a sleeping character, however. This benefit may also let the character avoid traps which were not noticed by the player (allowing dodges to be called).

Strength. This benefit is identical to the strength ability, and cumulative with strength and strong blow abilities.

Unknown benefit. The GM will give the character a benefit comparable in value to listed benefits of that level, which the character will be unaware of, and which the player may also be unaware of. The character might even get a benefit worth 1-2 points more than spent, to balance against the disadvantage of having little choice in the matter. Sometimes a GM may decide to give a character an unknown benefit without the player knowing or having decided to take a benefit. In such instances, once the benefit begins to manifest itself ingame, the next few ability points earned will automatically go towards paying off the benefit.

Special. Players should talk to the GM, and get approval for their ideas. Possibilities include contacts which are unusual for one's abilities and/or social status, starting with special items such as grimoires, etc.


Disadvantages "return" ability points to a character. No more than one disadvantage, or two disadvantages totalling no more than 10 ability points, may be taken for points, unless the description of the disadvantage explicitly states otherwise. A player may choose to play having as many additional disadvantages as (s)he wants, but will not receive any points. A stackable disadvantage counts as one disadvantage, regardless of how many times it is taken. No disadvantage may be bought after character creation without express permission from the GM.

Some disadvantages may be "bought off" with ability points earned later. The player must get GM permission based on a reasonable ingame explanation. (S)he must spend one and a half times as many points as the disadvantage awarded (rounded up) to remove the disadvantage.

The maximum total ability points a character may ever have is 50. Disadvantages may not be "bought off" if the cost would bring the character over 50 points. (Although abilities may be dropped to get back points.)

Bad luck. This is an open invitation for really nasty things to happen to the character. Don't expect characters with this disadvantage to live for very long. The character suffers negative modifiers for any of the random elements of the game -- magic spells, alchemical mixtures, etc. LCs will be sent specifically to harass the character, and see to it that the character's life is indeed unlucky.

Can't learn. The character may never learn beyond what (s)he started the game knowing. No experience points or skill points may be earned. Working directly from plans, formulas, etc. is acceptable. Playing stupid isn't necessary, but it helps. The character should be stupid, autistic, stubborn, senile, or something. (This disadvantage can be stacked with "can't read," for a single 15 point disadvantage.)

Can't read. The character is unable to read. (This disadvantage can be stacked with "can't learn," for a single 15 point disadvantage.)

Exhaust easily. This disadvantage decreases the fatigue level of the character by one point. A character with this disadvantage may not purchase recover quickly.

Impoverished. The character starts game without money or equipment. This disadvantage may not be combined with the savings or revenue benefits.

Low pain threshold. When wounded, the character feels the pain as though wounded one rating lower. Scratches are treated as light wounds, light wounds are treated as moderate wounds, moderate wounds are treated as heavy wounds, heavy wounds are treated as severe wounds, severe wounds cause the character to go unconscious. This affects only the competence of the character at certain abilities and the ability of the character to remain conscious; a character with low pain threshold who is brought to zero is unconscious, not fatally wounded. A character with this disadvantage may not purchase any type of ignore wounds. Note that a character with low pain threshold who is severely wounded and goes unconscious will revive on his/her own after ten minutes, but will still be functioning as though at zero health, and unable to move without assistance.

Mage disadvantages. The total value of mage disadvantages cannot exceed half the cost of the magery benefit (rounded up). Mage disadvantages are not counted against the maximum number or value of total disadvantages a character may have. In some instances, in some campaigns, persons without magery might be able to possess certain or any of these disadvantages. All mage disadvantages are subject to GM approval.

Affected by iron. A mage with this disadvantage suffers in the presence of iron. If (s)he carries any iron for longer than ten minutes, the character experiences the effects of heavy wounds until (s)he disposes of the iron. The mage does not actually lose health by handling the item, but feels pain and suffers impairment of abilities as though wounded.

If struck by an iron weapon, add [level of magery] points to the damage taken after subtracting any armor reduction.

None of the "ignore wounds" abilities or the "cast through pain" adept spell will help against the effects of handling iron, though they function as normal to prevent pain from wounds inflicted by iron weapons.

"Affected by iron" and "affected by silver" may never be combined. Value: 3

Affected by silver. As per affected by iron. Value: 5
Attunement. Another mage is attuned to the character, making the character susceptible to his/her control. Value: 1-5. If the character shares a two-way attunement, the disadvantage should be valued at 1 point. If the character has a mage with no great ill intent at game start attuned to him/her, the value should be 3 points. If the character is a mage of Tepharan birth, and has a Tepharan priest(ess) attuned to him/her, (s)he will be awarded 4 points. If the character has a demon or powerful mage with ill-intent attuned to him/her, the disadvantage should be valued at 5 points.
Casting requirement. The caster has an additional stricture to his/her spellcasting in addition to the normal casting requirement of the spell. Depending upon the particular requirement, it may make very little difference in casting certain spells, or it may make a spell impossible for the mage to cast. For instance, a requirement to stare at the target would make no difference to a mage when casting divination; however, it would make casting illusions impossible for that mage, as well as many conjuring spells. The casting requirement disadvantage applies to all powers and rituals which require level 1 magery or greater to cast. Examples of possible casting requirements include: singing, elaborate hand gestures (perhaps the name of the spell in sign language), touching the target, able to cast between sunset and sunrise only, or able to cast outdoors only. Value: 1-3
Unable to negate magic. Once a character with this disadvantage casts a spell, be it a power or a ritual, (s)he cannot simply negate its effect. Once the magic has been cast, (s)he is no longer in control of it. Note that this disadvantage precludes the use of the dispel magic power as well (though not necessarily the dispel magic ritual). Negating magic is described in depth in the magery section. Value: 1

Short attention span. This disadvantage prevents a character from having any abilities that cost more than five ability points (including total value of points in one "stackable" ability) or skills that cost more than 18 skill points. This applies only to abilities and skills, not to benefits.

Unhealthy. The character starts game with one permanent health point fewer. The player should have an explanation -- was the character always sickly? Was (s)he part of some nasty fleshshaping experiment?

Unknown disadvantage. The GM will give the character a disadvantage comparable in value to listed disadvantages of that level. It'll be made worse by virtue of the exact problem not being expected or anticipated, but some people will have more fun not knowing what's coming. Sometimes a GM may decide to give a character an unknown disadvantage without the player knowing or having decided to take a disadvantage. In such instances, once the disadvantage begins to manifest itself ingame, the GM will award the points to the character.

Special. Players should talk to the GM to get approval for their ideas. Possibilities include addictions, phobias, known enemies, being a convicted criminal (whether or not the conviction was just), inability to speak the common language, missing limb, or mute.

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