Thursday, February 28, 2019

Throwing a Grapple

A grapple is a hook or claw used to catch or hold something. When tied to a rope and thrown to catch a grip, the grapple aids in climbing. A grapple may also be used to drag the bottom of a waterway, catch items floating on the surface of the water and be used to grapple vessels together for convenience or as preliminary to boarding.

Throwing a grapple involves hurling the claw outwards with success, then hooking the claw tightly against resistance by pulling the rope taut. Snagging off the rope to keep it taut is often needed if the rope is then used to retain its hold or to support weight. The process of throwing a grapple is not unlike rolling a d20 to hit. The table shown indicates the armor class that the thrower needs to hit for the grapple to be successfully hooked.

The process requires the full movement rate of the thrower for that melee round. This includes testing the rope if successful, but not snagging the rope off, which requires 2 action points (AP). Failing includes the time needed to hold the rope until the grapple comes to a rest and avoid being hit (automatic) if relevant. It requires 2 rounds to ready a grapple to be used again.

A grapple can be taken as a proficiency. The non-proficiency penalty applies only when the grapple is used as a weapon; however, taking the grapple as a proficiency provides a +3 bonus in throwing. Further, because an emphasis in throwing the grapple can be put on either strength or dexterity, a bonus from one or the other can be applied when throwing a grapple. The strength bonus is applied when holding the grapple; otherwise, the dexterity bonus is applied.

Striking an enemy with a thrown grapple or one that is used in combat will cause 1-4 damage. The table below shows the grapple’s range adjustments.

See Also,
Grappling & Ungrappling Ships

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Grappling & Ungrappling Ships

Grappling is the act of a single crew member or combatant to hurl a grapple at another ship, with success depending upon the throwing a grapple rules. Both friendly and unfriendly ships can be grappled.

Ships can only be grappled if they are moving at both the same speed and the same vector at the time the grapple is thrown. For ships of the size in the game’s campaign, a single rope will be sufficient to seize two moving ships in place; if either ship spins its helm, a collision will occur.

Throwing a grapple requires one full round of movement to throw and brace. It costs only 2 action points (AP) to cut a rope with a ship’s axe. To cut a grappling rope with a sharpened blade requires a full round of movement. Grappling hooks attached to loose ropes can simply be thrown off, but this also requires a full round of movement.

Unless a moving ship is friendly, a grapple thrown over a distance would most likely be cut before it could succeed in creating a boarding opportunity.

Grapples can be thrown any time by non-crew aboard a ship without orders being written. Grappling must only be logged during the movement notation phase if the crew is to take part in the grappling attempt. Grappling attempts by the crew can be logged as “G,” while ungrappling attempts by the crew can be logged as “UG.” When a crew aboard a grappled ship are not actively ungrappling it or are in melee, the ship’s captain may act freely.

Grappling by the crew takes place in the grappling and ungrappling phase of the sequence of play. Once a full boarding action is in place, the crew can attempt to ungrapple during the melee phase.

Grappling is best accomplished by multiple persons aboard the grappling ship; each grapple that is successfully attached is one more that a resisting crew must successfully cut or remove. If boarding occurs while grappling, hooked grapples can be defended so that they cannot be cut, enabling an effective boarding attempt.

Between friendly ships, grappling and ungrappling motionless ships can be performed without the need to roll dice.

As with fouled ships, grappled ships cannot move or turn in place. They can only drift.

Once a ship is ungrappled, it may move normally on the next turn.

See Naval Combat

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Fouling & Unfouling Ships

When collisions occur, the rigging of the involved sailing ships may becoming entangled and “fouled,” locking the ships together. For each collision, one of the involved ship captains must roll a die ~ a 1 in 3 chance indicates the ships have become fouled.

Fouled ships cannot move or turn in place. On the second round after fouling has occurred, if they cannot separate themselves, the fouled ships may drift.

If the ships are not fouled, they may continue to move normally with the next movement phase. Take note, however, that such moments are opportunities for either crew to grapple.

Fouled ships provide an opportunity for boarding and melee.

Once a ship has become fouled, during the next movement notation phase, the captain MUST declare the intention to unfoul when logging movement. Leaving the ship fouled (taking advantage of the opportunity to board) can be logged as “F,” while unfouling the ship can be logged as “UF.” When a crew aboard a fouled ship are not actively unfouling it or grappling another ship, or are in melee, the ship’s captain may act freely.

This orders the entire crew to untangle the ship’s rigging. This is the only movement that can be logged during that round. To succeed, roll a d10: success occurs on a 1-5. A poor crew receives a penalty of -1; crack crews gain a bonus of +1; elite crews, +2.

If success does not occur, the crew must be assigned to make the attempt the next round, with the same odds.

Unfouling a ship occurs during the unfouling phase of the sequence of play.

See Naval Combat

Turning (sailing ships)

For sail ships, turning describes three possible manoeuvres. A moving ship going forward may turn left or right; a ship may swing its bow away from the wind; and a ship may swing its stern into the wind, which is to say moving the stern so that the ship’s bow points more directly into the wind.

Moving Forward

figure 1
When logging movement, shipmasters give orders to change course in 60-degree increments, in keeping with the hexed battle map. These turns are governed by ship hexes, so that as the ship turns, the bow traces a line across the adjoining hex, pointing at the hex side that fits with its new orientation. This movement is resolved during the movement execution phase of the sequence of play.

figure 2
In the example shown of a right hand turn, Figure 1 shows the ship before the turn occurs. The front green arrow indicates the swing of the bow in the new direction. The black dotted line indicates the outer compass of the stern as it swings around to follow the bow.

Figure 2 then shows the ship in its new orientation, the turn having been completed. It’s former position is shown in white. Note that although the ship has made the turn, it has not perfectly lined up with the ship hexes ~ instead, it now occupies part of five adjoining ship hexes instead of three (ignoring the sails). The adjusted orientation of the ship is 45-degrees from its original heading, which would become 60-degrees if it moved forward one more hex.

Contrariwise, if the ship were to make an immediate left hand turn with its next movement factor, the ship would straighten out again to its original heading (see Figure 3), swinging back 45-degrees, moving so that it was displaced one line of hexes from its original path.

Ships turning in this fashion always move by the bow. Each individual turn costs one movement factor of a ship’s total movement allowance. A ship may never make more than one turn per ship hex.

Smaller, nimbler ships are able to make more turns per sequence of play than larger, cumbersome ships. This manoeuvrability is part of a ship’s “yare.” See ship types for more information.

As ships turn, they adjust their attitude to the wind, which in turn can limit their total movement (whether or not accounted for in the movement log). As detailed in the wind effects table, adjusting from one attitude to another can sharply reduce the ship’s forward momentum.

For example, a B-type ship that’s reaching to a gentle breeze is moving a factor of 5 hexes. As it moves, it turns to an attitude where it is now close-hauling, which is a factor of 2 hexes. Whatever its movement before the turn, it may now move a maximum of 2 hexes in that direction. If it has a movement factor left after movement, it can then swing back, reaching to the wind, and spend the rest of its factors. It cannot again turn into a close-hauling attitude. It could run against the wind. Take note that after close-hauling for 1 or 2 factors, if it turned its head to the wind, it would stop in place, and its remaining factors would be discarded until the next movement notation phase.

A ship may never make a turn if the attitude would cause the ship to exceed its movement allowance at the time of the logging movement phase. Thus, if the ship above started close-hauling to the wind, so that it began the sequence of play with 2 factors, it could not move further than 2 factors even if it turned to begin reaching. This wind limit rule can restrict movement, but it cannot add movement!

Note also that the wind limit rule does not limit the number of turns the ship may take (that is limited by ship type), only the number of hexes that a ship may move.

Any ship that turns to head into the wind must immediately stop and cease movement until the next movement notation phase.

Swinging the Bow or Stern

When a ship’s movement is zero, it is permitted to swing its bow outwards to the left or right in a manoeuvre that changes the ship’s attitude to where it will close-haul (and move with the next movement notation phase). The manoeuvre is simple, as shown in Figure 4. As the bow swings over, the stern does as well.

When making this manoeuver, the bow swings while the ship turns on its stern, dropping back slightly as it does so.  Following the maneuver, which puts the ship into a close-hauling attitude, the ship must turn either left or right with its next movement factor.  Thereafter, with each forward move, the ship should come in line with the ship hexes.

Likewise, a motionless ship is permitted to swing its stern (Figure 5). The stern may be adjusted each so that it swings away from the wind, moving the bow towards the wind. In the example shown, the ship’s attitude to the wind is unchanged (close-hauling). Following the move, the ship may either turn in the direction of the manoeuvre (which means it could turn left here) or move straight ahead at least one turn. A right turn from this position would be more than 60-degrees and therefore cannot be accomplished without first moving forward.

The manoeuvre is rarely used, but can be helpful after unfouling or ungrappling from other ships.

See Naval Combat

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ship Hexes

A ship hex is a 20-foot wide hex which regulates the movement and turning of ships. The ship hex is four combat hexes wide and has no relevance to combat. It requires one round for a ship moving at 1 knot of speed to cross a single ship hex.

Ships move and turn the number of ship hexes allocated by its movement allowance. Ships must end all turns with the front part of its bow occupying the full ship hex that it has last entered. When logging movement, ships may not be designated as its bow entering only part of a ship hex; such a notation would be considered an illegal move.

The image below indicates a ship slightly more than 40 feet long occupying three large white ship hexes. Note the bow (and not the bowsprit) has been oriented with the forward ship hex. The stern is then free to occupy only part of the rear hex. The orientation of the bow here should remain constant at the end of each sequence of play, once movement execution has taken place.

Movement Allowance (naval combat)

A ship’s movement allowance describes the maximum number of ship hexes a ship may move during the sequence of play. This is determined by the ship’s type, it’s attitude to the wind and the force of the wind (wind speed) that is blowing. These details are collected together on the Wind Effects Table, located on the wind effects on movement page.

The total movement allowance is divided into movement “factors,” each of which indicate one possible action related to the ship’s movement. This includes moving ahead, turning, backing sail, unfouling the ship, grappling and ungrappling an enemy, dropping and lifting the anchor or leaving the ship as is, fouled, drifting or stopped.

Movement allowance is allocated during the movement notation phase by logging movement.

See Naval Combat

Transparency in Logging Movement

Optionally, logging movement should be ONE PLAYER’ S decision, since technically there would not be real time for all the players to debate over the movement of the ship while giving orders. Should there be separated player characters managing multiple ships, each player in charge of their ship should write orders secretly from the other players, though this may result in collisions.

Arguably, however, since the DM will be writing all movement orders for all ships opposed to the player, this would unfairly balance the fight to the DM, who could decide not to have the enemy collide with themselves. The DM could, imaginably, assign random choices to ship commanders, but this in turn would give favor to the players, who would be choosing their ship’s actions (we would hope) intelligently.

We could also work out a set of semiphore flags to pass communications between ships, to allow players various latitudes towards making group decisions, within the agreed upon choices of DM and players. Whatever these are, however, the exact amount of communication allowed ~ none, some, unrestricted ~ must be agreed upon ahead of time and fully understood to reduce arguments on these lines.

See Naval Combat

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Logging Movement (naval combat)

During the movement notation phase of the sequence of play, each ship master must write the proposed movement of the ship that will take place over the next five rounds of game time. These are orders that are written in secret by both the players and the DM, as ships on the battle map are not intended to know which direction the others will move.

The DM will write secret logs for non-player ships, while the players will write secret logs for their own ships. The players should at this time determine the transparency in logging movement orders that will be given.

Once determining the ship’s movement allowance, the log records this movement, determining what the ship will do. For example, a ship with an allowance of four movement might decide to sail Ahead, Ahead, Left, Ahead ~ or it might go right, or backing sail, or drop anchor, attempt to grapple or ungrapple, etc. The log determines the options in advance … even if the combatants drastically regret having given those orders later, in the light of what happens next.

Ship direction of movement is regulated by ship hexes. Though a ship’s movement execution is performed per round by standard combat hexes, orders for the ship’s movement are given in ship hexes. Each ship hex the ship enters costs one movement factor of its allowance.

For example, a ship that is 60 feet long would cover, bow-to-stern, three ship hexes. If it were ordered to move ahead one movement factor, that would be an order to move 1 ship hex, or 4 combat hexes, before the next movement factor would take place. Likewise, a ship that was turning one movement factor would turn 60-degrees into the next ship hex before the next movement could take place. This material is covered elsewhere and in depth, but must be understood and taken into account when writing orders for where a ship moves.

Sailing ships cannot turn more than 60-degrees from the direction of the bow per ship hex. A ship may make only one turn per ship’s hex.

Ships may use none or all of their movement factors available. Unused factors cannot be accumulated from one logging to the next, nor may they be transferred between ships.

Notation Protocols

The following must be included when logging the movement of the ship:

The total movement of the ship for that turn must be logged.

A clear and readable notation must be made, which all persons must agree upon. Abbreviations can be used: “A” for ahead, “R” for right; “L” for left; “B” for backing sail, “F” for ship is fouled and desired to be left so; “UF” for unfouling; “G” for grappling; “UG” for ungrappling; “D” for drifting; “DA” for drop anchor; and “LA” for lift anchor. Ship’s weapons and boarding do not need to be noted as these are not part of the ship’s movement. Each movement factor notation should be separated by a dash or clear comma.

One character on each ship must be designated as the “Captain.” If the players are commanding a ship, this player character can take no other action other than logging movement as long as the crew needs to be directed.

For example, a ship with a movement allowance of 5 should write its factors as (5) – A – L – A – B – DA … which would mean ahead, left, ahead, backing sail, drop anchor. These things will be explained in the links already given.

Notations must be specific and in the same order as that in which the ship will be moved.

If a player does not wish a ship to move, a “0” (zero) will be used as notation.

If a log is incorrectly filled out and/or indicates an illegal move for a ship, end that ship’s movement at the point of the infraction. This means that if the first notation for the first of the ship’s factors, for example, was impossible due to the ship being at anchor, the ship is still grappled or fouled, or was written unclearly, the ship would cease all movement during that sequence of play due to crew error and indecision.

When completed, all logs of all ships controlled by DM and Players should be opened for inspection by all participants. This initiates the movement execution phase.

See Naval Combat

Movement Notation

During the movement notation phase of the sequence of play, the ship’s future movement over the next round must be accounted for. This is done to reflect the time necessary to deliver orders, for the crew to hop to their jobs and for the momentum of the ship to be overcome. To reproduce the possible chaos in battle this might create, the system incorporates simultaneous movement.

Before the sequence of play can be set in motion (see movement execution), at the beginning of the round, all participants in charge of ships must write orders that their ships must attempt to follow before new orders can be submitted. This process is called logging movement.

Prior to orders being given, the movement allowance of each ship must be determined. It must be determined under what conditions the ship may move. The crew quality must be taken into account to determine the probable success of a manuever. The following concepts must be accounted for in giving orders ahead of time to the ship’s crew:

See Also,
Backing Sail
Fouling & Unfouling Ships
Grappling & Ungrappling Ships
Naval Combat
Ship’s Attitude
Wind Effects on Movement

Ship's Attitude

The orientation of a ship to the wind is called the ship’s “attitude.” There are four attitudes with which the player needs to be familiar: 1) reaching; 2) running; 3) close-hauling; and 4) heading into the wind. The direction of these winds is indicated by the image shown.

The wind's effect on movement can greatly change the speed of a ship depending on its attitude. A ship heading into the wind will always come to a full stop. That is why ships will tack to the left or right of the direction of the wind, close-hauling their way forward.

The most effective speed is achieved by moving with the wind to the left or right rear (reaching), rather than running directly with the wind. A longer description of each of these is given below:
Reaching indicates the wind is coming nearly perpendicular to the ship’s attitude, adjusted to fit the hex grid of the battle map. Because of this limitation, we need not be concerned with close, broad or beam reaches for the purpose of the rules (which would require creating six more compass points). The reach is usually the fastest point of sail.
Running indicates the wind is coming from behind the ship which then moves in the same direction as the wind. This point of sail is slightly less efficient than reaching for most vessels.

Close-hauling describes when a ship is beating or working to windward, when a ship’s sails are trimmed (set) so that it is sailing as close into the direction of the wind as it can go. When close-hauling, a ship is moving at its slowest speed while yet making progress.
Heading to the wind describes a course that is too close to the direction from which the wind is blowing, causing the ship to stop moving forward and begin drifting. For the system’s purposes, a ship that has turned its head into the wind will come to a stop once the ship’s movement of that round has been spent.

Ships may, if they wish, trim their sails to reduce their speed to any speed less than their maximum, no matter what the ship’s attitude may be.

See Also,
Naval Combat

Friday, February 22, 2019

Wind Effects on Movement

The combination of the ship type and its crew quality defines the maximum speed that a ship can sail … and this maximum is in turn limited by the actual wind speed. The force of the wind may fail to fill the sails of the vessel, or the wind’s violence may force the ship to furl sails for the safety of the ship. As a result, the best winds are “breezes,” particularly the moderate breeze.

The Wind Effects Table shows the movement of different types of ships (based on size and how well they handle), depending on the ship’s attitude to the wind:

These attitudes are as follows: “Re” – Reaching; “Ru” – Running; “C” – Close-hauled; and “H” – Heading into the wind. These are described in detail on the ship’s attitude page.

To determine the effect of wind force on a ship, cross-index the wind against the type of ship, under the attitude column that applies. The result is the ship’s total movement allowance for determining the number of its actions during the movement notation phase. Where the total movement is less than zero, that indicates the number of hexes the ship will drift with the wind.

Note that lighter ships (yare A & B) will drift much more easily than medium-sized ships (yare C), whereas heavy ships (yare D & E) will not automatically drift; nor will heavy large ramships and galleys. During gales & storms, this drift occurs when the ship moves into the indicated attitude and presumes the crew is working with great effort to keep the ship from foundering.

See Also,
Naval Combat

Wind Change (naval combat)

During the wind phase of the sequence of play, every five rounds, the DM makes two checks to determine if there is a change to the wind speed and direction, depending upon the previous speed of the wind. The chance of either occurring are indicated on the table showing.

If a change in speed is indicated, a high/low die should be rolled. If the result is low, then drop the wind speed by one force. If the result is high, a likewise increase in one force results.

If a change in direction is indicated, then the wind direction will jump 60° in either a left or right direction around the compass, as indicated by a random die.

When the originating wind is force 0, windspeed will always increase to force 1 (no roll is needed), regardless of the specific type of force 0 speed was in effect. Likewise, a force 12 wind will always reduce in force to a violent storm.

When a force 1 wind drops to force 0, roll a d6 to determine which sort of force 0 effect results: calm (1-3); very quiet (4-5); or dead calm (6).

When calculating the chance of a ship working to keep a ship from sinking, the wind change roll is suspended.  This is based on the presumption that while the wind may change critically over the course of a battle, the pre-existing wind is presumed to remain consistent over a long period.

See Also,
Naval Combat
Wind effects on movement

Wind (naval combat)

At the start of every naval combat, the wind speed and direction must be determined (see below). Wind is never a constant factor; both direction and speed of the wind may alter from round to round (though the chance is slight).

During the Wind Phase of the sequence of play, a die is rolled to determine if the wind speed and direction change. To determine this result, see rules for wind change.

Wind effects on movement causes adjustments to the ship’s momentum. This depends in large part upon the ship type, a designation of the ship’s size and form. The wind’s effect relates to the ship’s attitude to the wind.

Determining the wind direction depends upon the campaign’s method of determining climate and weather. I use this weather informational system, which gives remarkably complete information in 3-hour periods, anywhere on Earth, with data reaching back to 2016. Therefore, the wind direction is determined for me.

See Also,

Naval Sequence of Play

The following describes the order in which actions are performed during a naval fight. The movement and adjustment of ships occurs in normal game rounds. To keep track of everything that is happening, a sequence of play has been included in the system.

Each phase of the sequence must be played in a specific order, as indicated below. Descriptions for each are linked for further reading.

The initial phases describe the Ship Sequence. These phases apply to every round of combat, as orders to the crew are given so that they may have the ship turn or change speed. This creates a time delay that accounts for the crew hearing orders before they can react, overcoming the ship’s momentum and the officers judging the situation of battle.

1. Wind Phase
A die is rolled every five rounds to determine if a change in the wind takes place, and if so, how it will change. Dice are rolled every 5th round.

2. Unfouling Phase
All ships wishing to do so attempt to unfoul their ships. With orders given, the entire ship’s crew must spend 5 rounds attempting to free the ship’s rigging from other ships.

3. Movement Notation Phase
Orders are written down to proscribe the movement allowance of ships over the next 5 rounds.

4. Movement Execution Phase
Ships are moved simultaneously according to the orders that are given in Phase 3.

5. Grappling & Ungrappling Phase
Ship crews attempt to grapple or ungrapple enemy ships.

6. Ship’s Weapons Phase
All ship’s weapons load or fire. This fire happens according to initiative in the standard way of D&D combat.

7. Boarding Preparation Phase
Roll normal initiative to determine who is free to make the first action in hand-to-hand combat between ships.

8. Melee Phase
All standard D&D combat is resolved normally.

See Naval Combat

Naval Combat

This page includes links for resolving combats between ships and aboard ships. These house rules are not meant to be complicated, but rather as simple as they can possibly be and yet account for the most obvious of circumstances that arise in naval warfare ~ and that is a great deal.

The rules have been organized so that general pages describing the general frame of the process, with links leading to pages that provide progressively grittier and nuanced details. Much of the detail, once in place, can be overlooked if the DM prefers to see a given rule as “optional.” I have taken the time to provide as much as I can, based on the games Wooden Ships & Iron Men and Trireme.

Begin with the Naval Sequence of Play, which gives an overview to the manner in which naval combats are resolved, step-by-step.

The following is a list of links associated with naval combat:

Arc of Fire
Backing Sail
Damage to Hull & Rigging
Fouling & Unfouling Ships
Grappling & Ungrappling Ships
Line of Sight
Movement Allowance
Movement Execution
Movement Notation
Nautical Terms
Naval Sequence of Play
Ship Hexes
Ship’s Attitude
Ship’s Weapons
Ship Types
Transparency in Logging Movement
Wind Change
Wind Effect on Movement
Wind Speed

Friday, February 8, 2019

Intelligence (ability stat)

Variously defined to include logic, understanding, self-awareness and reasoning, for game purposes I have chosen to describe intelligence as problem solving ability and alertness.  In game terms this argues that seeing the answer to a problem is a question of intelligence, not wisdom; and that being aware of what is going on around the individual is also intelligence, and not dexterity.  Intelligence as described here bears no similarity to "I.Q."

Ability checks are made against intelligence only when there is doubt that the character's intelligence is sufficient to reason through a set of variables or be alert enough to see the meaning of a given clue or detail.  Players cannot simply turn to the PC's intelligence as an ability that lets them roll and instantly "know" things.  Players must use their own intelligence 99% of the time throughout the game; however, very often the player will attempt an action or a plan that the character would be unlikely to conceive.  In that instance, the player should make an intelligence check.  If successful, the action can be carried out.

Take note; "learning ability" is often attributed to intelligence; in my game, that would be part of wisdom.

Intelligence is an important characteristic of mages and illusionists, and a minor requisite for assassins, bards, paladins, rangers and thieves.  For mages, intelligence will dictate the maximum number of spells that can exist in the character's spellbook (qv).  Furthermore, it should be understood that upper spell levels for mages cannot be employed at all if the mage has a minimal intelligence.

Chance for a spell included in the spellbook describes the percentage chance that is rolled for each spell in the magic user lists to determine if that spell is included in the mage's conceptual ability.  This does not apply to illusionists.

Minimum # of successful rolls indicates the lowest number of successful rolls for spells that the mage can have.  This does not apply to illusionists.

Maximum Spell level use shows the highest level of spell that the character can use with that intelligence.  This column applies to both illusionists and mages.

Description of Values

Zero Intelligence

Unable to think and lacking self-awareness, these creatures act without will, driven by hormonal responses.  They are compelled to find food or to reproduce.  Once engaged in combat they will not retreat but will always fight to the death.  They cannot communicate with others of their own kind except through the release of pheromones, which may appear to create cooperation but in fact is purely reflexive in response.

Deficient Intelligence (1 pt.)

Sufficient to provide minimal self-awareness and bare instinct resulting in an innate behavior in response to outside stimuli.  Creatures of deficient intelligence will experience fear and will herd together for defense ~ but will equally abandon others of their own kind, including their offspring, with self-preservation being more important than social bonds.

Reproduction if primarily sexual, with times of the year when instinctive competition to determine opportunities to mate takes place.  Displays feature activities such as showing plumage or rutting.  These creatures are always herbivorous and never hunters; they will exhibit some curiosity towards the offer of foods, especially those of a pleasant odor.  Without magical influence, these creatures defy interaction and cannot be trained.

Domestic Intelligence (2 pts.)

Necessary for domestication as a creature.  Take note that not all domestic creatures have an intelligence of this value; only that they must have at least this much in order to form an attachment to a more intelligent companion.  Creatures of domestic intelligence will also show a fondness and loyalty.  They can be angered and will become defensive if angered; they will not always fight, however.  This defensiveness is often a show of threat before fleeing.

Creatures of this intelligence will form family relationships for life, care for their offspring, defend their lairs, display memory, play, act curiously if not threatened and will actively hunt (including tracking and returning to familiar hunting grounds).  These creatures will also cooperate with their own kind, though often they will become aggressive and competitive once food is available.  Primary motivations continue to be the pursuit of food and reproduction.

Sympathetic Intelligence (3 pts.)

Necessary for humanoid creatures (with much lower-than-average mental acuity) and commonly the intelligence for successful hunters such as canines, felines, suidae, ursae and a wide range of magical beasts.  These creatures will hunt patiently and cleverly, will share food among their clans and will care for and adopt the young of others.  They will form close domestic bonds with more intelligent creatures, particularly with tool-making humanoids.

They have strong memories, will form lasting bonds and cooperative relationships with humanoids (hunting and sheep dogs, cormorants, working animals, mounts, etcetera), are strongly faithful, will play and will defend creatures other than those of their own kind.  They are able to recognize treachery and also display a wide range of emotions.

Humanoids will be minimally communicative and animal-like in their display of emotions.  They will form staunch bonds with others and will sacrifice themselves rather than let those others come to harm (though the sacrifice is not self-aware; death is a difficult concept to grasp).  Fighting abilities will be instinctive; they are limited to bashing weapons.  Weapons may not be hurled, not because the creature is physically incapable, but because it doesn't not occur.  They are limited to daily living skills and are limited in sage abilities to adaptive or instinctive abilities [no defacto list exists at this time].  All efforts to problem solve or be alert, as well as recovering anything from memory, requires an intelligence check.

Cognitive Intelligence (4 pts.)

Enables self-awareness so that the creature is aware of their own awareness, and in humanoids the ability to express consciousness of their own mental limitations.  Creatures are able to comprehend money, the importance of some things over others and reasons why they are being asked to do things.  Creatures of this intelligence include a wide variety of non-social monsters, many of them with inborn skills, primates and humanoids who represent lower-than-average mental acuity.  No humanoid race comprises principally of members that are of this level of intelligence.

Creatures, both humanoid and not, will betray deviousness, be capable of lying, yet will remain naive of consequences for their actions.  Play is often extraordinarily aggressive or excessively idle, such as repeatedly throwing a ball against a wall for many hours at a time, mesmerized by the patterns it forms.  Memories are long and grudges are common.  They are not likely to judge the actions of others except when those actions directly infringe on their freedom.

Humanoids will be haltingly but moderately communicative and expressive with their emotions.  They will form highly loyal bonds with fellows and may even fall in love, though they will not understand the social mores associated with relationships.  They are not able to rebel against requests from trusted companions without an intelligence check.  When a check succeeds, being conscious of their own limitations, they will be enormously proud of themselves.

Fighting abilities are instinctive; bashing and stabbing weapons are permissible.  Weapons may be hurled.  They are able to do tasks made of two-or-three steps, such as sharpening a weapon AND putting it away or eating from a plate, washing that plate and putting it away.  Such things are limited to busywork; tasks that require figuring the place for something unfamiliar, sorting, locating something that can't be seen or is in an unfamiliar place, or any more complex problem requires a check.  The creature can watch and be trusted to be aware in that specific direction, but being alert for something unexpected requires a check.  Sage abilities must still fit into the descriptions above or are not available to the creature.

Primitive Intelligence (5 pts.)

Minimum necessary for a humanoid culture.  Creatures are able to perform all familiar tasks related to food gathering, hunting, raising offspring, sorting and sharing material wealth and rough hand-made tools without checks, but do not have interpretive-based sage abilities.

Though able to understand the spoken word generally, creatures have high difficulty understanding abstract concepts such as philosophy, mathematics, science, mechanics or distant geography.  Religion and history is understood primarily through story-telling and art, with no real sense of theology or causality.  Magic is appreciated and recognized, but the process bears no comprehension at all.  Limitations on such things, or why there should be limitations, are unclear to the creature.

When in simple, day-to-day situations, it is rare that any checks will need to be made.  However, the alertness needed to think a player character's way through unusual environments (dungeons, dangerous and chaotic terrains, cities or streets where sensory overload is constant) will require occasional checks if there is no one else to keep the character focused.  One such situation is battle.

Should surprise occur, creatures of primitive intelligence are apt not to rely upon their instincts but upon their responsibilities ~ and this may cause the creature to freeze, similar in manner to a deer but for entirely different reasons.  Because of this, unless an intelligence check is made, the creature will be unable to take any action except to defend themselves for one more round than is usual.  This hesistancy can be overcome, however, if a more intelligent creature, unaffected by this hesitancy, is there to shout "attack!" or similar order at the right moment, spurring lesser companions to action.  Thus a chief in a primitive clan or tribe will usually have sufficient intelligence to thus lead their people.

Primitive intelligence allows the use of most hand-to-hand and hurled weapons, but discounts use of the bola, the bow, slings and like weapons that have multiple or moving parts.  Common implements with moving parts require a check to use; complex implements, such an astrolabe or abacus, are beyond the creature's ken.

Low Intelligence (6 to 7 pts.)

Though in the upper group for primitive cultures, for most civilized societies this indicates the bottom range of competent intelligence for social participants in daily life.  Such creatures are able to work at repetitive tasks, raising food, maintaining domestic animals and other day-to-day social duties without intelligence checks.

They are, however, challenged to understand matters outside their immediate needs and positions.  Even if they participate in religion, it is more mystery than belief. They are comfortable at festivals and sport; but discussions of current affairs and politics confuse them.  They are apt to ignore the doings of the world.  If someone should explain such things to them, it would be an intelligence check.

Low intelligence creatures have access to the full range of weapons and the use of common implements without needing a check.  Surprise in combat operates normally.

Ability Stats

Also known as ability scores, abilities, attributes, primary characteristics or simply “stats.” These describe the limitations of a character’s prowess in both mind and body. These principle stats are possessed by everyone and include:
Strength ~ physical musculature and power
Intelligence ~ problem solving ability and alertness
Wisdom ~ education and willingness to learn from mistakes
Constitution ~ sturdiness and overall health
Dexterity ~ agility and reflex
Charisma ~ physical attractiveness, persuasiveness and personal magnetism

Both creatures and characters possess these ability stats in some variation, ranging from 0 to 25. Humanoid characters possess a range from 3 to 18 ~ which, when generated randomly, is a number produced by 3d6.

It is helpful to the character’s survival for stats to be exceptional (with a rating of 15 or 16) in at least two ability stats or gifted (17 or 18) in at least one. When creating a player character, the players increase their odds of obtaining higher ability scores by throwing 4d6 and counting the highest three dice.

Because player characters can gain stats higher than 18 only through adjustments due to age or race, it is generally viewed that stats between 19 and 25 are those reserved for enormously powerful creatures like giants or for the gods. Only weak and helpless creatures have stats that are less than 3.

Ability stats come into play when characters must test their ability stats against tasks they wish to accomplish. This is called an “ability check.”  Ability stats also determine which character classes that characters can become, which is detailed under Player Characters.

Ability stats can be drained or augmented by spells, magic items and creatures possessed of natural powers. In all circumstances, the character’s PRESENT stat is always counted towards ability checks and other game elements. For example, a mage whose intelligence is reduced below 9, either temporarily or permanently would lose the ability to cast spells and skills associated with that class. In such cases, the game presumes that the character’s knowledge is restored with the restoration of the ability stat.