Sunday, March 31, 2019


An ability stat, describing the movements and actions of the bone structures, placed in two groups. The first describes the movement and coordination of the arms, legs and other large body parts, related to running, crawling and swimming. The second involves smaller movements of the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes, related to smaller actions such as picking up objects, writing well and even blinking. These two forms comprise the character’s coordination.

Dexterity also includes reflexes, skill at targeting opponents and reaction to immediate threats, as determined by the game mechanic, initiative. The table shown indicates an adjustment that dexterity gives to the character’s armour class (AC). This is the amount by which AC is improved. The negative dexterity of 4, for example, would make the character’s AC worse by three points ~ it would not adjust a 10 AC to 7, but rather to 13. Conversely, a 17 dexterity would improve a 10 AC to 7.

The adjustment to hit with missile weapons is alike to the character’s adjustment to initiative. For example, a 16 dexterity would provide +2 to the d20 die to hit with a bow, and would also provide +2 to the d6 roll to determine who attacks first.

See Player Characters


Player characters are not immune to the possibility of death, which may result from many factors: combat, disease, dehydration, necrotic damage, wounds, old age or the many possible effects resulting from the natural environment are merely the more predictable possibilities.

Now and then, characters will die through no fault of their own; they may have taken every precaution, and still an unexpected roll of the die results in the character’s death. Such moments, though potentially very distressing, should be acknowledged as part of the game. Indeed, the chance of death is critical to maintaining the game’s tension and momentum. After all, the players have succeeded in killing many an enemy with a freakish roll.

Unlike the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, I do not agree that the DM has the right to arbitrate this situation. However demoralizing it may be for the party to lose a beloved character (who might die in a manner to make them beyond resurrection, such as being buried by a mountain or incinerated in a lake of lava), death is a part of the game. Ultimately, death builds character and ~ in the long run ~ produces sweeter victories in the face of great danger. The death of a character is never the end of the game.

When a character dies, the player has the option of beginning again and rolling a new character, or attempting to return their beloved character from the dead, with the use of death’s door, raise dead, resurrection, reincarnation, alter reality or wishing.

See Animate Dead

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Forced Activity Checks

Also known as forced march, this page describes checks made against exhaustion. Depending upon the character’s constitution, there is a point when further activity is impossible. The activity checks chart shown indicates where this limit begins for humanoids, depending on their constitution.

The columns under Hours of Activity without a Check describes how long the individual can perform that activity before they must check to see if fatigue denies them the ability to continue:
Travel includes movement on foot or when mounted. Persons carried along in carts, wagons and carriages are considered to be resting.
Hard physical labour describes work that consistently strains the muscles and produces sweat. This includes the carrying of gear that reduces movement by 2 actions points or more (see encumbrance). This also includes driving a vehicle.
Light physical labour describes work that can be performed without straining the muscles or producing sweat. This includes any carrying of gear that reduces movement by 1 action point. This also includes controlling an animal mount.
Mental labour describes work that can be done with no more than a writing implement and mental thought. This includes learning spells.

The maximum combat rounds per day is subject to rules on combat fatigue, limiting the total number of combat rounds that can be performed in sequence before rest must be taken. Otherwise, it describes the total number of combat rounds that can be fought without experiencing fatigue.

Once a character has travelled, worked or fought to their maximum potential in hours or rounds, they must make a constitution check to determine if they are able to press on for another hour, or for another 1-8 combat rounds (roll in advance and let the player know). If the character succeeds, they’re constitution is temporarily reduced by 1 point.

When the hour has passed, or they have momentarily rested from combat according to the combat fatigue rules, they may again make a constitution check, with their adjusted constitution. Another success will mean another loss of 1 point, and continued action for another similar period of time. This may continue until the constitution check fails.

Once a check has failed, the character is considered “half-spent.” They can no longer move under their own power, nor defend themselves (see helpless defenders). However, if they can be helped along by any other whose weight is at least 80% of the half-spent person’s weight, half-spent persons are able to continue on. Half-spent persons make no further checks; however, any supporter who then fails their check becomes half-spent and can no longer provide aid.

Once any half-spent person has had ten minutes to be still and stiffen up, they will become fully spent. At this point, they can be carried or dragged, but they can no longer be induced to move under their own power. Nor can they defend themselves. If collapsed, they must make a constitution check every half-hour, or lose consciousness. Efforts to move or defend themselves will similarly reduce them to unconsciousness.

Malady Checks

Maladies are disorders that arise from everyday activities, in particular bedevilling characters with low constitutions. These include bruises, hit point damage, injuries and potentially lethal afflictions and diseases, resulting from what can be an every day check for some persons.

A hard bruise will make walking alone too difficult, so that the character will need to be helped along. There is a 50% chance that the delicate character will not be able to ride, either. See injury for further information about twisted ankles and sprained wrists. Results of 91-96 will always be an acute affliction. Results of 97-99 will be mild, but they may affect any part of the body, and be either acute or chronic. Results of 00 may affect any part of the body, may be acute or chronic and may be mild, severe or terminal.

While those with average to high constitution can avoid these incidents with little difficulty, those with a less than 8 constitution can suffer terribly from exposure to even the most common places. The protected environment table below provides a description of places, indoors and outdoors, where persons of a certain constitution can consider themselves “safe.” Venturing outside that limitation will result in a 2% malady check to determine if a malady has occurred.

The location column is cumulative, so that a character with an 8 constitution would be safe in each sort of area up to and including common inn rooms and tents. Reading the temperature column, the same person would be comfortable in temperature grades from chilly to balmy. This assumes, however, that the character remains in these locations all day ~ that the character does does not also walk on a city street, step into a borderland area, visit a bazaar or shop, etc. Even a momentary visit to any such place would threaten the individual’s constitution, and they would need to make a malady check (see above).

A description of the locations is as follows:
  • Avenues and plazas are stone-surfaced urban spaces that are cleaned regularly.
  • Back lanes are urban roads and streets frequented by working persons, with dirt or clay surfaces and are rarely cleaned.
  • Barren fringes describes the edges of wastelands, which may be snow fields, mountains, bare tundra, dense rainforest or deep desert.
  • Bazaars include all places where shopping may occur.
  • Borderlands are hinterland areas within 20 miles of cultivated, arable land.
  • Character houses are those specifically owned by the character or the character’s biological family.
  • Common inn rooms includes all inside places within the inn, as well as any attached taverns that can be entered from inside.
  • Cultivated rural lands do not include forest reserves for hunting, but do include orchards.
  • Dry dungeons are worked areas above the subterranean water table.
  • Natural caves are underground areas that have not been worked.
  • Private homes are those where outsider visitors are not allowed to stay overnight, nor store their things there.
  • Private inn rooms include only the room itself; to avoid a check, a character with 6 or less constitution would need to remain the whole day in the room to avoid the need of a check.
  • Sewers include any underground area where offal accumulates.
  • Sleeping in open assumes the use of a blanket.
  • Slums are areas where non-workers dwell, typically associated with considerable offal.
  • Temperate wetlands are bogs and fens.
  • Tents are a minimum 64 square foot cloth structure with floor, that can be kept clean; in subtropical and tropical regions, it must be protected with gauze against insects.
  • Tropical wetlands include salt marshes and inundated swamps.
  • Verdant wilderness is potentially productive land that has not yet been civilized.
  • Wet dungeons are worked areas below the water table.

See Campaign

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


An ability stat, the measure of a character’s physical fitness, health and fortitude. Together, these affect the character’s hit points and the chance of surviving against system shocks, both medical and otherwise, as well as the shock of being raised or resurrected from the dead. The stat is of considerable importance to all character classes, though it is not the primary attribute of any class.

The table shown indicates the adjustments to the character’s hit points, as affected by constitution. Where a penalty is called for, note that this can never reduce the number of constitution points gained from going up a level to a number less than 1, which is the minimum number of hit points a level can add.

Bonuses indicated in brackets apply only to assassins, fighters, paladins and rangers. All other classes gain a +2 bonus to their hit points from a 17 or 18 constitution.

The survival rolls columns show the percentage chance of the character surviving either being returned from the dead or system shock. Raised from the dead includes the spells raise dead, resurrection and death’s door. The constitution score describes the maximum number of times that a character can be returned from the dead.

System shock includes attacks that cause rapid aging, petrification, hits from natural lightning bolts and similar effects. Some diseases may produce the need for a system shock roll. Contrary to AD&D rules, polymorph and shape change spells and abilities do not require a system shock roll.

Further checks related to constitution include forced activity checks and malady checks.

Description of Values

The following attempts to capture some feeling for the amount of constitution possessed by characters, both from the character’s perspective and that of others.

In some ways, those with a high amount of constitution will present many of the characteristics, social interests and natures of those with less ability. A full representation of any degree of the ability stat must take into account that not every person of a particular amount of constitution will adhere to the framework presented. This is only a model upon which further assumptions can be made.

Delicate (3 pts.)

Ordinarily, those with a delicate constitution would choose to be housebound, as there are so few places they can visit safely. They are usually sickly members of a family, who are cared for by siblings and relatives. They will usually be very thin and gaunt in appearance, or have the appearance of malnutrition.

They often possess a serious, chronic and debilitating condition, as the character background generator would determine. Otherwise, their daily lives are fraught with difficulties. They are usually in some kind of pain; the swelling of joints and limbs, constantly aching muscles, severe migraine headaches and bowel troubles are all common, often daily experiences. They have a minimal appetite; they must eat soft, usually severely boiled food; meat is difficult, unless it is a very little fish. Small bits of alcohol are intolerable, causing stomach pains. Any flavoured food might result in vomiting. They lack a sexual appetite. When resting or sitting, they will spontaneously lapse into sleep. Often, they suffer from hand tremors. To rest and regain hit points, they must have a proper tent to sleep in. Most are bedridden.

The only class training they may receive will be as illusionists, the spells of which are thought-based and require little effort.

Frail (4 pts.)

Those with a frail constitution have more freedom to seek other safe spaces, particularly to escape a summer or winter season in exchange for a milder climate, by visiting relatives and friends abroad, where they will stay for weeks and even months at a time. Preferring to give themselves to mental activities, they help by keeping the family finances or acting as record keepers. Resting in bed or upon a chaise is often necessary.

Discomfort is a way of life. Because they use their hands quite a lot, they often suffer from arthritis and other similar aches. When used, all their joints will swell. They prefer soft foods, a little fish, no alcohol or narcotics, except to aid in pain relief. An unsettled stomach is usual. Sharp headaches will seize them, lasting an hour or two, and sometimes all day. Their bowels give them much trouble. They have little to no interest in sex. In body type, they are often thin and tremulous, though occasionally some will show signs of malnutrition.

Those levelled persons, who can only be illusionists, may opt for an occasional physically altering spell, but most are inclined to concentrate upon mental conjurations.

Weak (5 pts.)

Such persons that have a weak constitution are like to venture into the daylight for brief periods, if the outdoors can be softened for their needs. They dislike work but will stoically accept it, though it brings them discomfort and distress. They must rest a fair bit between activities, laying down or sitting.

They suffer aches and pains through the first half of the day, as they don’t sleep well, and whenever the weather is outside their comfort. Their diet will include a morsel of meat, mixed with assorted gentle foods. Heartburn and poor digestion do give them trouble. A headache is common, but sometimes they do get through a day without one. They have a small interest in sex. As they sometimes feel they could almost break free of their weakness, depression is a constant shadow. They are often irritable because of it. If not actually thin, in body type they will exhibit signs of loose flesh and a sallow color.

As levelled persons, they are limited to the illusionist track; physical tricks are often chosen as spells, even if this does require some effort in throwing or body movement.

Faint (6 pts.)

While studious and interested in being a part of life, faint persons are often just too tired to sustain a long day of activity. As such, they often retire for periods in the morning and afternoon, turning in early during the evening. They will self-select the least physical tasks for themselves, letting stronger persons do the hard work. They often engage a personal servant, if they are able.

For two or three hours in the morning, they suffer from severe stiffness from poor sleep. They can eat a few ounces of meat and their diets comfortably include most fruits and vegetables. They will have bouts with indigestion but not every day. They may allow themselves a nice beer or even a small amount of strong ale, but only a few sips of the latter. They are hit quite hard by alcohol. They experience an ordinary sex drive but do not make active lovers. Headaches are unusual but can be harsh. They may be irritable. They can experience depression for two or three days at a time, but then all will be well for a week or so. They tend to be corpulent and fleshy, or somewhat too thin.

Such persons are able to be bards, clerics, druids, mages, illusionists and thieves, though always pursuing the lightest physical professions in those classes. For example, a thief will be a forger; a cleric will be a theologian; a bard is apt to be a writer.

Unfit (7 pts.)

Resilient enough to become part of social situations, unfit persons will often be the first to drop out of an activity. At the end of the day, they are the last to finish and the last to make it home. They sweat profusely from hard work, which they are at least able to do. They sleep a great deal. Taking the watch is very hard.

Upon awaking in the morning, they are slow to get on their boots and get dressed. They are slow eaters, though they eat a normal diet. And often they eat too much, sometimes as an excuse not to get started. They are slow to stretch out and get going. They drag their feet. They are invariably sore and often prone to complain about it. They will find any opportunity to nap. Weight is a chronic issue. They prefer ale to wine, which is a little strong, while harder liquors are unpleasant to their gut.

Classically, they’re familiar in their role as guards, as being unfit is the minimum constitution for a fighter. As clerics, they prefer the life of a friar. A thief will like easy work as a charlatan or some other poser. Bards may like non-physical clowning or acting. Spellcasters will prefer sedate occupations, such as a druid that enjoys long relaxed days studying the trees, or nights studying the sky.

Ill-conditioned (8 pts.)

Often able to blame their constitution on their corpulence, their large bones or being a “low energy” person, ill-conditioned persons are usually quite comfortable in their idle, leisurely lifestyles. Oh, they could perhaps take the time to get into shape, but they lack the willpower or the sensibility of it, or they simply don’t care. They’re used to themselves.

They do wake up very stiff, but it passes after an hour or so. They don’t sleep that well, but there’s always some time in the day they can catch up with a nap. They see nothing wrong with their extra weight. True enough, the body can let a person down occasionally, but that’s life. The thing is to appreciate the subtle pleasures of ale or wine equally; perhaps a rare spirit, but only rare, because it does upset the stomach.

Ill-conditioned is the minimum constitution for an assassin, who like other fighters will seek occupations where they’re able to hold their own without having to keep up with others, as private guards, muleskinners, horsemen and the like. Bards, whose stomachs require some attending but who can eat most things if cooked well, will tend to gastronomy. Most other character classes will seek comfortable ~ though not lazy ~ professions.

Sufficient (9 pts.)

Describes the usual manner of health for the period, being someone that is slightly less than sound in body and limb, yet able. Making up the stock of farmers, labourers and others who are beaten down by daily toil, blemishing their physical condition, these folk possess the constitution and hardiness to exert themselves at their tasks.

Most have a satisfying complexion, with a taste for strong drink and ale. They have energy at the end of the day to spend, with fit bodies that are nevertheless worn in places. They are sore much of the time, which disturbs their sleep. They feel fair upon waking, and stretch easily as they head out into their day. Each feels comfortable in their bodies, without much complaint.

Among the fighters and assassins, an occasional paladin can count a constitution of this type. bards, clerics, druids, illusionist, mages and thieves are all the common breed of their classes, with slightly less than average in ability and yet passable with regards to their fortitude.

Healthy (10 pts.)

Those characters with a healthy constitution have no daily complaints about the soundness of their bodies. They are fit and trim, in good shape, ready and able to take on life’s challenges. Healthy persons handle stress well, work well, are patient in their activities and are as full of vigour in the evenings as they are in the morning.

Healthy people are predisposed to laughing easily, are talkative and find it easy to rest and relax when working. Their joints are loose and comfortable even after a day of hard labour. They have strong appetites and like to eat meat and vegetables rather than heavier fair. They have a fit body, toned and firm, with a healthy skin color.

Characters of level will be motivated in their actions and goals. They may apply themselves to the deliberate practice of their professions without being weighed down by fatigue or malnutrition, so that many rise to some amount of authority.

Sturdy (11 pts.)

Those who possess sturdy constitutions will be solidly built, athletic, often rugged and vigorous in their movements and their condition. Among their peers, they are often the most reliable, the one fellow in a group of common miners, farmers, sailors or other labouring groups who will go a step farther in getting the job done.

Feeling active most of the time, even upon the moment of waiting, sturdy folk are gregarious. They thrive upon the company of others, they enjoy a good stretch of the legs in the evening and often feel energized enough to perform even harder labour. Their muscles show a distinct definition, and rarely do they feel any strain upon them, even at the end of the day. They sleep deep at night and are never drowsy during the day. Often, when they work very hard, they experience a sense of euphoria. Before battle, they feel encouraged and brave.

In addition to other classes, monks must have at least a sturdy constitution. Such persons, whatever the class, are driven to achieve. The cleric that gives long sermons, the mage or illusionist able to work long into the night, the druid that makes long journeys into mountain fastnesses … each is a symbol of the common, hardest working member of their professions.

Hale and Hearty (12 pts.)

Persons that have hale and hearty constitutions are full of interest, possessing the inner spirit to push them forward. Their constitution leaves them unsatisfied. They want more. They thrive on newness, like others of higher constitution also sometimes do. They dislike inactivity, inertia and the repetition of everyday tasks. This grants them tenacious zeal that is applied to their intellect, their strength or their charisma.

A hale and hearty person enjoy vigorous exercise first thing in the morning, hurling themselves out of bed, anxious to take on the day. They are light and bouncy on their feet. Before battle, they are ready, keen to get started. Their appetite demands a diet of interesting things, spices, pates, caviar, confectionary … anything that is strange and different. Their aroused by perfumes. Copulation produces a state of euphoria. Their skin gives a healthy glow.

Characters with at least this much constitution will venture out as explorers, settlers, missionaries and the like. They have a fascination with foreign places and with travel. This makes them among the chosen to suppress colonies, lead embassies or military operations, sail the seven seas or venture into the deepest dungeons, confident that their adaptability and courage will win the day.

Tough (13 pts.)

Nearly impervious to the elements, largely untouched by pain, those with a tough constitution are hardwearing, long lasting souls. They can be onerous, when pressed by an unsympathetic wilderness or the merciless implacability of fate; but they’re never afraid, and never in doubt that they’ll bear the worst that’s to come.

Tough persons can sleep anywhere, in any conditions, and wake up ready to work or fight. When they breathe in fresh air, their lungs and bodies fill with the heartiness of it like a drug. They will grin and laugh with others in the face of disaster. Before a battle, they feel tingly and excited to face the enemy. They are spontaneous, ready to fell a huge tree one moment, or whirl into a dance if the cadence of a musician’s tune will let them. They are raucous, fun-loving and noble. When they are happy, their faces flare with a bright, cheery color.

As levelled classes, they like the most difficult work, the most dangerous tasks. They have the nature to carry others with them, to treat every bad moment as an opportunity for a joke. They will always give their whole selves to their calling ~ and as such, will often excel where others have failed.

Robust (14 pts.)

Even in their youth, those of a robust constitution have already gained the confidence of a much older person. They have little left to prove to themselves. They will do what is necessary; go where it is necessary to go. In personality, they are profoundly calm, certain, expressing a remarkable fortitude and patience that offers assuredness and respect with the need for words or boasting.

The robust character has no difficulty keeping awake for guard duty, being possessed of tenacity and grit. When passionate, they will pound on the table when emotive. They will speak economically, as though words were money spent. In listening to beautiful music, their bodies are so fine tuned that they are often possessed with frisson. When facing battle, they are pumped, their blood hot. They will shout warnings to the other side, backslapping their companions to urge them on.

This is the ranger’s minimum constitution. Levelled characters of this constitution, because their number is far greater than those with higher constitution, are the pillar upon which societies rest. Their patience shores up the army; their determination overcomes those trials that would starve the country or see it brought to ruin by disaster.

Stalwart (15 pts.)

Strongly built and high-powered persons with a 15 constitution display a vigour that belittles the appearance of most. Though they may not be strong, they will appear to be of such profound health that they will be perceived to be strong. Onlookers will suppose they are a champion, or a hero of some kind ~ while the character will stride like a panther: one moment sitting or reclining in place, the next, tearing apart all enemies without hesitation.

The stalwart character lives in the moment. Filled with irrepressible energy, they will prowl at all hours, waiting for their next opportunity to bring change. If an intellectual, they will rehearse their speeches; they will talk for hours about their newest designs; they will tirade against injustice. And if things become violent, they will explode with adrenaline and endorphins. They will stride forward to catcall the enemy, shouting, roaring, relishing the violence that is to come.

Such persons are hardly to be restrained as levelled characters. They seek action, sensation, thrills. Only their physical limitations, such as they are, force them to submit to a moment of peace.

Formidable (16 pts.)

Atop the world, these persons are blessed with the ability, the fitness and the qualities necessary to do or achieve anything. Possessed of a constant cheerfulness, despite their physique, their sinewy bodies and overwhelming health, they are possessed of a constant cheerfulness. They fear nothing. Every challenge is another opportunity for greatness.

They never feel doubt. They never have headaches, or a poor sleep. Their libido is very strong and, despite their looks, they produce a musk that is deeply compelling. They need no more than six hours of sleep a night. Before battle, they will bang their weapons against their armour, warming up for the coming fight, smiling and happy. They are tireless and nearly always ready to lift themselves up and begin again.

Redoubtable (17 pts.)

Tremendously intense, these capable persons inspire fear and respect amongst all that they meet. Others of lesser stature do not seek to measure themselves against such persons; it is understood, except by their peers, that the matter is settled. Driven by the will to master the very earth with their raw power, some of these redoubtable persons are almost incapable of speech, except in the face of competition.

Before a battle, they will be wild and magnificent, shouting with fury, slapping their weapons against their own fellows in their lust for battle. When the battle ends, it will take a long time for such persons to calm themselves, restoring the deep, quiet churning in their sinews, until they can “live” again. They are competitive and, when alone, often euphoric. Pain means little or nothing to them.

Awe-inspiring (18 pts.)

Though not actually capable of staggering their enemies with the reverential respect awarded to the gods, the awe-inspiring person will create a sense of astonishment and unrestrained admiration among onlookers. Splendid and impressive in raw physical appearance, even if they are twisted and ugly, others will stare open-mouthed at their countenance. They will often feel like gods; and depending on their wisdom, may allow themselves the virtues and vices of gods.

They have a stomach of iron, and live in a persistent haze of euphoria given to them by their own bodies. They can hardly feel pain. In the company of their desire, they are hypersexual and are often welcomed as physical partners, if not as objects of matrimony. In a battle, they are titans, roaring as they swing their weapons, fiery in nature and breathtaking in courage, resolve and fearlessness.

See Also,

College (bardic)

Fellowship organizations composed of multiple structures collectively known as campuses, offering training in the arts. A college will also act as a social and professional community for bards, usually local but potentially international. Colleges may be independent, or they may possess satellites scattered in multiple kingdoms. Some are more prestigious than others.

The most influential are those whose focus is the higher arts, related to music, painting, lyrics and poetry, or sculpture. Lesser colleges provide training in dance, physical arts like juggling, acting and drama, and many physical arts, such as art pottery or printing. Bards will often train in more than one form of art, in order to round out their desire to express unique and lasting works.

Colleges will teach any who can provide the tuition, but colleges will also support adequately proficient bards by offering them a monthly or yearly stipend. To receive this, the bard must audition.

Colleges will usually be found in cities that have upwards of 16,000 persons. Musical and dramatic colleges are often called, “conservatories.” Physical arts, such as dance, are usually practiced at “academies.”

See Also,
Player Characters

Monday, March 25, 2019


An ability stat, the measure of the character’s combined physical appearance, persuasiveness and personal magnetism, ranging from a dearth of positive characteristics to an impressive range of social acumen.

Dealings with NPCs, including hirelings, followers, ordinary persons, officials and a wide variety of creatures and monsters will ultimately be resolved through an interactive mechanic composed of conflict cards.

As henchmen are considered fanatically loyal and are run by the player characters, their loyalty is not affected by their liege’s charisma.

The table shown indicates charisma’s adjustment to standard morale, as well as the maximum number of henchmen that a character can ultimately receive as they gain levels. Remember that an increase in morale is not an improvement, as it indicates the number on 2d6 that must be thrown in order for a non-player character to maintain its will to fight.

Description of Values
Measuring charisma is an effort to quantify the effects the ability stat has upon the reactions of others, their spontaneous treatment of the individual and their overall generosity to award the individual with opportunities and status. Low charisma individuals are met with revulsion and distaste, treated with disdain and usually ostracized or left out of social gatherings and organizations. High charisma individuals are met with liking and interest, are treated as desirable and often rise to positions of authority and trust within organizations.

The increase in charisma from ugly to bewitching compounds benefits that each amount of charisma above that level also enjoys (except where it is superseded by a more rewarding benefit). Creatures are capable of being particularly cruel to individuals of low charisma, whatever they might do; while often awarding those of high charisma more than they really deserve, as they often do little to earn it. 

The descriptions below only partly describe player characters. For such persons as those detailed here, it will often take years of commitment to rise through the ranks and be discovered for their charisma. Those with very high charismas, above 14, will be much less common than the dice might imaginably dictate. Some may be born with a 16 or more charisma, but a harsh life, accidents, poor health, disease and other consequences may severely diminish their potential. Only those charismatic who are born at least partly to privilege will remain so long enough to enjoy it. Players, of course, fall into this category. They, too, are unusual, even those whose fathers and mothers were common (though the character background generator adjusts their backgrounds with their charisma).

In large degree, it is suggested that a DM recognize that an extraordinarily beautiful and pleasant person moving about a late medieval or early modern world casually, as a cleric, bard, paladin or druid, would likely be seen as something of a freak. The list below is intended to effect that depiction.

Ugly (3 pts.)

Reactions to such persons will often be a mixture of repugnance and horror, as ugly persons are generally misshapen, frightful and even ghastly in appearance. Unusual color, a rank odour and outward signs that are suggestive of disease (even if no disease is present) is repellent and produces a strong aversion.

Treatment is harsh, as the ugly character tends to be manic, aggressive, needy and often unable to make themselves clearly understood, often due to the shape of their mouths and their lack of confidence, others will treat them with contempt, disrespect, abuse and verbal derision. Mockery is a common response.

Generosity is utterly lacking for such persons; it is extremely rare that they are given a place or means to make a living, unless it is in some role that is wretched or very unpleasant. They are often the victim of some person who cruelly exploits their dreadful condition. Otherwise, they are often too ugly to even beg, and are thus reduced to scavenging for food. Some are taken in and taught to be assassins ~ the only character class such persons can aspire to be, as no other profession would be moved to train them.

Ill-favoured (4 pts.)

Reactions are often a strong dislike and disinclination to interact with such persons, as the ill-favoured often appear to be physically damaged, demented or mutilated in appearance. Often deathly pale, possessed of straggling hair, off-set eyes or a strong odour, the response is usually abhorrence. However, there is a softening of the appearance occasionally, that will move another person to a sense of pity for the poor creature.

Treatment is inflexible, as the ill-favoured character cannot help their boorish mannerisms, their odd-pitched speech and their corrupt use of language; they are shuffled from place to place, living by handout, forced to feel ashamed for themselves and friendless. But there is little hate; merely callous disregard. As ever, only assassins would train such a person to level status.

Generosity permits very little. They may knock on a door in very poor times. Some will let them find shelter in an airy stable or behind a stoop. No employment would be given; only beggary is available. As before, such persons drift into the orbit of assassins, who look for persons like this with the other necessary characteristics to become heartless killers.

Base (5 pts.)

Reactions possess a hesitation to shun the person, but still to push them along so as to relieve themselves of the person’s unwanted presence. The base individual is vulgar in appearance, unclean, a whiff of odour, while disagreeable in face and posture. While distaste is rare, others will be sharply displeased or dismayed at the individual’s presence, urging them to move on and mind their business elsewhere. This is often said with some sympathy, supported by some small bit of charity … a copper coin or a direction to a proprietor to get the base person a bit of bread.

Treatment includes distaste and an urge to cross the street rather than meet the individual, but not everyone feels that way. There is daily humour at the expense of the person, but it is jovial, not cruel. Others treat the person as “a part” of their community, though from habit rather than warmth.

Generosity allows for open beggary, which even allows the person to be treated with momentary kindness. No other place would be given, except for a modest permission to allow them a permanent shelter, though an unpleasant one. Even now, only assassins would train the person to have a level.

Homely (6 pts.)

Reactions may be a sniff of the air and a moderate displeasure; the homely person’s face and body is off-putting, being bent over, gangly and somewhat lopsided. They will have a cheerful smile, however and are seen to be only unfortunate; if met, they’re rarely acknowledged, and even more rarely noticed. Others will usually given them little to no attention.

Treatment would consist of benign disinterest. Others would pass on the street with a slight nod, if giving any notice at all. Still, no one challenges their presence in the community. Folk sell them goods, exchange with the person, give a tacit approval and speak well of the person, somewhat.

Generosity provides a form of necessary work, as a gong collector, rat catcher, gravedigger or similar occupation, too mean for an ordinary folk. Some will be levelled; a fighter that’s gone to war; a ranger acting as a gamekeeper; an independent friar; a small-time thief or assassin; perhaps a very private monk, mage or illusionist, in this latter case most likely from far away and without any ties. Most would know nothing of their levelled ability, as they will use their skills infrequently, not wishing to bring attention and perhaps frighten others, who would see them as a threat.

Plain (7 pts.)

Reactions are lukewarm and indifferent, with a tacit approval that the individual belongs as part of the scene. A mild greeting is normal. Often passed over but usually acknowledged. Plain individuals lack any sort of distinctive feature, with a modest mix of eyes, nose and mouth, suggesting rural habits, honest intents and an artless lack of pretension. They are nodded to or quietly acknowledged as they pass.

Treatment is cooperative, sometimes helpful; persons are likely to remain alone all their lives, but might become a helpmate to a commonplace person or act as a servant in a household. They will be gruff, impatient and bitter. Most know their name; others will listen to their opinions but will put little store by them; occasionally, to gain support, another might ask a plain person to give their opinion.

Generosity includes, as said, with opportunities to be a servant. Most often, they work for family. As mages and illusionists, they may set up a tiny, unobtrusive shop, that will receive few customers. Some are morticians. A cleric will be an unpleasant deacon, managing a few pupils. A fighter will be a private guard for a single employer ~ and never part of a larger entity, where they would not get along with others. A ranger is most likely to act alone in some capacity, as hunters or private wardens. Assassins or thieves would roam as solitary criminals. Most common plain persons would have mediocre, painstaking work to do, with little to look forward to day-to-day.

Commonplace (8 pts.)

Reactions will tend to be welcoming, if muted. While not noticed as an important person by any means, commonplace persons will be granted the same initial reception as anyone else. In appearance, they’re merely people. It will be noticed by such persons, perhaps because they come closer than those with less charisma, that there are “average folks” who are friendly and gentry who tend to overlook such persons. Commonplace persons will generally find love with others of their charisma and social standing.

Treatment is an everyday acceptance, as the individual will most likely have an extended family, responsibilities, a plot of land, a secondary skill, and compatriots of about the same level of charisma.  Most others in their immediate orbit will treat them with belonging. Outsiders, particularly the gentry, will treat them with some level of disdain, as poor folks.

Generosity dictates their lives will revolve around work, seasonal events, births, deaths and little opportunity past their mundane lives. However, this offers a comfort, as well as knowledge that although their lives are dull, they are sound and productive. Most levels conform to their kind, performing what skills they have for the benefit of their kin. Clerics alone stand out; with this level of charisma, they are accepted as minor priests and functionaries inside the church system, though rarely do they ever become important and never do they preach to a wide congregation.

Neighbourly (9 pts.)

Reactions will be a strong salutation, followed by several interested questions before personable matters are dropped in favour of other things. A neighbour is rugged, fine to look at, with a gentle charm. No strong bond is evident, but even with strangers there’s a sense by appearance, expression and stance that this is at least a fellow countryman, individual or person of similar breeding to the norm. Some consideration is paid by the gentry to a neighbour; but a stranger among the gentry will give no notice. A neighbour might find love among others with a point more in charisma and a social standing slightly higher.

Treatment is a low-born respect, as they have excelled somewhat among their commonplace peers. They’re given the best tables at the worker’s tavern, they are respected by guards and by officials. Their weddings are usually publicly celebrated; and at festivals they are often chosen first to compete in games. To the gentry, they are treated as peaceable, but rarely are their names remembered.

Generosity permits these lower middle class persons are upstanding members of their guilds, town watchmen and minor officials. Some are farmer leaders and foremen; most are not, and at best lower level authority is all a few are offered. They do lead healthy lives, however, and can usually trace their family half a dozen generations, at least, into the past.

Friendly (10 pts.)

Reactions to such persons will be a strong hail, with others going out of their way in public places to make sure a greeting occurs. A friendly fellow smiles, is easy to talk to, will laugh at a joke and is open to what others want to talk about. They will be more sympathetic, causing others to express their like and appreciation often. Friendly persons find committed love among others up to a 12 charisma, with a fair status above their own. They may dabble in relationships with persons up to 14.

Treatment is kindness, as they pass on the street. Well spoken of, they are friendly with guards and officials, Gentry are apt to notice them and converse for a moment or two.

Generosity enables them to become relatively successful, giving them strong houses, yards, comforts for their children and contact with family in other parts. They are more in low-level positions of authority, particularly in guilds; a reeve or hayward might be friendly, as well as a head guard, a local apothecary, a kindly minister or a willing scout and guide.

Affable (11 pts.)

Reactions by others, upon greetings, will include genuine concern for the affable person’s situation, while others will certainly beg the person’s good wishes. Folk will gather as they appear at a tavern or in the market place, to share stories. These persons may find committed love from anyone, and are often courted.

Treatment often includes others that laugh at their jokes and see them as important residents in the community, or as interesting persons that are passing through. Buying a drink for an affable person is a common request.

Generosity enables them to set up independent workshops or become senior members of guilds, while they are often approached with duties for the village or local quarter. They will often agree to become toastmasters or to head a small welcoming committee. Levelled persons are celebrated for their skills and are often encouraged to send their children to distant places for training.

Warm-hearted (12 pts.)

Reactions will be to approach the individual with concerns for the person’s welfare and situation, most likely offering a good meal upon greeting if known to the area, in an attempt to share company with the person. Others will be anxious to share news, tell the latest gossip and positively remark on the warm-hearted person’s appearance and anything new they might see.

Treatment encourages these people to sit and converse, which they will do while their friends will assume their workload. Warm-hearted people provide emotional sustenance and encouragement to others, who treat them as special benefactors.

Generosity will make allowances, so that in times of hardship they are given welfare and support, both for them and their families. They are rarely evicted; someone will find a way to create work for them or pay their rent. If necessary, they will be given light duties to perform on behalf of the town. In general, however, they rise to be important leaders of guilds, associations and collectives. Many will use their personalities to ensure receiving training when they are quite young.

Social (13 pts.)

Reactions will be for strangers to notice the person as they move up the street and to introduce themselves politely, even if they are strangers. Those of 8 or less charisma will hang back, intimidated. If known to the area, invitations to important events will often occur, with promises that a special table will be arranged, or a space at the head table. The gentry will view the individual as one of their own.

Treatment insists they have a special set of gifts that enable them to liaison between different customs and circles, as they are welcomed often even by those with which they share little in common. They are listened to fervently, their words are considered to be truth and rarely are they successfully questioned in public.

Generosity encourages them to set aside labour entirely and be organizers, courtiers, hosts, social reformers, political leaders and others like voices. They are very busy. They move behind doors where those with less charisma would hardly be allowed. They exist in large enough numbers that they make up the majority of the cultural hoi polloi. Those lacking skills may still move in these corridors, though less well ~ somehow, on charm, they get by.

Chivalrous (14 pts.)

Reactions of all persons, except the gentry, will be somewhat intimidated, but nevertheless very welcoming. There will be a distinct use of genuflection (show deference) from those of 10 or less charisma, while others will hail and engage in short, polite conversations. Invitations, when they occur, will occasionally arise from the middle classes and the gentry, but the lower classes will be satisfied to gaze on the person from afar. Shopkeepers will rush to please.

Treatment of these persons is a mixture of homage and appreciation for their contributions. These are especially celebrated entities whose capabilities outweigh the gentry around them. They move about in carriages, with retainers and hangers-on, with others who appeal to them for moments of their time.

Generosity enables them to become captains of the guard, respected courtiers, persons in charge of the finances and running of the area; though of course, subordinate to aristocrats with titles. Those without special knowledge or wisdom are given duties that fit their limited skills.

Fair (15 pts.)

Reactions of the non-gentry will be muted and deeply respectful, accepting company if it is given but never seeking to impose. The gentry will, if given the opportunity, seek to adopt the person, bringing them around to the house, introducing them to children of marriageable age, encouraging the person to begin in business or some other respectable activity. The gentry will, in fact, be something of a pest in this regard.

Treatment begins to reflect the relative rarity of these persons. As persons of consequence, they do not have to work so hard as their lesser peers to be heard in the halls of power. Even if they are not especially bright, they are usually found a place, as they are a pleasure to be near, for persons of great stature.

Generosity allows many who do not have skills to marry into the upper echelons. Some may obtain power through less savoury means, as gigolos and courtesans ~ but most exploit their skills while around them, they are celebrated for their personalities alone.

Beautiful (16 pts.)

Reactions will be strong and highly appreciative. Most persons, even the gentry, will tend to give space and respectfully give acknowledgement. All persons, from the shopkeeper up to and including the gentry, will show varying levels of making room, giving attention or otherwise dashing about as they serve and attend to the person. The single exception will be persons with legitimate power and title, who will view the person as a person to know and to engage with.

Treatment demonstrates that these are likely the most beautiful persons that ordinary people will ever see in person. Even at that, they are rarely viewed directly; most of the time, they will protect their appearance with privacy, not because they are truly threatened, as they usually surrounded, but rather because their beauty disturbs persons.

Generosity ensures that most of them are directly connected with court or with persons of power and title. Generally, they will escape the provinces for the comparatively comfortable life to be had in capitals. They may be enlightened persons of consequence, or they may surrender that to become manipulators behind the scenes, moving less attractive persons as puppets.

Graceful (17 pts.)

Reactions will be distant; most persons, except those with power and title, will consider themselves inadequate to hold discourse with the person. Less attractive persons will be pushed out of the person’s presence; an aura of space will expand around the person should they go anywhere. Those with power and title will suggest paths towards marriage or political power.

Treatment is hushed and reverential. It will be difficult to speak directly to lesser persons, who will describe themselves as unworthy. The degree of intimidation others feel will be very high.

Generosity will lead them to become lords and ladies through marriage, or by gifts bestowed upon them. Paladins will be profound, unusually prized members of court, as their appearance is startling and tends to strike even courtiers with astonishment.

Bewitching (18 pts.)

Reactions will be something like fear. It will be generally held belief that a person cannot be so charismatic without having some special powers, to charm, beguile or fascinate persons out of all safety. In some quarters among the gentry, there will be an unspoken, strong resentment, that may be problematic in the right circumstances. Lower establishments will refuse to serve, considering themselves unworthy. An ordinary life is possible only through disguise.

Treatment is exceptional and mystifying. Such persons are probably never ordinarily seen by even gentry; their incongruous presence is eerie and unnatural. Even kings and queens are made humble by their appearance and their personalities. Because of this, persons of this appearance are vulnerable. They will often wear a mask or covering of some type, to minimize their outward effect.

Generosity of their charisma enables them to become master manipulators behind the scenes. A few become usurpers. Each is an entity onto themselves, defying categorization.

See Player Characters

Saturday, March 23, 2019


When a character has completed their training, it is necessary to establish the character’s age. With player characters in my game, this is calculated with the character background generator. However, to ensure that players understand the source of those numbers, as the table shows.

My game does not recognize the extended lifespan of demi-humans, but supposes that most humanoids fit the human model. The range of ages means to reflect that different races learn their class skills at different rates. Note that this means that all dwarven and gnomish clerics will be quite old.

Characters who are multi-classed should add all modifiers to the base score of the eldest class age shown, +1d6. For example, a human fighter/cleric would start with 20 (from the cleric), then add 2d4 & 1d6 to that number. A half-elven fighter/mage would start with 23, adding 1d4 & 3d6 total (two dice from the half-elf and one multi-classed die).

Once the character’s age is established, adjustments for the character’s age must be applied to the character’s ability stats. The table indicates the five age categories, with a column for when the character is first created, or initiated into the campaign, with a second column showing the adjustment when the character ages up to that category.

Characters who choose race/class combinations should be aware of the sacrifices that come with old age, as well as the bonuses. A dwarven cleric gains the benefit of wisdom and intelligence in exchange for physical benefits. It is always possible for a character to exceed 18 with their ability stats through aging.

As the table indicates, age must be kept track of from year to year of the campaign. Game time years are added and characters are able to move upwards into elder categories.

Death Due to Age

As player characters are presumed to be exceptional compared to other characters, for game purposes player characters are exempt from death by natural causes, except by disease, until they reach the age of 61. Once a character reaches that age, a roll is made, starting with the top line of the chart shown. A note is made that this roll of 5d12, or 5-60, has been made. This will indicate the number of months that will pass, added to the character’s 61st birthday, before a “fate check” will be made. Once the month of the check is calculated, a d30 is added to that date for the specific future day of the fate check.

For example, a character, John, turns 61 years old on March 11th, 1651. He rolls 5d12, gaining a result of 28. Adding this number of months, the calculation gives us July 11th, 1653. Rolling a d30 produces a result of 14. Therefore, on July 25th, 1653, John will make his fate check to see if he was fated to die of old age on that day. A note is then made that John has made his 1st progressive old age check.

The success of the fate check is calculated by adding the character’s present constitution to 80. This produces a two-digit number that is the percentage that must be rolled by John in order to survive.

If John’s constitution is 14, then his fate survival chance is 94%. If John rolls above that, then John is dead of old age.

Success is followed by moving to the next line of the progressive age check, where 5d10 is rolled (5-50). Again the number of months is added to the date of the last fate check, plus 1d30 days, at which time another fate check must be made. A note is made that the 2nd roll has been used. This process then continues until the character dies.

A character that has died of old age may be restored by raise dead ~ however, a note should be made that the next progressive check is skipped, and the one below that is used.

In the example given above, if John dies on the 25th of July, 1653, and is raised, his NEXT roll would not be 5d10, but 4d12, the 3rd line shown on the chart. Each time a character dies of old age and is either raised or resurrected, a line on the progressive old age table is skipped.

If the character should survive until they have reached the line on the chart that indicates 1d4 months (plus 1d30 days), will pass before their next fate check, then from that time forward this line on the chart will be used until the character passes away.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


A ship is considered in danger of sinking once all of its hull points have been destroyed (see damage to hull and rigging). At that point, the ship can no longer be sailed or its weapons fired. All crew and persons aboard are considered to be acting to keep the ship afloat. The minimum number of persons necessary to keep the ship afloat under these circumstances is equal to the number of unprotected hull points.

Further ship’s weapons hits on the ship at this time will not increase the chance of the ship sinking. If the ship is rammed, that would be sufficient to scuttle it.

If the ship is scuttled, or the persons keeping the ship afloat are removed, or physically kept from preserving the ship, the ship will sink. To determine how long this takes, roll a d20 to determine a total of 5 to 100 rounds; this number is then divided by the wind speed, so that it be calculated in seconds.

Saving the Ship

With sufficient time and depending on the quality of the crew, the materials aboard ship can be repurposed to provide a sinking ship with effectively 1 hull point. When calculating the chance of success, rules for wind change are suspended, 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.

After each hour of steady work, the crew is entitled to a roll to save the ship from drowning. A d20 is rolled. The base chance for success is 12 or better. The wind speed is then added to this number, from 0 to 12. The crew quality then provides a modifier: poor (-2), green (0), average (+1), crack (+3) and elite (+4).

Success indicates that a turning point has been reached and that the ship will be kept entirely from sinking once three more hours of labour are invested. Even if the crew are very tired at this point, they will be able to sleep in shifts and yet save the ship.

Failure, however, will mean that another hour must be spent before there is again a chance of success. Each hour is counted towards the crew’s hours total activity for that day, including the number of hours before the naval battle occurred. If, by the 10th hour, the ship hasn’t been saved, each hour afterwards imposes a cumulative -1 penalty against success. When success ceases to be possible, the crew collapses and the ship will sink in 5 to 100 rounds.

If the full effort to save the ship was employed, so that the crew forced their labour past 10 hours, then no one will be able to swim; they must find a means of staying afloat that does not require physical exertion, or they will drown.

If the ship is saved, it is considered to have 1 hull point. If it retains at least one mast, it can be sailed with a yare of E. If the masts are destroyed, and there is no stored rigging aboard the ship, it can only drift. This permits at least a chance that those aboard will be rescued.

See Naval Combat

Damage to Hull & Rigging

Ship strength is an expression of its hull points and rigging points, as described under ship types. These points are illustrated as a series of squares, which are then crossed off as damage is caused to the ship.

Total hull points are divided into “exterior” (EH) and “unprotected” (UH) hulls, in a ratio of 2:1. The caravel, for example, has a total of 30 hull points. Two thirds of these, a total of 20, are assigned to the exterior hull. The remaining 10 are assigned to the endangered hull. Where a fraction occurs, always assign the extra hull point to the exterior hull.

Rigging points are divided into blocks of 4 squares, with the remainder making up a block of 1 to 3 squares. Each block is a mast. These should be labelled, in order of presence, the main-mast, mizzen-mast, or fore mast; if there is a fourth mast, this is the jigger mast.
Caravel total strength points in hull (30 pts) and rigging (8 pts).

A caravel has 8 rigging points, which are divided into two masts, the main-mast and the mizzen-mast.

The layout of squares for a caravel would appear as shown in the image, with four blocks of squares, two representing the hull and two representing the mast.

Assigning Damage

All hull damage is assigned to the EH, or exterior hull, until that part of the hull is completely destroyed. Thereafter, further damage is recorded against the UH, or unprotected hull. When the EH is gone, the ship’s condition in the water has begun to sag; the ship’s yare is reduced by one degree (from A to B, from B to C, and so on).

When the UH is gone, the ship is considered in such danger of sinking that it cannot be sailed or the weapons fired.   All crew and persons aboard are considered to be acting to keep the ship afloat. If these persons are removed, the ship will sink completely in 5 to 100 rounds, a number that is divided by the wind speed and may be calculated in seconds.

When a hit succeeds against the rigging within a ship’s hex, the mast nearest that hex is affected (therefore, all the ship’s hexes in a ship’s design should be designated to a particular mast). When a mast is completely destroyed, the ship’s yare is reduced by one degree. This happens each time a mast is destroyed. The ship’s yare cannot be reduced below a yare of E. When all rigging is destroyed, the ship can take no actions except to drift.

When assigning half a point of damage to either the rigging or the hull, draw a single line through a box, as shown. When assigning a full damage to a hull box, draw a cross inside the box to show that strength point is completely destroyed.

See Naval Combat

Line of Sight

When firing any missile weapon, all combatants must be able to trace a direct line of sight between themselves and the target hex. This means that the target may not be completely blocked by obstacles or elevation, and is at least partly visible when fired upon.

Missiles may be fired between combatants during hand-to-hand melee, targeting past the front line into the second line or even into the third line. However, it must be shown that a straight line of sight exists to the target, where it is not blocked by another person. Otherwise, the target positioned in the rear, during a general melee, cannot be hit.

If the combatant has elevation, however, then line of sight should take that into account when picking targets.


It's often presumed that a combatant firing or hurling a missile weapons aims at the whole opponent.  This is not the case.  In fact, the combatant aims at a specific target area on the body, which may be any part of that body that is judged to be most vulnerable.

For game purposes, this part of the body is considered to be a circle that is about one foot in diameter. Because of this, a target that was covered only as high as the waist would not receive any benefit against an arrow or a thrown axe. “Cover,” therefore, describes any situation that plainly reduces the size of the circle being aimed at.

As the target shrinks in size, it’s armor class improves.  A character who lifts his full head above the parapet provides a good target for an archer ... but to shoot an arrow through a slit only three or six inches wide is a much greater feat.  The rule as shown here should encourage players who take cover to do so behind objects able to conceal most of their bodies.


Objects are considered to be concealed when a soft, usually permeable substance screens them from plain view. Shrubbery; a waterfall; thin cloth not dense enough to stop an arrow or a thrown axe; or a target under water; are all examples of concealment. Because concealment will partially deflect missiles, or reduce the velocity of missiles, though figures may be plainly visible within a bush or under the water surface, there is yet an armor class bonus that is received.

Thus, if a person were nearly 3 feet under the surface of the water, their armor class would be improved by +7.

Indirect Fire

Siege engines have the advantage of firing over obstacles and are able to target an enemy so long as the enemy is “sighted.” If an individual with sighting ability is able to express that information accurately to an artillerist, a missile weapon may be fired at an object that cannot be seen directly by the artillerist or the crew firing the engine.

Often, especially in naval combat, the sighter will take a position high above the engine, shouting down directions and distance. Occasionally, the sighter may have options such as a message or whispering wind spell, the whistle cantrip, the use of pigeons or the use of other animal messengers (including familiars), and other more powerful spells. Indirect fire always hits an area the size of a ship’s hex, whether or not employed in naval combat, randomly hitting a target combat hex inside that space.

See Also,
Naval Combat

Arc of Fire

Describes the area which can be fired upon by a siege engine, determined by the position it is facing. Because a ship’s weapon cannot easily be rotated, there is little time during the loading phase that the weapon can be even incrementally adjusted. This limits the arc of fire to only 30-degrees, as shown below.

Weapons placed on hardpoints located at the fore and aft corners of the ship’s configuration can be adjusted to one of three facings, as shown: directed forward, forward and to the side (as shown in the image), or rearward and to the side. When a weapon is ready to fire, whatever the facing may happen to be when the weapons is loaded, the crew must wait until the desired target moves into the arc of fire, or otherwise fires at whatever happens to be within that arc.

This vastly limits the use of weapons as an attack form … which is INTENTIONAL for game purposes. It is noted that the arcs of fire for the positions of the ship’s weapon are NOT interlocking. While not a simulation of reality, it does control the variables for resolving combat in a game space with a minimum or conflicts when determining the arc of fire that can be hit. Interlocking arcs of fire can be created by allowing the ship’s weapon to turn half-hex increments, if the DM prefers.

If the hardpoint is located on the side of the ship, then the facing of the weapon is limited to either towards the forward or towards the rear, as shown. Again, half-hex increments will allow the weapon to be turned so that it fires perpendicular to the ship.

The time needed to change the facing of a siege weapon 60-degrees is equivalent to the time needed to load the weapon. The weapon must be unloaded before it can be turned.

See Naval Combat


Strengthened, open places upon the deck of a ship, providing space for ship’s weapons. Hardpoints are fitted along the port or starboard sides of the ship, enabling fire to be directed outward. Weapons placed on hardpoints can be shifted towards different hex faces, using a system of pulleys connected to rings set into the deck.   Each facing allows a 30-degree arc of fire in the direction the artillerist crew desires.

Placed weapons are measured against their hardpoint cost, as shown on the table. Though any ballista or catapult may be placed on any hardpoint, the total hardpoint cost for all weapons that are placed cannot exceed the tonnage of the ship. Therefore, an 70-ton vessel could not mount four light catapults, but it could mount three light catapults and a light ballista (total 68). The same vessel could also mount four heavy ballistas (total 60).

There is no rule for the dispersal of weapons between forward, aft or amidships, nor between port and starboard.

Hardpoints located on the port side cannot be used to fire missiles across the deck towards starboard, and vice versa.

See Naval Combat

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ship's Weapons

As explained on the ship types page, different makes and models of ships are fitted with hardpoints. These are strengthened, open places upon the deck of a ship. These weapons can be used to attack other ships at a distance during the ship battle, destroying hulls, rigging, crew or other hardpoints.

There are two forms of siege engine that can be mounted on a ship’s hardpoint: the ballista and the catapult. These each have a heavy and a light configuration. All configurations require one hardpoint when emplaced, but the number of heavy emplacements may be limited by the ship’s cargo capacity.

Each hardpoint allows the weapon to be turned using a system of pulleys connected to rings set into the deck.  Each position allows only a 30° arc of fire, the specifics of which depend upon the design of the ship, its length and distribution of its hardpoints. Prior to firing, line of sight must be established. If an enemy ship passes into the siege weapon’s arc of fire and the weapon has line of sight on that target, and presuming the target is in range, the weapon is free to fire.

Range is determined by counting counting the number of combat hexes ~ or where convenient, the number of ship hexes and then multiplying by four.


Prior to throwing a die, the artillerist MUST specify whether the shot is aimed at the enemy ship’s hull or rigging. If neither is specified, the default target will always be the ship’s hull. The artillerist MUST also specific the specific ship hex being targeted. If this hex is not specified, the default target will be the nearest ship hex occupied.

When firing, the artillerist in charge of the crew rolls to hit with a d20, according to their THAC0 but not including dexterity bonuses. Treat the enemy ship’s hull as AC 3; treat its rigging as AC 0.

The artillerist receives penalties and bonuses as follows: when firing against an enemy’s broadside (+1); when the firing ship is at anchor (+2); strong breeze (-2); near gale (-3); gale (-5); medium range (-2); long range (-5). Ship’s weapons cannot be effectively loaded or fired if the wind force is greater than 8.

Treat all rolled 1s as a misfire, with no other results except the weapon will need to be reloaded from scratch. A natural 20 indicates a critical hit (see below).

When a successful hit is made whether against the hull or the rigging, consult the correct table, either Hits Targeting the Hull or Hits Targeting the Rigging.

These tables are then adjusted according to the type of siege engine being fired, according to the Ship’s Weapon Table:

For non-critical hits, roll a d20 on the Standard Hit Table upon either the hull or rigging chart. Standard hits are resolved as follows:
Hull or rigging hits. Record damage to hull & rigging on the ship’s damage sheet, kept by ship’s captain. See critical hits, below.
Crew. Causes h.p. damage to a random combatant/crew/passenger located in the targeted ship hex or above it. Determine skipping or shrapnel damage as applicable.
Hardpoint. Result automatically wrecks, damages, impairs or offsets the enemy ship’s weapons according to the fired weapon’s effect as listed on the Ship’s Weapons Table.

For critical hits, roll on both the Standard Hit Table AND the Critical Hit Table upon either the hull or rigging chart. Critical hits are resolved as follows:
Anchor winch destroyed. Causes no additional damage, but the anchor cannot be used. If the anchor is lowered when the winch is hit, this cuts the anchor cable, releasing the ship. See rules under anchor.
Calculate crew falling. Crews hit on the rigging table give priority to hit crew working in the rigging. Hits that stun lock require a dexterity check. Failure indicates the crew member has fallen and addition damage needs to be calculated.
Double hit damage. Describes damage done to the hull or rigging. Apply adjustment from weapon to damage before multiplying. For example, if a light ballista rolled ½ standard damage, the ½ would be subtracted before doubling, so that no damage was caused. However, if the same standard damage was done by a heavy catapult ball, +½ would be added to the damage and the result would be doubled for a total of 2 damage.
Escalate hardpoint effect. Increase the effect against hardpoints normally done by the weapon, from offset to impair, damage, wreck and ultimately to destroy (indicating the weapon cannot be rebuilt)
Fallen rigging. Coils and ropes snarls hardpoints in the section of the ship associated with the targeted ship hex: the fore, stern or amidships. No ship’s weapon in the affected section may load or fire for 2 to 5 rounds as the weapons are clear.
Hits player character, officer or captain. Assumes said person is located in the targeted hex.  Randomly determine if necessary.
Mast is hit and falls. If the ship still has a mast standing, reduce the yare of the ship by one degree. If the ship has no mast remaining, the ship is set adrift.
Punches through deck. Missile penetrates to crew quarters, galley or captain’s quarters, skipping within space or scattering shrapnel. Roll item saving throws for delicate items vs. normal blow.
Roll morale checks. All crew members in the targeted ship’s hex make a combat check. Sympathetic checks may spread to other ship’s hexes according to the rules on the morale page. Individuals will freeze or move to the safest places aboard ship (never below!) and cannot participate in combat, loading or firing weapons or acting as crew members. See “restoring fails” on the morale page.
Shrapnel to artillerist crew. All members of the artillerist crew actively loading the weapon or waiting to fire suffer 2-8 damage.
Starts fire. Lamp or other combustable material, either above or below decks (see punches through deck) causes a fire to start. Assign 2 to 3 persons (rolled) to fight fighter. Once the fire is reached and a full round of movement has been committed by the needed persons, roll a d6: fire put out (1-3); fire destroys point of hull (4-5); fire out of control (6). If the fire begins to burn out of control, it will consume one hull point per round thereafter unless doused by spell or other comprehensive means.
Steering damaged. The ship cannot be turned to a different heading with respect to the wind for 3-6 rounds; crack and elite crews reduce this trouble by -1 and -2 rounds respectively. Time needed is predictable and can be provided for the captain when the damage occurs.
Waterline damage. The ship’s hull has been hit near enough the water line that 2 to 5 crew members (rolled) must be assigned to keep the ship from sinking. Failure to provide the full complement of crew required will reduce the ship’s yare by one degree every 4 rounds, while the ship will be reduced to drifting in 16 rounds. Waterline damage hits are culmulative.

See Naval Combat