Draw Harm; Deflect Harm

Art: Enchantment, Sorcery, Naming

Ruling Planet: Neptune (protection, magick), Mars (physical weapons),

Uranus (lightning)

Sphere: Common

This is a charm that affects the manner in which a threat of some sort moves when in its vicinity, the path it must take, either as a Magnet to Draw Harm OR to Deflect Harm.

The Magnet aspect diverts from its course some specified threat for the DUR, pulling it to the bearer of the charm. The threat can be any magick (or strictly specified by name or type) carrying up to (magickal damage) or broadened to encompass any energy (regardless of whether magickal or naturally occurring), any attack by a mundane melee weapon OR missile weapon, OR any at all dealing blows of (magickal damage) POT or less in combat, pulls any foe swinging a weapon within (POT) feet over to engage the bearer of the charm, instead, or bringing any missile loosed from any ranged weapon whose path crosses within (POT) yards as measured from the bearer of the charm, or any similar threat, draws them like magnet does iron so that the bearer of the charm becomes the target, instead.

Whether for lightning, or weapon strikes in battle, or attack magicks, whatsoever the caster tunes the charm to (as practical, that might conceivably be subject to this charm as described), in the same manner described under “Fine-Tuning a Magick”. This could apply not for all attack magicks indiscriminately, but certainly to any straight-up ranged attack magicks like Far Strike, or the various Dart magicks, etc.

When the bearer of the charm is targeted by any weapon or magick inflicting a blow of (magickal damage) POT or less that also requires a roll “to hit”, the Magnet charm eliminates the need for the roll, automatically guaranteeing it strikes true.

The aspects frequently referred to as Strike Magnet or Weapon Magnet and Dweomer Magnet are among the most common applications. When tuned to respond this way to lightning and similar electrical charges, it is called a Lightning Rod.

The Deflect aspect diverts from its course some specified threat for the DUR, also, BUT deflecting it away from him in a random direction to strike instead any object, creature or being that lies in that direction within up to (POT) yards (GM’s discretion). If nothing lies in that direction, it must hit the ground/floor.

The threat can be any of those described previously for the Magnet aspect, above, but the bearer of the charm must actually be the one that is expected to be hit, or destined to be hit if it is accidental, and equal to or less than (magickal damage) in the POT of any blow it may inflict before the charm can deflect it.

The aspects frequently referred to as Strike Deflection or Strike Warding and Dweomer Deflection are among the most common applications.

The charm endures until it has intervened up to (POT) times or the DUR expires, whichever occurs first. IF the charm intercepts a threat/blow greater than (magickal damage), the energy it can draw or deflect away is affected normally, but the balance continues on its path or hits the bearer, normally. This breaks the charm as surely as if it had been dispelled.

IF the optional DUR rules are in play, the charm may endure as long as the dweomer is maintained at the caster’s pleasure, intervening without limitation.

The “Deflect” aspect of this charm provides the practitioner with a bridge to the Noble SphereReflect Harm” charm, giving him the means and background to research it and develop a treatise on it such that he may learn it by virtue of his own studies and practice if it is not already in his repertoire.

If directed at or applied to creatures and/or beings, this charm can be resisted normally.

Spirit Senses

The Arts of the Wizard, Witch, Druid (any), Wise Woman, Cunning Man, Hedge/Hearth-Wizard, Hearth/Hedge-Witch or Mystic affect many other aspects of the character’s life than just those providing him with the ability to manifest magickal or miraculous powers and perform extraordinary feats with it.

The spiritual faculties of the soul express differently in almost everyone, but there are a number of common traits among their effects. For the purposes of the game, they are the basic skills through which those that pursue the art and power of magick approach their Arts. It is also a means for expressing untapped magickal potential in certain other characters who may have taken training in other (non-magickal) trades, however, a means by which some of the magick of the game and the gameworld can touch their lives, as well.

Magickal talent generally expresses itself in one or more abilities commonly referred to as “Spirit Senses” or, at least as commonly, “Othersenses”. These can take a number of forms encompassed by two basic skills: “Clairaudience” and “Clairvoyance”.

Clairaudience is the ability to hear things occurring at a distance, but includes the ability to Speak with Spirit, including the dead who cannot move on or who have returned to deliver some message.

Clairvoyance is the ability to see things, people and events at a distance, sometimes even through the mists of time. It consists of a number of sub-skills known as Second Sight, Divination or Finding, Prescience, Psychometry, Spirit Sight, and Scrying. All of these are included with the character’s Clairvoyance skill. Among those who follow the Faerie Faith in Celtic countries (in game terms, those who follow the Olde Ways), this bundle of Clairvoyance skills is referred to as “The Sight”.

Clairaudience is the ability to hear significant sounds occurring at a distance marking important events that are relatively easy to identify, but more importantly includes the ability to hear those who dwell in Spirit. In game terms, it is most commonly referred to as Listening to the Spirits or, due to the fact that they can hear the answers and hold conversation with the spirits, most commonly as Speaking with Spirits, or the Spirit Speak skill.

This skill must be facilitated by the use of a focus, such as a spirit board (on which the spirit moves a focus object such as an upside-down glass as a pointer to a layout of the letters of the alphabet in order to spell out messages), or meditation with a pen in hand to bring about Automatic Writing (where the spirit controls the hand to render written messages), or by means of a Spirit Box or Message Box (where a stick of chalk or crayon is enclosed in a box lined with a panel for writing inside the top and the bottom and the spirit uses the stick to write its messages on them while the box is closed).

The Spirit Speak skill enables the character to hear the earth-bound dead who cannot or will not move on, or those who remain due to unfinished business, or those who may even have returned to deliver some message, but may also include Færies, ethereal and astral spirits such a genii and dæmons, divine spirits of both Light and Darkness, their allies and servant spirits, who may be hovering about nearby, even while they are still completely Spirit in manifestation, without their having to actually exert any presence in the Mortal Sphere. These may simply happen to be nearby and holding a conversation amongst themselves, providing a running commentary the practitioner may find terribly distracting (sufficient to provide a DV penalty to any tasks attempted), or they may be gathered around the character(s) for some purpose. They may be of the nature of guardian spirits or Muses (genii or dæmons) standing by in accordance with their natures so they may influence events as they may. They may make comments directly to the character whether aware that he can hear them or not. If they know that he can hear them their comments are likely to be that much more direct and germane to the situation.

IF the spirits are having a conversation about the character, he should be allowed one or more SPT checks (GM’s discretion) as if they had uttered one or more key words and the character was under the influence of a “Far Hear” dweomer. Success would indicate that he had heard them and would then be able to eavesdrop on their conversation, or interrupt them with a comment of his own directed at them.

IF the spirit has some special connection with the gifted character, that should be taken into consideration and raise the AV commensurately (GM’s discretion). For more common situations, where the spirits are actually trying to say something TO the gifted character, the magnitude or POT of the spirit will be used as the AV.

The CHM att. mod. of the gifted character (minus Spirit Speak SL) stands as the DV for them to get his attention. If he is otherwise occupied, especially in an activity that could be potentially injurious or even life-threatening (scaling a cliff, disarming a trap, locked in armed combat with a foe) that should be taken into consideration, raising the DV. The more immediate and dangerous the circumstances, the greater the increase in the DV for the spirit to be heard.

 How such situations fall out depends entirely on the characters of the spirits involved and the PC and any roleplaying that ensues between them. However, should the character strike up a conversation with “the incontinent air” while others are around, unless he is already known to be a holy man (Mystic) or practitioner of magick, it is quite possible he may end up in an asylum as one of “goddes prisoners”.

Clairvoyance is the ability to see things of a spiritual nature, commonly referred to as visions, and may be comprised of visions of the future, called Prescience, or Future Sight, or visions of people, places, creatures and/or beings elsewhere but in the present time, called Second Sight, or visions of the past, or the ability to see spirit creatures who are near but normally invisible due to their very nature as denizens of Spirit, called Spirit Sight.

Prescience or Future Sight is Precognition, the knowing or seeing of events that have not come to pass, but commonly occur within no more than a year’s time. These events can be significant to someone the gifted character encounters casually, especially when touched, or may involve great events or tragedies that affect a great number of people locally or at some distance (usually still within the same realm, if not the same region or shire), or those in the gifted one’s own personal life. It stems from the skills of Augury and Prophecy, courting visions of the future, and when approached through ties with the element of the character’s birth is referred to as Aeromancy (air), Geomancy (earth), Pyromancy (fire), or Hydromancy (water).

Aeromancy involves observing substances in the air or wind; such as cloud shapes, weather conditions, and atmospheric phenomena (comets, etc.). This usually includes reading the direction of the wind (the very breath of Spirit) in regards to throwing sand or dirt in the wind after asking a question, and receiving the answer in the form of the dust cloud, or the same by throwing some combustible powder or substance on a fire to watch for the resulting smoke; or throwing a handful of seeds into the air and receiving the answer to a question from the pattern created by the fallen seeds. Any of these might be used as a means of triggering the visions.

The common vehicle by which Geomancy is practiced as a means of foretelling is the scattering of pebbles, dust, sand grains, or seeds on the ground and interpreting their shapes and positions

Pyromancy makes use of fire or flames. In ancient cultures, when the flames were vigorous and quickly consumed the sacrifice and when the smoke was transparent, neither red nor dark in color, when it didn’t crackle, but burnt silently in a pyramidal form, it was a good omen. If the fire was difficult to kindle, disturbed by wind or slow to consume the victim or offering, a bad omen. The flames of torches are also observed after powdered pitch is thrown into them.

Pyroscopy is an associated aspect in which the burn stains are read that are left after burning a sheet of paper (or other similarly combustible material) on a light surface.

Hydromancy is fortune telling by reading the motions or appearance of water (or other liquids) including the color, tides, ebb and flow, or ripples. Interpreting the color and patterns of flowing water, having a small boy (under the age of 7) tell what he has seen in the water, studying the ripples resulting from dropping stones into quiet water, or the like.

Future Sight is the skill whereby knowledge of the future can be requested from Spirit, BUT it also makes the gifted character a conduit through which Spirit may spontaneously send warnings, omens and portents of danger to come, or herald good fortune in the world. The spontaneously sent information concerning the future does not go only to the Mystics who serve Spirit, but to all who have the spiritual ears with which to hear/eyes with which to see. Omens and portents and the spirit energy inherent in them can be felt through this skill, hinting at the future can be sensed, such as the auspices of birds – whether they are flying in groups/alone, what noises they make as they fly, the direction of flight according to the quadrants of the sky as defined by the observer’s position at the time the auspice is observed, and what kind of birds they are. only certain birds would yield valid auspices, including wrens, ravens, woodpeckers, owls, oxifragæ, eagles. Hares were similarly loosed and their flight observed for portents and signs.

The rune mal is another medium through which augury and prophesy are called for, rune-carven sticks, animal knuckle bones, glass beads, small stones from significant places or people, inscribed earthenware chits, or any collection of small items, which are thrown to form patterns triggering visions.

The use of cards with various symbols or significators on them, such as tarot cards but not limited to them, is prophecy by Cartomancy. A character may be given or required to render his own set of symbolic cards by the one who teaches him their use. Associated in origin with gypsies who used such cards to prognosticate the future, provide guidance or read the personality of their clients. This method of divination was introduced to Europe c. 1300, perfect for the purposes of the RoM.

The player must choose one of these means or methods or come up with something similar as the focus for his character’s Spirit Skill (GM’s discretion).

Divination is another term that can be applied to the casting of auguries for the future (as above), BUT can just as readily be applied to the use of dowsing rods or a thread or string and pendulum, or the like for Finding things, people, or beasts who have been misplaced or lost, or for finding one’s way when lost, in the same manner described for the “Compass Charm” in the Compendium.

The Second Sight enables the caster to view objects, creatures, and/or beings remotely, to see events that are happening at a distance. It is usually spontaneously triggered when loved-ones are threatened or great tragedies involving many deaths occur, wheresoever they may be located, but the gifted one can sometimes achieve success by concentrating and actively seeking the vision.

Spirit Sight enables the character to see such beings as Færies and the dead, ethereal and astral spirit, spirits of Light and Darkness who may be hovering about near by, even while they are still completely Spirit in manifestation, whether they allow themselves to be seen or are willfully cloaking themselves from the sight of mortal folk. The magnitude of the spirit will be used as the AV for the check and the character’s SPT will be used as the DV to determine whether the spirit has evaded being sensed.

IF the GM determines that the spirit is not aware that it may be sensed, that there is one trained in the spirit skills and especially magick, it will make no attempt to conceal its presence beyond simply remaining completely non-material and the character with the Spirit Sight will have no trouble seeing them at all. In these circumstances, it is always a more prudent tactic for the gifted character to wait until he is alone with the spirit before acknowledging its presence to attempt to gain its trust and coax it into manifesting so they can talk, unless the character also has the Clairaudience skill (“Spirit Speak”) and may converse with it while still in its spirit state.

The AV for the gifted character to see a hidden spirit is based on his SPT att. mod. and AWA att. mod., plus his Spirit Sight SL.

The base DV for spotting a spirit that wishes to conceal its presence should be equal to the spirit’s POT, plus its HRT att. mod.

The character’s AV may be impaired according to his personal state and circumstances, as discussed under the heading “Task Resolution”.

Psychometry is the gift by which the vibrations an object carries can be read, so that its use can be known, details of the owner and his life, high-points or dramatic events in the history of the item, the emotional state of the current owner, what he is going through in his life, the origins of the object, who made it where and why, and so on, in the same manner as the “Read Object” dweomer (cf.) whose POT is equal to the Psychometry SL. The better the character gets with the skill, the more information he can glean with it.

All of the Clairvoyance skills except those specifically noted as having another means or physical anchor or focus like the rune mal or knuckle bones, require the use of a physical object as an external focus in which the visions received manifest – a mirror, crystal ball, large-ish bright clear cut gem or natural crystal, basin of water, cup of wine, cast upon them so the vision it grants appears in the object used, but they all have one thing in common, and that is a perfectly smooth surface that can reflect images perfectly in them, or a perfectly clear matrix in which an image can coalesce and clearly be seen (GM’s discretion). This is referred to as Scrying. If an observer has a SPT score of greater than average (14+) he may be able to see the visions that manifest in the focus of the Scrying. This allows the visions to be shared with others.

The Spirit Skills are all duplicated among the dweomers the player may choose for his practitioner character, but as the number of dweomers he is allowed at the start of play is limited, it is just as well that any of these or the whole bundle may be taken as trade skills. In the event that the player give his character a Spirit Skill AND knowledge of the corresponding dweomer, the effective SL of the dweomer after it has been successfully cast will be compounded, the Spirit Skill adding to the effectiveness of the dweomer.

Those who originate from the Celtic tradition, specifically those trained in one of the Druid trades, have their own traditional methods of looking into the future. To achieve the rank of Ollamh the Fili is required to master the specific Spirit Skills of the imbas forosna (enlightenment, the ability to foresee and describe future events in verse), teinm láeda (“breaking of marrow”), and díchetal di cennaib (“chanting of heads”). The 10th-century Sanas Cormaic (Cormac’s Glossary) cites teinm laída as one of the three ways of actually acquiring prophetic or hidden knowledge, along with díchetal do chennaib and imbas forosnai. These are the specific forms taken by the Spirit Skills of Clairvoyance, Second Sight, and Prescience for the members of the Druid trades.

The imbas forosnai is a special gift for receiving prophetic knowledge or clairvoyance exercised by poets, especially the ollam, the highest rank of Fili. In performing the imbas forosnai, the poet chews a piece of the flesh of a pig, dog or cat, and then puts it on a flagstone near the door to his chamber and chants an invocation over it to the applicable Green Lords. He chants over his two palms and commands that his sleep not be disturbed, and then puts his two palms on his cheeks and sleeps. Men guard him that he may not be disturbed or turned over, when the Fili is among his own people or has followers of the faith or others willing to stand in attendance on him. At the end of three days and nights the poet may then judge whether imbas forosnai has enlightened him.

The díchetal do chennaib is a kind of incantation composed extemporaneously by poets (Fili) and Druids, often using the finger-tips. Díchetal do chennaib is a kind of psychometry conveying visions to the character which he then translates and frames in quatrain or verse. An ollam is required to be proficient in both the díchetal do chennaib and the imbas forosnai. Fionn mac Cumhaill is described as having been especially proficient at díchetal do chennaib. This is the specific form taken by the Spirit skill of Psychometry for the members of the various Druid trades.

The teinm laída is a form of divination used by the Fili and Bards. In the Fenian Cycle it is always associated with the visions Fionn mac Cumhaill gains by chewing on his thumb (wherein his Otherworldly wisdom lies) and chanting.

The Spirit Skills are all duplicated among the charms a player may choose for his magick-wielding character, but as the number of charms a character is allowed at the start of play is limited, it is just as well that any of these or the whole bundle may be taken as Trade Skills. In the event that the player give his character a Spirit Skill AND the corresponding charm, the Spirit Sense SL is added to the effective POT of the dweomer after it has been successfully cast, enhancing the strength and effectiveness of the dweomer without making the charm any harder to cast.


Enables the character to swim with a degree of success that is determined by SL. This skill will also enable the character to use a combination of floating and treading water, to enable him to survive if stranded in the water beyond the sight of shore or hope of swimming there.

The character gains a one (1) point bonus to his CND Action Allowance from this skill, for its tonic effect on the character’s health and fitness.

Skill as a Swimmer will also make a character better able to hold his breath while swimming, diving, or otherwise engaged in various actions underwater. Taking one slow, easy single breath gives the character [(current CND Action Allowance) ÷ 4] Action Allowance points, PLUS (1 per 4 Swimmer SL’s). If the character has the time and inclination, he can boost the bonus due to skill to (SL) points, instead, but this requires that he first spend 2 Pulses per additional point to be gained in controlled hyperventilation to oxygenate the blood. For every 33ft. of depth underwater a character descends, his Action Allowance is cut in half. Any remaining gets multiplied back out as he ascends again.

In the tradition of the great pearl divers of the Orient and sponge divers of the Mediterranean, the swimmer is able to dive to depths of up to (STR) + [(CND ÷ 4) x SL] feet before his air supply is halved the first time due to the effects of pressure. After that point, the character’s points of Action Allowance are halved for every 33ft. of depth normally, as described above.

To determine the speed at which the character is able to swim, the player should compare his AGL score to table C-l.

The figure in the “Move” column denotes the number of yards the character is able to move in a minute. This should be recorded in the “Movement” box on the character sheet in the space labeled “Water”.

To this figure the player should then add (1 per 2 SL’s). The maximum speed bonus the character is able to earn due to SL is equal to his AGL score.

This should be divided into 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, and “zero” rates in the same manner as the movement rates determined in Step 4. of Part 1., but rounding to the nearest whole number.

These rates reflect conventional surface swimming only.

To determine the character’s swimming speeds when he swims underwater (totally submerged), the player should divide the “(yd’s/min)” rates from above by 2.

Underwater rates should be recorded on the second line provided for swimming speed entries, marked “(U).” The underwater speeds is effectively constant regardless of whether the character is swimming at a downward angle or climbing, for the purposes of the game. Divers of the Pacific isles, particularly pearl divers, commonly jump in carrying heavy stones in order to descend more rapidly, however, so this enables them to swim about at depth for longer periods.

A character’s ENC rates when swimming is equal to (body weight) x 0.8 (Extreme), x 0.4 (Heavy), x 0.2 (Semi), x 0.1 (Light) and x 0.05 (Zero).

IF the amount of weight carried upon his person while swimming exceeds his Extreme rate, he simply sinks, be borne to the bottom and held underwater until the excess weight should be shed, during which time he is subject to loss of CND Action Allowance points normally, and then drowning.

When towing floating or relatively buoyant burdens, laden rafts, unconscious compatriots (GM’s discretion), this ENC capacity is multiplied by his [(modified STA) x 0.1). The character’s capacity for movement (speed attainable while swimming) is impaired while so laden.

As done with the character’s regular movement rates in Step 9. of Part I., swimming speeds must be reduced to Pulse Move rates for use in battle and tactical situations, when those optional rules are in play (GM’s discretion). Here again for the player’s convenience a conversion table is provided.

Swim speeds do not account for the movement of the waters themselves. When swimming against a current, the rate of the water’s movement is subtracted from the character’s own speed.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s STR and AGL.


GM’s Notes

The character will have no problems swimming in any reasonably calm, still waters, and will require no check against his skill. The character will only be required to make checks on d100 against his skill to determine success (and earn SP’s) when he is swimming in rough waters such as high or storm-whipped oceans or seas, swift-moving rivers, testing the limits of his ENC while swimming, and so on.

The DV for swimming is determined by how rough the waters are and the speed of any currents. The base D V for moving waters is equal to the speed of the current in mph’s.

Mid-ocean currents usually run less than 1.2 mph’s. Currents faster than this are usually found in straits and narrows such as are found around Florida and the Bahamas, as fast as 5mph.

In rough, wind-whipped waters, and especially storm-whipped waters, the height of the swells or waves is the base DV for the character to swim or even float along without getting swamped, measured from the bottom of the trough to the crests. Wave heights of 3ft.-15ft. are common in the open ocean, and when whipped by storms can reach three times this. For the GM’s convenience this should be figured as an average measure, with the roll of 3D5.

IF the character fails a skill check under these circumstances, he will lose one Action while floundering. Once the character exhausts the full number of checks he is allowed in a row (as per Chapter 2. of Part Ill., pg _) to save himself, he will sink and begin to drown.

The DV for rescuing a floundering or drowning person is equal to the sum of the target’s att. mod’s in AGL and STR, +/- 1 for every point by which the floundering character’s STA is larger/smaller than the rescuer’s, respectively (as applicable).

The procedure for dealing with drowning are discussed in The GM’s Toolbox.

The world’s record according to Guinness indicates that divers have worked as deep as 1,400 ft. “free swimming for short intervals.” Those intervals would indeed be short, considering the fact that the volume of air in the lungs decreases by half for every 33ft. of depth. Thirty-three goes into 1,400 ft. a little over 42 times! However, unless the GM has finagled some way to get the PC’s into a position where water from a suspended source, like perhaps a mountain lake, is forcing a door open in a trap to flood a chamber with the pressure of the whole depth of the lake above them, the extreme pressure of such depths aren’t likely to enter play, any more than are the debilitating phenomenon of nitrogen bubbles forming in the bloodstream from too rapid decompression after experiencing great depths in the water, called the “bends.” The circumstances required to produce that affliction and its dire effects, which include rapid and excruciatingly painful death, just aren’t likely to happen in the framework of this medieval milieu, and it might even be considered unfair for the GM to even consider it. Any magicks which might even provide for the possibility are too likely to have been designed to prevent any such affliction, in the interest of the practitioner’s continued survival and good health.


D-l, Swimming Speeds (yards per minute)

Score Move Score Move Score Move
1 5 13 60 24 110
2 8 14 63 25 115
3 13 15 68 26 118
4 l8 16 73 27 123
5 23 17 78 28 l28
6 27 18 82 29 133
7 32 19 87 30 137
8 37 20 92 31 142
9 42 21 97 32 l47
10 45 22 100 33 152
11 50 23 l05 34 155
12 55 35 160

D-2, Swimming Pulse Move, Tactical Scale

Move Pulse Move Pulse Move Pulse
2-5 1 mm 54-57 l.4 cm 110-113 2.8 cm
6-9 2 mm 58-61 1.5 cm 114-117 2.9 cm
10-13 3 mm 62-65 1.6 cm 118-121 3 cm
14-17 4 mm 66-69 1.7 cm 122-125 3.l cm
18-2l 5 mm 70-73 1.8 cm 126-129 3.2 cm
22-25 6 mm 74-77 1.9 cm 130-133 3.3 cm
26-29 7 mm 78-81 2 cm 134-137 3.4 cm
30-33 8 mm 82-85 2.l cm 138-141 3.5 cm
34-37 9 mm 86-89 2.2 cm 142-145 3.6 cm
38-41 1 cm 90-93 2.3 cm 146-149 3.7 cm
42-45 1.1 cm 94-97 2.4 cm l50-l53 3.8 cm
46-49 1.2 cm 98-101 2.5 cm 154-l57 3.9 cm
50-53 1.3 cm 102-105 2.6 cm 158-160 4 cm
106-109 2.7 cm


The character must have the Literatus skill in order to be equipped with the Scrivener skill. The SL of the Scrivener’s skill indicates the precision of his efforts, his speed and accuracy, and how neat and pretty the work he does. This skill gives the character the ability to pick suitable feathers in order to clean and cut his own quill-pens, not just from the preferred and plentiful goose quills but from whatever type of feathers he may have on hand, provided they are of sufficient length and stiffness (GM’s discretion). If the character also has the Forage skill in some other capacity from some other source, he also has the knowledge necessary for gathering his own materials and rendering his own ink, even to powdering it for storage and later reconstitution.

Though often considered to be an inseparable part of one’s language skills, in the period of the game that simply is not true. The ability to write, especially with a fine, neat hand, is considered a highly skilled craft, generally reserved to the clergy and professional scriveners and secretaries, all trained in the schools administered by the church, or at least the “college prep” schools set up by the various trades and crafts in the towns for training their children and apprentices in the needs for reading, writing, and languages of their class and station. It is the regular practice among the commons to go to a scrivener’s shop to have one’s correspondence neatly written when one cannot afford to keep one on staff at home.

In terms of the character’s actual facility with the quill, this skill makes the character familiar with all conventional text forms for scribing documents and script forms for scribing correspondence, and enable him to render them fairly well. The higher the SL the better the result. The results accompanying an AV of 12 is what most patrons expect if/when the Scrivener character finds a need to seek employment as a means of steady pay in a dry-spell.

The Scrivener character is only able to compose original works for and take dictation from their clients in those languages with which the Scrivener is also a Literatus (copying over), or literate Linguist (taking dictation). It is quite possible to be a Scrivener and not be able to read at all, but to spend all of one’s time copying the works of others. This is especially true among monastic scriptoriums and copy rooms of book makers in university towns, where a great number of certain tracts or whole academic books must be made available for students’ use.

Under optimum circumstances, with good lighting and a good surface and materials to work with, a character is able to scribe up to [(CRD + SL) ÷ 4] pages per AWA activity-slot he devotes to the task each day. The character must cut himself a new quill after every [(CRD ÷ 4) + SL] pages he scribes.

In order to be able to engage in rubrication, illumination, or fancy engrossing and artistic calligraphic initial capitals at the openings to chapters or frontispieces to a book or its sub-sections, the character must have the Craftsman-Artisan trade specializing as a Limner of miniatures in addition to being a Scrivener.

The attmod. for writing is based on the character’s CRD score.

IF the character is an Artisan, regardless of the craft to which it is related, that trade grants him a bonus based on the Artisan trade SL to all work he assays as a Scrivener, as well.


GM’s Notes

The DV for scribing a page should be equal to the number of the page worked on, starting with 1 for the first and working upwards from there. When a mistake is made, the character should be allowed one additional check vs. the same DV to correct it. If that is failed, the page must be discarded and done over. Each attempt to correct a mistake should also be added to the accumulating DV whether it is successful or not when moving on to any additional pages. The DV stops accumulating and returns to 1 only after the scrivener has taken a break of no less than the current DV in minutes.

The GM should have any letters a character dictates to a scribe or writes himself written out by the player on plain unlined paper to approximate its length in script. The volume of paper covered should be multiplied by four for any proper textwriter’s style, such as might be used for formal declarations, invitations, or legal instruments, mercantile contracts, or other documents or instruments of a similar nature, or only doubled if a style like Carolingian Miniscule is specified to save space.

To determine the success of rubrication, illumination, or fancy engrossing and artistic calligraphic initial capitals at the openings to chapters or frontispieces to a book or its sub-sections, the GM should follow the guidelines provided for the Craftsman-Artisan trade.



The source of the character’s Musician skill will determine how many instruments he is proficient with. Finishing School and Grammar School will allow only the character only one instrument skill. Taking Musician alone from the among the Petty skills will also allow the character (AWA ÷ 4) instrument skills, minus 1 for free commoners, minus 2 for landbound commoners. The Musician skill arising from the Minstrel or Troubador trades will allow up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills. Up to (AWA ÷ 4) instrument skills may be bundled together to fill a single AWA skill-slot. Instruments with which the character may cultivate skill include the lute, cornett, lyre, dulcimer, harp or smaller wire-strung Clàrsach (Scots Gaelic for harp), racket, mandolin, flute, tibia, syrinx (Pan pipes), clavichord, fiddle, lituus or trumpet, shawm, pipe organ, and the like, those in use in the period of the game, or slightly thereafter. This listing is fulsome but not intended to be definitive. If a player finds another instrument also from the period (or close enough, GM’s discretion) that is not listed, he should bring it to the attention of the GM and request it for his character, if desired.

The player will please note that the character’s own Voice is considered an instrument skill for the purposes of the Musician skill, as well. No character is able to carry a tune in any sort of pleasing tone without the training indicated by taking a skill for it here.

In regards to any Instrument skill, especially the Voice, everyone can can be taught enough for family get-togethers and gathering around the campfire for a beer and a song, but to develop a skill and especially a presence and quality to the sound produced that is worthy of performing for pay, that will require a Talent.

For the Quick Method character, the talent is assumed, at a level equal to the character’s CHM score.

For the Custom Method character, each level must be purchased, in the same manner as a poet or Troubador’s Muse, up to a level equal to the character’s CHM score if he wants to be able to pursue it to the utmost of his ability.

The player will please note that each instrument skill in the character’s portfolio as a Musician is tracked with SP’s and SL’s individually, according to the use it gets in play.

The character is required to practice each of his instrument skills for no less than (SL) hours over the course of every [(AWA ÷ 4) + SL] days. If the character fails in this, his AV’s will suffer as he loses his edge until the time missed has been made up. This penalty is (1 per 4 hours of practice missed) as long as the deficit remains.

The attmod. for the Musician skill is based on the character’s CHM and CRD scores.


GM’s Notes

The DV for singing, playing an instrument is determined by the character himself, in the same manner as a Dancer’s dances or a Cook’s recipes, depending upon how difficult a piece he picks to perform. The character should probably be allowed to slide without a check in performing any piece for which his AV is double the DV or for which he has a 80% chance of success or better except in high-stress circumstances such as in a competition, or when playing for a crowd or high profile patron(s), where his reputation is on the line. Under those circumstances, the character should be required to make checks for each song performed, normally.

In general, common simple ballads, chants, and popular church hymns and tavern ditties will have the lowest DV’s (1 to 4 or 5), though this may be as much as doubled if the piece is particularly long. If this is the case, the GM should use the base to determine whether the character can attempt it. If the d100 check is missed in the attempt, the amount by which the roll was missed will determine how much of the piece was left to play before losing it.

More politically oriented tunes, satires, less popular church hymns, and the latest popular tunes in the towns and courts of the lower nobility will have a base DV of 5 to 9 or 10, modified by their length (as much as double the DV, as above).

The finer courtly music will have DV’s starting at 10, while the DV’s for playing music written by musicians to challenge the skills of other musicians and entertain royal and high noble courts, especially in the manner of the intricate finger-work required of classical Spanish guitar or the lilting runs and difficult rhythms of a skirling Celtic pipe or harp or fiddle/vielle, will have DV’s starting at 20, but this may be modified by their length (again, as above).


Mathematician, Accountant-Clerk

Often taken for granted by players, math skills among the general populace were rather limited in the period of the game. Math skills are almost as important as language skills, and just as likely to be glossed over in play. Without this skill, a character won’t be able to count beyond or really grasp any number larger than a score (20, though they must exhibit fingers, and toes for larger numbers, and say “this many”). Nor may he perform any feat of mathematics even simple addition and subtraction. Only those with this skill will know or can be taught the meanings of the different notches on a tallystick, the common means of providing a receipt used by bailiffs for estate management, even up to the highest noble and royal levels.

A clerk who can read and write (Literatus and Scrivener) in addition to his Math skills may set up and maintain household ledgers such as are commonly used in the houses of the wealthy and noble to track finances (larger households tracking finances by individual departments, each with its own set of books), and also in the houses of Merchants to track daily business, both for the flow of money and control of inventory. This ability will make a character sought after should he need a domestic situation either to retire into or to take a hiatus from adventuring.

Every use of the Craftsman-Artificer trade will give the character a SP in his Math skill, due to its integral role in measuring and planning, and for the use of any other trade in which counting and tallying are essential, especially in trade as a Merchant, and also in the pursuit of Astronomy and Astrology. The use of any of these trades should require checks for this skill, and such activities as planning the logistics of beasts and supplies for the party before making any journeys, in addition, the SP’s helping to keep the Math skill growing.

Artificer SL’s is limited to no higher than the character’s SL as a Mathematician, and the same restriction will apply to the use of Astronomy/Astrology, as well.

The attmod. for the Math skill is based on the character’s AWA.


GM’s Notes

The skill will come into play whenever the character engages in a business transaction, whether it is just to make sure that the proper change is received, to make sure that the character has not been over-charged on a bill at a tavern or inn, or to check rates charged or figures kept by stewards, bailiffs, or merchants’ accountants, or in shipping manifests. In these cases and in all the others mentioned above for which SP’s are to be awarded, a d100 check should be required for the character vs. the CHM of the NPC with whom he is dealing. To the DV should be added a bonus based on the NPC’s skill as a Merchant (as applicable), and another based on his skill as a Player (as applicable).

IF the check is failed but the NPC is actually dealing fairly, no problem, but if failed and he is being taken advantage of, he will not know it. Only if a NPC is trying to cheat him and he makes a successful Math check will he catch that fact so he can rectify the situation.

Because the player’s knowledge should be kept the same as his character’s as much as possible, when the character’s money is being handled by a NPC servant, valet, secretary, etc., the GM or one of the other players should keep track of his money for him, particularly his cash, of which there isn’t likely to be any written account kept. If the PC wants a written account of expenses kept, he must ask for it, and then he must deal with the medieval form of household accounting, which involves all transactions for a single day for a certain type of goods, usually dependant on the household “department” in which it is used, being lumped together, but especially all goods obtained in a single purchase from the same merchant being similarly grouped together with the cash outlay for the entire purchase, usually because the dickering over price is in pounds, shillings, pence and then farthings over the total cost, not per-item. lf the PC doesn’t like this, he must specify that he wants the household accounts itemized, but due to the practice just described he may not always be able to have it that way.


This is rather a multi-faceted measure of a character’s knowledge. It can be used in general terms but can also be sharpened to specific areas of interest in which a character, through repetition of use, may develop different SL’s. Some such areas may be trade related and awarded at the start of play at SL’s above 1. Every specific area of interest chosen for the Connoisseur trade skill carries with it the Lore associated with it and at equal SL.

Anatomy & Physiology

Ancient History

Ancient Literature & Philosophy

Astronomy & Astrology

Classical Mythology & Poetry

Herbcraft & Apothecary

History of Place Names, Holy Places

History (native), Recent and Ancient

Foreign, Recent and Ancient

Throne & Altar, Recent and Ancient

Law & Custom, Recent & Origins

Market & Commodities, Native Regions & Foreign

Mathematics & Geometry

Noble Families & Bloodlines

Popular (current) Poetry & Literature

Folklore (regional, national)

This list, while fairly representative of the possibilities is by no means intended to be exclusive and complete. The GM is expected over time to come up with additional areas in which it may be considered advantageous for the character’s to specialize in Lore.

Most of the entries on the list is found among the various trade skill rosters in Step 5. of Character Generation. Folklore encompasses the nature of and identities of such things as nursery spirits/bogeys, nursery rhymes, local myth, history, legend, origins of special local place names, especially colorful nick-names.

The Lore skill measures how conversant a character is with a given subject matter, how widely read (if applicable), or how well informed regardless of the source(s). It is indicative of how much ancillary and background information the character picked up when growing up and when taking his trade training, learning the skills in his portfolio.

Lore skill is an Open Skill. Every character will have some measure of Lore, especially regarding the locality in which he grew up, the trade(s) in which he is schooled, and the specific skills in which he is trained. Every character will have the opportunity to cultivate Lore in a given area of interest, or in general regarding his trades and skills, during the course of play, he need merely follow the procedures outlined for doing so in Chapter 2. of Part III.

Lore can represent the character’s familiarity with the legends and myths both native and foreign to the country in which he was born. BUT these are also areas of specialization requiring extensive reading to attain, so only general questions in those regards is covered by a general Lore skill. How well a character has educated himself in addition to how well he listened to grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, while sitting upon their knees, and to the players and minstrels who wandered through spinning their tales of their country’s history and of faraway lands are all indicated by the Lore skill.

While this skill indicates how well the character paid attention to and participated in the oral traditions and folkways of his home and country, childrens’ stories, færie tales, local legends, customs, and superstitions, it also measures practical knowledge concerning the domestic household, lore and handicrafts needed in the character’s class and station to get by, with or without servants, as applicable. Lore will also include common social information such as where the best of the nation’s various commodities are produced and should be obtained (although there is a specialty for Merchants which involves far more detailed knowledge), the identities of colorful local personalities, especially folk heroes or great nobles, and any major events considered important in local history. The names of any prominent geographic features in the vicinity where the character grew up will also be encompassed by Lore, and any folk tales or historic events attached to them or lying behind the names, explaining their origins.

This skill also encompasses all of the background knowledge in the areas of the character’s skills, making him familiar with great masters and men of note in his skill(s) or trade, enabling him to identify items, materials, and/or tools used in his skills and abilities. In general, all of those facets of history and information not directly discussed in a skill’s description but considered important enough to those in the trade to be assumed to have been handed down by his masters in the oral tradition during his training is measured by the Lore SL, especially those concerning legendary heroes of the trades and accomplishments of skill of record or mythic proportions, the higher the SL the better informed the character is on the prominent people in the field and the more obscure aspects of his trade/skills.

Recognizing coins, their country of origins, the names by which they are called, the city in which minted, and their value in exchange with the coins of his own realm is considered part of the basic Lore of the Merchant trade.

The DV for exercising the character’s Lore skill will rise when attempting to determine whether the character has knowledge of foreign lands, peoples, or crafts and topics that do not directly touch on his skills. in regards to foreign lands, a character is likely to have only rumor and public conjecture if he does not have knowledge of foreign customs and Social Graces.

To recall a bit of general cultural information or some better known story or anecdote native to the character’s background or region of origins (GM’s discretion).

When making checks to determine or recall information relating to one of a character’s trade(s) or skills (level of public demand, impact of market and social trends, or the more prominent, renowned, or notorious practitioners, theories and philosophies of the trade or skill as practiced and the business of the trade or skill), either the character’s trade SL or his SL for the skill in question (as applicable) may be substituted for determining the AV, whichever is greatest, and the character will receive a bonus based on the skill with the lesser SL.

For examplein making a roll to determine if a trade SL 10 Craftsman character is familiar with a particular type of materials for his trade, or the style or work of a particular practitioner, his trade SL of 10 would be used for the base AV, plus his att. mod. of +1, and from his SL6 Lore he would receive a (1 per 4 SL’s) bonus of +2, for a total of 13.

For checks concerning knowledge directly hinging on the character’s trade or skill (materials, tools, techniques and processes of the trade or skill as practiced, and/or its less illustrious practitioners), and especially in regards to a Magister’s or other Scholastic’s knowledge regarding an established fields of study, the character’s trade SL or SL for the skill in question is added to the Lore SL in determining the AV.

As mentioned, the Lore skill is an overall measure of how well the character is tuned into the developments and, knowledge and society of the skill or trade and the knowledge that be gleaned through all such channels, thus the trade SL’s and SL’s are combined when the subject matter lies within the scope of the character’s training and this his interests.

The obscurity of the information in the GM’s opinion will determine the DV for any exercise of this skill, generally speaking. The general “degrees of Difficulty” table in Chapter 1. Task resolution of Part III. The Rules of the Game is the best guideline the GM can follow in determining Lore DV’s.

To supplement that table in regards to the Lore skill, knowledge that is restricted to fewer than 10 people in the world will stand at the very top of the scale, DV 40+. That shared by a single household, ruling body of a town, or small isolated village/hamlet, held within the bounds of a single hundred within a shire would be in the 30’s, that shared by a small fraternity or group of heads of families but held within a single shire might be in the 20’s, while that shared between members of a Guild (Warden rank or higher) or the members of a particular family station throughout a town but otherwise restricted to a single region of perhaps 3 or 4 shires that share economic or noble family concerns would perhaps be in the teens, while DV’s of 10 or below could be considered common knowledge for the Common and noble classes OR common and lower classes within a whole quadrant of a realm (or an even larger geographical region if the realm in question is relatively small), and DV’s in the negative numbers would be considered common knowledge, such as any high-points of social or political history.

The attmod. for any exercise of the Lore skill is based upon the character’s AWA.


GM’s Notes

Lore checks are a good way of screening the information that the GM hands out, breaking it up so that all is not revealed at the same time, and not necessarily to all characters at once, thus creating an air of anticipation, even mystery. Lore also represents the characters’ memories, a good tool for determining whether the character(s) “remember” something, for deciding whether or not to give the PC’s a bit of information again on request when the GM has already given it out once. The PC’s must learn to discern what is important, however, the GM should be sure to let them know and also caution them to write it down if the information is truly vital to the flow of play or the flow of the adventure.

The GM might require a Lore check even for a bit of hometown news that might be considered general knowledge, for some of the characters simply might not have been told yet. Lore checks should also be evaluated along lines of character class, station, and/or trade; all characters need not be allowed a Lore check to “remember” a bit of information just because a few of the characters in a party are in a position to do so.

This skill is also the means for determining whether the character can “remember” a bit of background when the GM wants to add additional details or people from the character’s past. The GM must use discretion in these cases, for there are some things that one simply never forgets – local customs, family traditions, and the like. If the GM wants to add this kind of local color, he is much better off simply writing out and passing it out to those whose characters it concerns. These handouts become part of the character’s notes, which are nothing more than a written record of the character’s memory.

The GM should allow the character to specialize in a particular field of Lore, as established for a number of trades already, and track the character’s general Lore skill separately. The PC may choose a topic to pursue and allot SP’s to it separately, tracking the SP’s from general Lore checks along side, making SL progression checks for each separately, so that the PC might go up in SL in his general knowledge Lore and not in his special knowledge Lore, or vice-versa. If the PC chooses a topic or category of study associated with his trade, then the special Lore category might include all aspects of knowledge concerning the trade – the character could become an historian or trivia collector where his trade is concerned as well as a trade member, BUT the GM should start the character off with the same SL in that Lore sub-category as the character’s trade SL at the point at which he starts to accumulate trade Lore SP’s towards it.

A bit of information, news, or Lore will first be rated major (1 to 5) or minor (6 to 10). Generally, news of minor events will not travel beyond the province in which they occur, only social events, political machinations, or scandals that make an impression through shock or delight will travel. The DV’s for these is modified by location, by 1 point per 10 miles distant of the location in which it occurred/to which it pertains (GM’s discretion).

Historic Lore, popular ballads, poems, and other oral or literary works of heroic proportions or impact will first be rated major or minor, as above, and then is modified by their age, adding 1 per 10 years beyond the first 50. The modifiers for the location of the event or source of the work will then be made as described above.


Though often considered to be an inseparable part of one’s language skills by modem folk, that simply will not be true in the period of the game. Even more so, the skills of reading and writing is considered separate. The ability to write, especially with a fine, neat scrivener’s or secretary’s hand, to be able to prepare and care for the tools of that art, cleaning and cutting the quills and preparing and storing the ink properly, is considered a highly skilled craft, generally reserved to the clergy and professional scriveners and textwriters.

The Literatus skill will only enable the character to recognize and read any conventionally scribed text currently in common use. It is required for any character who wishes to be able to spell well enough to compose letters, missives, or other written works with the Scrivener skill, as opposed to being limited to copying the compositions of others. Literatus will provide the character with a chance to puzzle-out the meaning of notes scribbled in handwritten script or letters penned without benefit of one of the dominant conventional professional textwriter’s styles.

The Literatus skill must be taken separately for each family of languages the character speaks, as discussed under the Linguist skill, that he also wishes to be able to read, bundling these skills (AWA ÷ 4) to an (AWA) skill-slot. This is especially true of those that use eccentric alphabets (such as the Cyrillic, Hebrew, Hindi, Egyptian hieroglyphs, or the various oriental ideographic writing styles), those that use an eccentric set of characters and special critical marks (accents, umlauts, vowel notations over the consonants such as are seen in Hebrew, etc).

This skill is considered to be so closely linked to its brother, the spoken Linguist’s skill, that the character need merely be equipped with it. It is assumed that the character’s spoken skill SL indicates the size of his vocabulary, and merely having the Literatus skill for that family of skills makes him familiar enough with the alphabet, punctuation, and rules of spelling (although there are few standards to spellings in the period of the game, about 3-5 more commonly used spellings for most words) to be able to identify any word he already knows. Thus, the character’s Literatus SL will always effectively be the same as his spoken Language SL. It isn’t tracked on its own by means of SP’s and SL’s, no need to write its SL’s in on the character sheet. As on the sample character sheets in the back of the book, the player can simply make a “Literatus” entry after the language skill to which it applies and put a dash through the “SL” block next to it.

The attmod. for reading is based on the character’s AWA score.

Checks on the dice versus the character’s skill will usually only be required when attempting to read passages or documents rendered with a LoA of Linguist skill greater than the character’s own, especially those containing specific jargon and esoteric subject matter beyond the character’s experience and general grasp of the language (GM’s discretion).


GM’s Notes

The DV for reading casual script, which is the form of all common handwriting, should be 1 per point by which the writer’s CRD is below 12 (as applicable).

 The only factors that might raise the DV would arise from the use of improvised materials or tools, physical impairment of the hands at the time such as might accrue from being wounded in Hand/Arm area with which the writing was done, splattering, running, or bleeding of the text due to being spattered or wet in some fashion. The light level will, of course, also have a large effect on the DV for reading, too. Gloom and even Glare modifiers will always be a factor.

The GM must understand that in the period of the game there were any number of acceptable ways to spell any given word when written out, generally phonetic or an attempt at spelling phonetically, and this fact makes the Literatus skill that much more important.



The importance of the ability to communicate is not one that should be underplayed. This skill is used to equip the character with the skills to speak and comprehend a foreign tongue, but also more immediately used to describe his facility with his native tongue and any specialized regional or trade tongues, as well.

Those Linguist skills with which the character is equipped for his native or Vulgar tongue (sometimes called his milk-tongue) should be easy enough to figure out. RoM is based in an analogue of England, so the equivalent of Olde English will do for the free commons and landbound classes. Border regions may have more than one, and port towns usually specialize in receiving the ships sailing from specific foreign ports, which will define a foreign language that may actually be taken as a native language. In England in the period of the game, the language of the French Conqueror remained the language of the noble social class and even the royal and noble courts for many hundreds of years, so this would then qualify as a native language for those of the noble classes and the wealthy free commons.

The racial language, the rune-tongue of the dwarfs, will also be included, bundled with the dwarfish character’s native language(s), and for elfin characters in the same vein both the individual kindred dialect (Dune, Frost, Marsh, Coral, Wood, or Shadow) and the High Elfin tongue still only spoken by the High Elfin kindred as their sole language is included, bundled with the elfin character’s native languages. The native languages will always include the language spoken by the prevailing culture (usually human) by or in the midst of which these races live, in addition to their native racial tongue. It is likely the dunladdin will form a Gaelic sub-culture living nearby or even amidst human folk.

The Trader’s Tongue is a representation of the argot spoken historically by widely travelled sailors, a pastiche of common phrases and terms from a number of languages used by the community of Mariners, including Merchant Adventurers. This “language” is not exactly stable and subject to continuous if not exactly rapid change, additions may be made, words falling into disuse as others are adopted, etc. but, as a piece of history, for the purposes of the game, it is cast as a defined language which may be taught and learned. The so-called “Thieves’ Cant” was similarly fluid in nature and also a polyglot tongue by nature historically belonging to the society of rogues, knaves, evil-doers, blackguards, low characters, and ne’er-do-wells. thus it is specifically included for use in play. The trade languages of the Druids, Witches, and Wizards are of the same name, polyglots all, but their vocabulary tends to be MUCH more stable over far longer periods of time, due to the purpose for which it was created and for which it is preserved.

Scholars’ Tongue is the equivalent of Latin in the medieval world, shared by all the Scholastic community and all those who consider themselves educated. The player will please note that this skill is generally used to describe currently spoken, living languages, BUT for Scholars a number of dead languages, the gameworld equivalents of ancient Greek, Egyptian Coptic and hieroglyphics, Hittite, Sumerian cuneiform, Babylonian, and the like should also be available and described by the use of this skill. Any dead or specifically scholarly languages from far lands and elder ages MUST be taken as Elective trade skills under the ægis of the Scholar/Sage trade or Wizards, Witches, and Wizard-Alchemists, perhaps Hearth-Witches and Hedge-Wizards, as well (GM’s discretion).

These languages are neither foreign nor native, but essentially part and parcel of one of the character’s trades, and is bundled along with the character’s other language skills, up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills accounting for only a single skill-slot.

Otherwise, when choosing foreign language skills for a character, some rationale must be applied to which ones with which the character is equipped. As far as truly foreign tongues with which a player might want to equip his character (equivalents of Dutch or High German, one of the more prevalent Italian dialects, or Danish, Spanish, Moorish-by-way-of-Spain, or the like), some opportunity must have existed for him to learn it or them up to (AWA ÷ 4) all bundled into the same AWA skill-slot. Whether it was a foreign neighbor in the merchant quarter, or a widely-travelled friend of the family, a widely travelled and well known local Merchant, or Mariner, or an old Warrior who had travelled in his hey-day and picked up a foreign language or two, a foreign Scholar in residence providing tutoring services in languages, this is up to the player and GM to work out together.

The player and GM will please note that these language skills do not include literacy (the ability to read), much less the ability to write, which is considered such a refined skill in the period and gameworld that it forms the basis of an entire trade.

For the ability to read see “Literatus”, and for the ability to write see “Scrivener” (both as follows).

Those language skills present in the region but not spoken in the character’s native social circles, or those foreign tongues for which a willing tutor must have been found or hired, may be more difficult to improve beyond the SL with it at which the character begins play. Those with which the character grows up in his own native class is easiest to maintain  and even increase if the character has a desire.

Situations that will test the characters skill come when those who speak the same tongue try to communicate across trade and/or social class, or station barriers.

The att. mod. for Linguist skills is based on the character’s AWA.

GM’s Notes

In most cases, the GM should limit availability of languages from neighboring countries to border areas (within 40 miles of the border. In the period of the game, port towns and international over-land merchant routes are generally dominated by the trade of a limited number of nations, because the Crown will set by statute (law) what towns will have the prerogative of receiving the trade of which nations, even dividing the traffic of individual cities of a single foreign nation between different ports of call when the trade originating there is brisk enough to warrant it. This will also determine which merchants of what foreign nations will settle in what cities in the realm.

This will effectively limit the foreign language skills available, in and of itself, but a rule of thumb of no more than three or four foreign languages should be available in any given region of a single realm.

In addition, the snobbery of the upper classes towards foreigners may well make some languages more desirable than others, and these preferences should affect the availability of languages among the upper classes. When the Italians were bank-rolling the crown’s activities, providing loans for capital, they were rife at Court and Italian was very fashionable to know. But in time, after some 40 or 50 years, the Crown defaulted on their loans and a number of the leading Italian banking houses were ruined, they fled the Court and Italian was no longer fashionable. When Catherine of Aragon was wed to Henry a number of Spaniards came to Court, and knowledge of Spanish as fashionable until it became clear there would be no heir and Henry sought to rid himself of her, Spanish being no longer considered so fashionable to know, perhaps even politically dangerous. Only the more fashionable one or two languages relatively steadily in the Crown’s favor should be available for characters from the upper classes.

The GM should take a moment and look at each character’s background and ask himself just how many of the languages locally available it is likely that the character was able to gain sufficient exposure to in order to learn to speak fluently during his formative years. Characters with Merchant family backgrounds or trained in the Merchant/Chapman and/or Courtier/Diplomat or Mariner trades are likely to have had all the exposure they could have wanted to any of the languages available.

In regards to the maximum of (AWA ÷ 4) language skills to fill a single skill slot, all language skills of the same derivation or linguistic family, in the manner that all the Latin or Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French, etc.) are related will count as only a single skill towards accounting for the (AWA ÷ 4) language skills to fill a single AWA-slot. BUT, the character will only be allowed up to (AWA ÷ 4) languages in the same family for a single skill. If the character wants to have more, another of the skills going into filling that AWA slot must be devoted to those additional languages or dialects.

 The GM should develop the languages of his gameworld into families that share similar traits, and allow those that fall in the same family group to be taken together under the same skill slot, even if taken as Trade-Skills. This allows languages, which can be quite numerous and thus a great burden on the limited number of character skill slots, to be expressed in all their diversity without putting an extraordinary demand on the character’s AWA-slots, so no PC wants to get involved with them.

For examplea character with AWA 14 could have language skills with up to 4 German dialects, 4 Gaelic dialects, 4 Scandinavian tongues (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, etc.), and up to 4 Romance Languages (Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin), that is, up to 16 languages all filling only 1 AWA skill-slot.

No skill check is required for using one’s language(s) in general play, nor Skill Points earned towards it, unless the character is speaking to a member of different Social Class or trade group, or those from another region of the realm who speak dialects different from that of the character (differing, very confusing vocabulary, slang, and turns of phrase), or with those of lesser education, especially when Scholar characters are speaking of esoteric subjects to commoners of no real education. As long as the character is in a position to use his native language(s) fairly regularly, the SL’s remain unchanged, though no SP’s accrue toward advancement.

The GM should set a base DV for each family of foreign languages, perhaps a base of 1 to 5 for a group like the Romance languages, maybe varying the DV for the individual members of the group, maybe 1 for Spanish, 2 for Italian, 3 or 4 for French. For the Germanic languages the GM could start with a base D V of 5; for a mish-mash compiled language as complex as modern English or as foreign to a Westerner as the Middle Eastern languages the GM could start with a base DV of 10 or 15; while the base for Hindi and/or the Far Eastern languages could be up to 15 or 20.

The DV to communicate with language skills will also be affected by the difference in class and station between the two parties. The social class and station is counted from the bottom of the landbound list up, and starting again with the common farmer on the table of free commoner stations and counting upwards, then to the table of lesser nobility and that for the greater nobles. The GM need simply count the number of stations between the character and the one to whom e is speaking. If they are of the same station or within one or two steps, there generally is no issue.

The DV’s for regional dialects of native languages, or DV bonuses for dialects of foreign languages, should be equal to the number of miles from the nearest center in which the branch the character knows is generally spoken.

This should be added to the base for the (main) language spoken by the character. The farther the character goes afield, the worse the accent, pronunciation differences, and predominant slang iscome. The dialects of isolated country locations is the worst to the urbane townsmen, and the smooth and lazy speech of the townsmen is the most difficult for the simple country folk to understand.

To this will also be added any differences in education. For this purpose, levels of education are assigned values, as follows.

Everyone, high and low, gets to go to songschool on the steps of the local church or its equivalent, that is rated a “1” in education. Those who can read a little and know how to count is a “3”, while those who know their math and have developed a decent if not a fair hand at writing in addition to being able to read well is a “5”, and those who have a fair hand at writing and know some Latin as well is an “8” (Finishing School or Grammar School bundles); the bachelor is rated at “12” (degree in Grammar, also), the licentia docendi at “14”, and the PhD at “18”.