© 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.Previous section | Next section | Contents
In a pen and paper roleplaying game, the players control their characters' actions, and the GM controls everything else. In a live-action game, the GM doesn't have total control over "everything else"; (s)he can't control the weather, can't play every character the PCs encounter, and can't always be present to enforce rules. Because of this, many parts of the GM's job are handled through the LCs (Logistics-controlled Characters).
The main function that Logistics-controlled Characters serve is to fill any roles which are not being filled by PCs. They might play townspeople, animals, monsters, adversaries of the PCs or even "heroes". People who play Logistics-controlled Characters might be allowed a number of recurring human characters, designed in the same manner as PCs but without any disadvantages, benefits, or ability to advance without GM approval. Though LCs will often be assigned human roles, these characters represent townspeople, playable each event those times the GM doesn't have another assignment for the LC. GMs will often want to introduce plots through these recurring characters, and so a write up on the personality and background of these characters for the GM to read is often useful.
LCs also serve as "runners" for the GM. One or more LCs may wander around the game-play area out of game, in a white- headband, to perform certain functions for the game. This may include distributing disease cards if a plague is in town, enforcing a PC's "bad luck" disadvantage, possessing a character (often simply handing a card detailing possession and letting the player do the rest), etc. Some LCs may have the authority to introduce elements of chance that could not come up in the game if played straight; point at a PC and tell him "your character sprained his ankle in that fight", or "Do you have trail? If so, you see tracks, and I'll show you where they lead", "Your bow string broke -- 10 minute repair", etc. An LC might be referee status, allowing him/her to make rules calls for PCs in game.
In a low fantasy setting like the Emeth campaign, most interaction will be with human characters. Undead might be created or demons might be summoned, but most threats the PCs face will come from other humans. Other campaigns may be far more magical; some games may choose to have non-humans as standard PC races.
Remember that certain creatures are harder to costume for than others. Multi-limbed or extremely large creatures, such as centaurs or giants, can easily look ridiculous if not properly costumed -- and if properly costumed, the costume may be unwieldy or dangerous to wear in battle. An important thing to keep in mind when costuming is maneuverability. A unicorn forced to travel at a slower pace than a human isn't very convincing; a dragon which can't attack or defend itself isn't very fearsome. Creatures which cannot be properly costumed for are seldom worth the effort of introducing to the game; if players encountering the creature have to be informed of what it looks like, this jars them at least temporarily out of play.
On the other hand, just because a creature can be represented in game, that doesn't mean it necessarily should be. Medusa would be easy enough to costume for, and would merely require a magical effect: flesh to stone, activated by gaze. However, it may not be appropriate to have such a creature in any game, as the gorgons are well-known creatures from Greek mythology. Just as the game world should be tailored to the particular game, so too with the creatures inhabiting it.
Finally, in most cases characters should have at least a rough idea of what sorts of creatures exist in their world. They might never have seen some creatures, the creatures might differ greatly from what people believe they "know" about them, and some creatures might be complete myths, but there should seldom be creatures foreign to anything the characters have ever heard of even in legends (unless the campaign is specifically geared towards the presence of these up until now unimagined creatures). If new races are created out of thin air each session, the sense of continuity may be endangered.
Bestow (type). Some creatures, such as vampyres or lycanthropes, can turn humans (or other creatures) into their own race. This usually involves exchanging of blood or some other long, involved ritual. Alternately, some creatures can turn a human or other creature into something unlike itself. An example of this is a vampyre turning a person into a ghoul.
Control (whatever). The creature can control elemental forces, non-intelligent creatures, plants, or inanimate objects. Examples would be a dryad controlling roots to trip or ensnare people or a nereid controlling water to drag people under in the undertoe. An incubus or succubus might have the ability to control physiological responses. A vampyre might have the ability to command a pack of wolves.
Create (type). Create a new creature without a base to work from as is necessary with bestow. An elemental creating another elemental, a dryad creating a will o' the wisp, etc. When designing creatures with the ability to create, there should always have a defined limitation on how often/how many/under what circumstances a creature can create other creatures.
Desanctify. The creature can despoil sanctified ground. If sanctified ground is despoiled, the best that the faithful can hope for is to eradicate the spot; it can never be sanctified again.
Drain. Like fleshshaping in that it strips health points from one creature to add them to another, this ability is different in several ways. First off, only the creature using the drain ability may benefit from it; points may not be given to others. Secondly, the formula for determining health points gained is not generally the same, though it may be in some cases; often it is a one to one ratio, however. The mechanism for drain varies depending upon the creature (draining blood, touching the target, etc.), as does the length of time required to complete the drain. Certain creatures gain only temporary health through use of this power.
Flee. If a player with this benefit can keep from being hit with any weapons out of game (dodges and parries don't count -- however, another character using a dodge-intercept does) for five seconds while running from an opponent, (s)he may call "flee" and escape from him/her. This benefit is used to represent faster than human speed. A fleeing creature may not attempt to attack or defend, only avoid weapon blows. Use a white OOG headband as per the escape ability, but the period of time before tracking ability can be used to follow is five minutes.
Hard to kill. A killing blow or bleeding to death will not kill a creature that possesses this benefit. (However, when the creature is brought to zero or negatives, it will still be unconscious.)
There are usually one or two particular means which can kill the creature. Possibilities might include such things as driving a wooden stake through its heart, beheading, burning, coating its heart with silver, or performing a blessing, exorcism, or some other rite of faith upon the body.
Ignore fatal wounds. The creature does not suffer the effects of even fatal wounds, and continues to function during the death count. A creature with this benefit who is fatally wounded will still die after six minutes if not healed.
Ignore severe wounds. The creature does not suffer the effects of any wounds (loss of abilities, skills or fatigue) short of unconsciousness.
Usually only undead, constructs or other-planar beings have this benefit.
Immune to (whatever). Not affected by poisons, subduing, certain types of magic, etc.
Initiative. The creature's first strike in a battle does extra damage.
Innate armor. Innate armor reduces damage done to the creature; the "minimum of one point of damage" rule for normal armor does not apply to innate armor. Normal armor is additive to this.
Unless otherwise specified, innate armor does not interfere with the use of stealth skills.
Innate warding. Partial or total immunity to certain types of magic.
Lesser damage from (whatever). Half or minus damage from certain materials (iron, steel, silver, etc.). Note that only non- or semi-corporeal creatures can completely ignore a damage type; though some corporeal creatures take lesser damage from certain forms, there is always a minimum of one point of damage.
It is also possible to have lesser damage apply to the type of attack, rather than to the material. For instance, undead, not having any vulnerable internal organs as it is magic which keeps them animated, may never take more than a point of damage from ranged attacks.
Magical effect (puppetmaster, death, etc.). The creature can create a particular magical effect without needing magery to do so, as it is an innate power of the creature. A magical effect does not usually have the same requirement as using the magical power does. The creature must possess magery to perform any other magical effects, although the GM might reduce the number of skill points necessary for similar effects (such as a dryad learning the magery version of charm or puppetmaster).
Mana. Mana may be used in place of health points for casting spells. It does not add to a character's total hit points, or enable a character to function at a higher wound level.
Mana points regenerate. The length of time it takes for one mana point to regenerate varies -- with some creatures it is after ten minutes of rest, others regenerate one mana point per day, others regenerate randomly.
Casting with mana is still wearing, and light wounds will affect the use of mana in the same way that it affects the use of health points.
Non-corporeal. The creature may not affect or be affected by the material world. No damage may be done to it by normal means, nor may it cause any physical damage. Non-corporeal creatures usually appear solid, and may not be recognized as being non- corporeal unless you come into physical contact with them (touching, hitting with weapon, etc.). There may be instances where a creature is obviously non-corporeal (transparent or translucent), in which case the player of that creature will notify those around of this fact.
Able to affect the physical world. This benefit is applicable only to those with the non-corporeal benefit. The character may still not attack other creatures physically, but can do a limited amount of movement of physical objects (not too heavy, or for too long, and control is rather shaky).
No vital areas. A creature with this benefit is not affected by poisons or by intrinsic killing blows. It will only suffer one point of damage from projectile weapons, regardless of the damage called by the attacker.
Poisoned attack. Once per battle, the player may append "poison" to the end of his/her damage call when using weaponless combat. Different creatures may have different types of poisons, some of which may be similar to alchemical poisons, some of which might be unique to the creature. As with normal poisons, creature- delivered poisons will not begin to take effect until the end of the combat. Poisoned attacks might be delivered through bite, stinger, claws, etc.
The player is given multiple poison tags. If (s)he successfully poisons a character, (s)he gives the victim one of these poison tags, as per normal poison rules. (If the player runs out of poison tags, (s)he may not used this benefit until such time as (s)he is able to get more poison tags from logistics.)
Possession. The creature may take control of another's physical form (similar effect to puppetmaster, but the possessor is actually controlling the body, and some benefits or abilities may carry over).
Regenerating health. Normal concussion damage resets after ten minutes in a non-combat situation, like fatigue. Creatures with this advantage will also heal from almost any other wound (such as broken or severed limbs), although the length of time this takes will vary based both upon the wound and the creature in question. Creatures with regenerating health are never considered dying, even at negative health. Generally only a killing blow will stop the regeneration, although some creatures may not regenerate from a particular type of damage, such as a troll not regenerating from fire damage.
Semi-corporeal. Semi-corporeal creatures may affect the physical world, but may not in turn be affected by anything other than either silver or iron (one or the other, not both). A semi-corporeal creature will usually appear solid, and may not be recognized as being semi-corporeal unless someone comes into physical contact with it (touching, hitting with weapon, etc.) -- and even then, if struck with a weapon type which affects it, it is not necessarily apparent that the creature is not solid. There may be instances where a creature is obviously semi-corporeal (transparent or translucent), in which case the player of that creature will notify those around of this fact.
Transform to (whatever). The creature is capable of transforming to a particular other creature type.
Unwholesome touch. The creature is able to re-open empathically healed wounds. This ability is activated by touching the target (it need only be for a moment). It may be used in battle via the weaponless combat ability, but will only apply at the end of the battle, as per poisons.
This ability also allows the creature to completely drain an empathic healer of all his or her health points, using the same channel which the healer has learned to open for healing.
This ability is most common among undead or demons.
Special. Anything else.
Affected by (material). Double damage from specified weapon material before armor reduction.
Avoid (garlic, wolvesbane, etc.). Must avoid contact with the specified thing, as the object causes discomfort when seen. If the object does touch a creature with this disadvantage, (s)he will scream out in pain, the object burning into his/her flesh.
Boundaries. Creature may not leave/cross a set area. Ghosts that must stay in the house where they died, vampyres who cannot cross running water, demons which may not enter a sanctified area, etc.
Can't heal empathically. Cannot be healed by empathic healing.
Can't heal naturally. Cannot be healed by first aid/chirurgery, and/or gain health back overnight through rest.
Controlled. Another creature or class of creatures has puppetmaster style control over the character. (For example, a ghoul is controlled by the vampyre who made him/her a ghoul.)
Dementia. Discuss with the GM.
Dependent. Cannot remain away from (x) too long, or will weaken and/or die. The length of time which a particular type of creature may remain away from the source of its dependency before dying is determined by the GM, and may range from several minutes to several days. The weakening effect in the meantime might be represented by loss of certain special powers/benefits, actual loss of health points or whatever else the GM deems appropriate, and may occur immediately or gradually. Dryads must remain near their trees/in a wooded area, vampyres must return to their coffins/burial ground, etc.
Exorcised. The rituals of banishment or seal away will drive the creature away and from this plane. Banishment drives an other planar creature back to its home plane; different creatures are banished for varying lengths -- anywhere from a fortnight and a day to a season and a day to year and a day to a century and a day, etc. Seal away keeps an other planar creature trapped indefinitely, until it is freed. When a creature has been exorcised, it may not return or be summoned or otherwise forced back to this plane during the length of its exile.
Frenzy against [x]. This is similar to the berserker benefit, but imparts only the disadvantages; the character receives no bonus to damage. A character with this disadvantage must attack the subject of the frenzy disadvantage ("living creatures," "whomever caused the health/fatigue loss to the character," "anyone in the immediate vicinity when the character is wounded," "frenzy against humans who don't show proper respect," etc.).
Hurt by sunlight. The creature is turned to stone or dust when exposed to sunlight. This effect may be reversible -- a gargoyle might turn to stone when exposed to the first rays of dawn, but revert to normal at night.
Weakened by sunlight. The creature is weakened in regards to what abilities it may use while exposed to the sun.
level of weakness: severely wounded direct sunlight heavily wounded indirect sunlight moderately wounded in shade lightly wounded pre-dawn or twilight
The weakness is only for when the character is outdoors or inside a building which is poorly sheltered from the light. Weather conditions may or may not affect this, GM's discretion (for example, (s)he may decide that the weakness is not applicable or is lessened in stormy or overcast weather).
This weakness affects even creatures with an ignore wounds benefit or ability.
Requirement. May only use (or must use) a benefit or ability to which the requirement is attached when the requirement is fulfilled.
Unintelligent. This applies to animals, certain undead, other planar creatures, nature spirits, constructs, or even lycanthropes while in were-form. This disadvantage covers a range of intellects; for example, a golem might be less intelligent or more intelligent than an animal, but both might be defined as unintelligent.
The unintelligent disadvantage can be broken up into three different categories: self-preservation, communication and problem-solving. For instance, most animals have self- preservation, but limited communication or problem-solving. A golem might have minor ability to communicate, but no self- preservation or problem-solving. A zombie is incapable of making any decisions for itself, even in terms of self-preservation, other than what its creator/controller commands it.
Special. Anything else.
The following pages give examples of creatures. Some use the benefits and disadvantages described in the previous pages, and some do not.
Any creatures which are born of other creatures (such as undead or lycanthropes) are written assuming a human base. If this is not the case (an immortal wolf, a dryad's ghost, etc.), that should be reflected in the benefits, disadvantages, abilities and health and fatigue points available to the creature. The GM will determine which combinations are possible and which are not.
Creatures, even those which were formerly human, will often be required by the GM to act in certain ways. The GM may put personality and roleplaying requirements on creatures; perhaps all humans infected with lycanthropy become evil, or perhaps the lycanthropy affects each individual differently.
Required: Base ability, benefit or disadvantage which comes with the package. Required disadvantages may not be "bought off."
Common: Abilities, benefits and disadvantages commonly associated with the particular type of creature, which may or may not be purchased; it is strongly encouraged that most creatures have at least some of the things common to their species.
Disallowed: Abilities, benefits and disadvantages which either are not allowed at all, or are extremely rare. Only less obvious examples of disallowed benefits and disadvantages have been listed; obviously, unintelligent creatures will be barred from certain types of skills and abilities, noncorporeal creatures will have no need of others and a creature that can't interact with humans can't have the revenue benefit -- but these disallowed abilities and benefits have, generally, not been listed. Most benefits and disadvantage which are not specifically listed as being required or common are not allowed without special GM permission.
Makeup: As with racial makeup for human characters, a particular recurring non-human character should always use the same combination of makeup to denote his/her race.
Health: 20 (40 maximum)
Fatigue: 10 (30 maximum)
Ignore severe wounds.
Immune to enchantment and necromancy.
The gargoyle has five levels of innate armor. Its sheer bulk puts it under the same restraints as a character in full plate in terms of usable abilities (however, stealth in armor skill might be purchasable).No vital areas.
Cannot heal naturally or empathically.
Hurt by sunlight.
The gargoyle turns to stone at dawn; reawakening at dusk.
Magical effect (destroy weapon).
Regenerating health (when turned to stone).
Boundaries (cannot enter sanctified ground).
Gargoyles are often only of animal level intellect.
Wear armor (including force 1).
Low pain threshold.
Gargoyles are similar to golems, in that both are magically animated statues. However, unlike golems, which are statues imbued with the semblance of sentience through magic, gargoyles are statues which are possessed by a spirit (usually demonic). A gargoyle is an otherworldly thing born on this world; a sort of "demonic nature spirit," created in defiled sanctified places. It cannot be exorcised or banished, as is not of a different plane.
Makeup: Gray or other stone-color makeup. Possibly "demonic" features such as horns, fangs, etc. For a truly demonic countenance, putty-type makeup might be used to sculpt the face, or a mask might be worn.
Health: +5 to previous health (15 maximum)
Fatigue: +0 to previous fatigue (15 maximum)
Ignore severe wounds.
The vampyre who created the ghoul has automatic puppetmaster control over it, for any period of time including lengthy instructions. A ghoul may never harm the vampyre that created it, either physically or verbally (the effect is the same as the enchanter power pacify), though need not feel any loyalty to it.
Frenzy against the living.
The ghoul must attack any living creatures around him/her when (s)he is brought to or below five health points.
Low pain threshold.
If a character with this disadvantage becomes a ghoul, (s)he loses the disadvantage immediately. Points must be spent to buy off the disadvantage as soon as the ability points are available (even if this means having to drop abilities to do so).
A ghoul is a living creature (i.e., human or animal, perhaps lycanthropes or certain nature spirits at GM's discretion) that a vampyre has drained but left alive. In this manner the vampyre gains control over the still-living creature to carry out its commands.
A ghoul reverts to normal if his/her master is destroyed. At that time, (s)he loses all required disadvantages and benefits (including health point gain) gained from ghoulishness. If the character had gained dementia, it still remains unless bought off. Low pain threshold may or may not return if the character possessed it -- if it was already bought off, the player will get the points back if (s)he chooses to keep the disadvantage.
Makeup: No makeup other than any normal racial makeup.
Health: +0 to previous health (15 maximum)
Fatigue: +5 to previous fatigue (20 maximum)
Two additional levels of ignore wounds.
A character without any ignore wounds skill who is infected with this lycanthropy will gain ignore moderate wounds; a character with ignore heavy wounds will be able to ignore even fatal wounds.
Poison bite / Bestow (wererat).
The player of the poisoned character signs the poison card and brings it to the GM. There is a 25% chance that the poison acts as level 1 health-affecting and a 5% chance that the character becomes infected with lycanthropy.Transform to wererat/human.
Affected by silver.
Cannot be healed empathically.
Must transform to wererat form at dusk.
Heal quickly skill.
Wererats do not require the empathy benefit to purchase heal quickly.Hide skill
Wererats can purchase the hide skill without the escape ability.
This might be in both forms, or merely in wereform.
Empathic healing (level 1-3).
Note that lycanthropy is a magical disease, and therefore cannot be combined with undeath. When a were-creature is killed, (s)he will revert to his/her original (human or animal) form.
Makeup: Depending upon the amount of time the transformation takes in a given campaign, makeup might be done with fake fur/hair glued on with spirit gum or similar stage makeup glue, or the player might don a mask. Optional additions might be fake fingernails, body fur/hair or rodent-style teeth (can be found in some costume shops).
Health: 7 (7 maximum)
The will o' the wisp is able to gradually change aspects of its environment to benefit its survival, creating dangers where there previously were none -- rockfalls, quicksand, bogs, etc. This takes a period of time -- it is not done instantaneously or in the time it might take a human to create the danger, as the will o' the wisp is noncorporeal, and is merely influencing the environment to gradually change in a way not unreasonable given the particular region.Drain.
Drain may only be done on a fatally wounded creature. As the last of the life force flees -- i.e., the six minute death count is completed -- the drain is complete. The will o' the wisp will gain half as many temporary health points, as its victim had permanent health points. A will o' the wisp only drains those creatures which it has killed (through its projections or changed environment).Projection.
Will o' the wisp projections can take many different forms; lights or sounds in the distance, false road markers, fully tangible and audible illusions of an animal or human (but without human intelligence), etc. Although will o' the wisps do not have human language and thus cannot create new road signs or carry on intelligent conversations, they may copy what they have seen or heard, and will have a sense of what effect the sign or phrase will have, based on what they've witnessed.Non-corporeal.
Corporeal creatures cannot physically affect a will o' the wisp, nor can it physically affect them.
A will o' the wisp will not stray outside of its territory. It's uncertain whether the boundaries of will o' the wisps are physical or merely psychological. However, they seem to vary from will o' the wisp to will o' the wisp.Can't heal empathically or naturally.
Animal level intelligence -- it has a sense of self-preservation, but only limited communication and problem-solving.
A will o' the wisp is a creature which feeds off the fleeing life force of animals (including humans). It drains only those killed by dangers which it created.
A will o' the wisp loses health points at the rate of one per day, restorable only through feeding; if the will o' the wisp runs out of health, it dies and dissipates.
A will o' the wisp marks a particular territory as its own and rarely strays far from it. They seldom choose an area close to human populations, as humans tend to neutralize their dangers faster than the will o' the wisps can create them.
Makeup: The true form of a will o' the wisp is intangible and invisible; any makeup is done based upon its particular illusion.
Health: 2 times permanent health in life (no maximum)
Fatigue: 0 (0 maximum)
Ignore severe wounds.
Immune to enchantment and death magic.
No vital areas.
Can't heal empathically or naturally.
Loss of speed.
The zombie cannot move faster than at a jog. There is no loss of agility, however; the zombie can still move normally in combat.Unintelligent.
Any strong blows or strength the zombie had in life.
Any strength the zombie had in life.
Any missing limbs which the corpse had before the spell was cast.
Zombies may be created from the corpses of humans, animals or any supernatural beings which leave a corpse. A zombie does not possess the mental abilities, benefits or disadvantages of the being from which it was created -- it is merely the physical form, and has no mind. However, creatures retain the physical benefits and disadvantages, such as strength, missing limbs, etc. However, if after the spell is cast limbs are removed, they will regenerate.
Makeup: As zombies are first made from freshly dead corpses, a newly-created zombie need have no distinguishing makeup. Once the zombie is more than a few days old, it starts to become obviously dead, however, and white make-up should be used to represent a deathly pallor. (As more time passes, players should feel free to add in some green make-up for advanced stages of decay, black circles about the eyes, cheeks, etc. for a more skeletal look, or red scars from wounds that the weakening magical forces holding the zombie together were not able to heal completely. However, the white make-up should be predominant so that players will have a rough idea of what they face. Making an older zombie look more like a skeleton is reasonable, however.)