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.

Assassin Strike

This special trade skill is available only to characters of the Assassin Trade, for whom it is a defining skill. The Assassin’s expertise centers upon the bypassing of defenses and striking at the body’s most vulnerable areas, the various organs, arteries and nerve clusters.

The Assassin Strike may be used to attack any member of any of the major, warm-blooded humanoid or demi-human races in the worlds of RoM, due to the fact that it is assumed that there are no major differences in their bodies’ physical make-up, for the purposes of the game. The Strike may be used in combat or any other setting, according to the weapon employed, such as with a bow and arrow in the manner of a sniper.

When training in the Assassin’s deadly art, the weapons with which the master Assassins teach their craft is limited to a special few that are designed to best get past the defenses of armor and reach vital organs inside the body. The following are the only weapons with which the special trade Assassin Strikes may be made.

Baling Hook/Sickle

Dagger/Dirk/Knife (any)

Sword (any Thrusting)

Bow (any)

Pitchfork/Trident/Military Fork

Spetum/Ranseur/Partisan

Featherstaff

Guisarme

Spear/Javelin (any)

The player is free to equip his Assassin character with any Weapon skills other than those on the list for his character, the character simply may not perform his special Assassin Strikes with any weapons other than those on this roster. As the player can see from the selection of weapons on the roster, Assassin Strikes are always Thrusting or piercing attacks, and interact with armor on that basis. The only exception to the weapons restriction in regards to the Assassin Strike is the Brawler skill, with which the Assassin may improvise an appropriate thrusting/piercing weapon from materials at hand when no acceptable formal one is available (GM’s discretion).

Due to his intense training in the advantages and disadvantages of various weapon types against the different types of armor, the vulnerabilities of the different types of armor, the Assassin’s skill with this special Strike enables him to reduce the effective protection afforded by any armor worn by a target by (SL) points. As long as the Assassin knows what type it is and can see basically how it lays (GM’s discretion), the amount by which the Assassin is able to reduce the protection value of underlying layers of armor is halved for each layer beyond the (most visible) outside layer. The Assassin must always use a weapon from the selection of those available for this skill that could conceivably get through the weak points of the victim’s armor, however (narrow enough, according to the restrictions on piercing weapons for the armor type).

Because all Assassin Strikes are Thrusting attacks, whether the armor DR is affected cannot be not specified.

For example, if the Assassin has SL17 he is capable of lowering armor protection values by up to 17 points, but he can only lessen the protection provided by second and third underlying layers of 9 (8.5) and 4, respectively. Any protection offered by any armors beyond these amounts is subtracted from the POT of the Strike.

IF the target’s armor reduces the POT of the Strike to zero (0), the Strike fails.

Before an Assassin may attempt to use the Strike, he must first “Assess” the physical resources of the foe in general, in a similar manner to the Assessment discussed in the trade description and using the same AV and DV, but for the purposes of judging how the organs are most likely to sit and where the actual locations of the most vulnerable points are most likely to be, according to visible landmarks of the body, posture and Build. The less clothing the target is wearing for this assessment, the easier it is.

Once the Assessment is performed for an individual, it need never be done again. It is a good idea for the player to keep a list of those for whom he has successfully done so (for those who remain living, anyway) in case he ends up attempting a Strike on them later.

Every layer of clothing adds up, providing a Progressive DV according to the number of layers donned.

IF the target is wearing armor, the sum of the DR’s of the layers is added, instead, and if armor has been donned between the first assessment and the current situation, or the armor has changed from one encounter to the next, another Assessment must be made of that armor so the Assassin knows what he is dealing with, first.

The Assassin must be aware of the armor he is Striking through, and have made a successful Assessment check for it before it is attempted. If a character ever launches an Assassin Strike on a target who is wearing armor unbeknownst to him, the Strike will automatically be foiled. There is no way he can adjust his attack quickly enough to compensate for armor he didn’t know was there and obviously could not see.

In order to attempt an Assassin Strike, the player must make a successful d100 roll “to hit” the target regardless of whether he is in an actual combat situation or not – settings that are especially quiet and secluded (free of witnesses) or those that are busy and confused are often best. If used in battle, the Strike roll is resolved in the same manner as any other weapon blow, with a Contested Roll.

Since the Assassin Strike is made with such great precision, the Assassin cannot add any damage to the Strike by means of a Hearty Blow as he might with a normal weapon blow. A successful Assassin Strike inflicts only (1 per 4 trade SL’s) actual BP’s of damage, to a maximum of (STR ÷ 4), to one of the Portals of Life.

Unless the wound is channeled away through the use of Sorcery or Naming magick before or within an allowable margin of the time of death according to the descriptions of the applicable magicks, the victims dies from any successful Assassin Strike, if not immediately, then soon after. Magick is the only recourse for most victims, as only a HIGHLY skillful Surgeon can treat such a wound, and such skillful Surgeons are by no means common.

First and foremost, the assassin’s victim must make a successful P-RES check vs. the shock inflicted on the vital areas of the body’s systems by the Strike.

Failure indicates total shock and immediate death. Only the most puissant (Sovereign) magicks can bring the victim back from this.

In the medieval mind and spirit, the Flesh does not stand alone.

Success relegates the victim to suffer great losses from bleeding and vital bodily fluids with losses of energy from the failure of the damaged vital tissues and organs, so that the victim loses (Strike AV) points of divided evenly between STR and CND at the end of the CS in which has been struck. The victim suffers the same amount again every (CND) CS’s afterwards. The current CND, including the reduction from the Strike, is used for this purpose. Death occurs when the CND is reduced to zero (0).

IF a Strike victim should get up and try to move about, the rate at which the STR and CND losses are deducted is doubled. This continues until death.

When determining the DV for any Surgeon (specifically) to attempt to repair the damage, the AV for the Strike is added to the BP’s inflicted with the wound, and the process embodied in a Contested Roll of the same character as an Attunement roll.

The same successful Contested Roll is required if an attempt is made to treat the wound by magickal means. If successful, the skills of the Herbal and common support therapy can be used to aid recovery and healing normally.

Despite the low number of damage points, the injuries inflicted by an Assassin’s trade Strike are considered to be most dire due to the fact that they result in death when they are performed correctly if they are not tended to immediately.

The point of the assassination strike is not to kill by virtue of the amount physical damage inflicted, but due to the vital locations which the Assassin Strikes. The targets the Assassin seeks when striking at a body are specifically identified with those sites that have spiritual significance, too. Because death would most likely result, the soul is said also to be accessible through these sites, which are also called the “Twelve Doors of the Soul” or the “Twelve Portals of Life”, as follows.

1) the top of the head (the ‘crown’, where the ‘sutures’ of the plates of the skull meet at the top-rear, the softest spot on the skull)

2) the hollow of the occiput (at the base of the skull, on the back side, and immediately inferior to)

3) the hollows of the temples (temporal fossæ)

4) the apple of the throat (“Adam’s Apple”, thyroid cartilage)

5) suprasternal notch (at the base of the throat, between the sterno-clavicular or collar bone joints at the top of the sternum), but also including the adjoining carotid/juglar triangles marked by the location of the sterno-cleido-mastoid, (the rope-like muscles running from the sternal notch up behind the corner of the mandible or lower jaw)

6) the armpit (axilla)

7) the breast-bone (‘spoon of the breast’) (sternum-xiphoid process)

8) the navel (umbilicus)

9) the inside of the bend of the elbow (antecubital fossa)

10) the hollow in the backside of the thigh just above and behind the knee (popliteal fossa)

11) the bulge of the groin (femoral triangle, pelvic origins of the thighs, inguinal tendon areas),

12) the sole of the foot

These locations are all very vulnerable to debilitating injury and susceptible to mortal wounds. These include several of what are referred to as “endangerment sites” in modern medical parlance, and most of these correspond to the seven chakras of Hindu tradition (as follows).

7) Crown chakra (Portal 1)

6) 3rd Eye chakra (Portal 3, exactly between the temples on the forehead)

5) Throat chakra (Portal 4, Adam’s apple & Portal 5, suprasternal notch)

4) Heart chakra (Portal 7)

3) Solar plexus (just beneath Portal 7, the xiphoid process)

2) Sacral chakra (at the same latitude of the body as Portal 11)

1) Root chakra (at the same latitude of the body as Portal 11)

The chakras are wheels or vortices of energy through which energy of the soul or spirit is received and transmitted.

The shock and trauma inflicted on the victim in piercing the body at one of the Doors or Portals is not merely physical, to the Flesh, but also to the soul and Spirit. Due to the nature of the wound inflicted, the victim not collapsing immediately in death suffers a penalty to all AV’s for any actions he attempts until death takes him equal to the Strike AV with which he was struck. Even if he maintains consciousness, the victim is in a state equivalent to being Stunned until death overtakes him.

Once it is determined that his spirit is resilient and he remains conscious he may remain so until death without further P-RES checks.

The attmod. for making an Assassin Strike is based solely on the character’s CRD score and uses the Strike SL instead of the character’s normal SL to wield that weapon in battle, OR the assassin’s weapon SL with the weapon being used, whichever is less.

  • IF the character’s SL with the weapon is greater than his SL with the Assassin Strike, a bonus based on the difference in SL’s between them is added to the Strike AV. If the Strike SL is greater

Weapon size ratings and character STA and STR scores do not affect the character’s AV for an Assassination Strike in any way.

  • IF the character is equipped with the Husbandman trade he may also attempt to assassinate the beasts that lie within his scope of practice (specialty). In these cases, the effective Strike SL is limited to no greater than the Husbandman trade SL in determining the AV. If the character is also a Beastmaster of the same type of beasts, a bonus is allowed based on the Beastmaster trade SL.

 

GM’s Notes: 

The character’s DV for making an Assassination Strike is equal to the victim’s (Defense DV, if applicable) + (a Progressive modifier per point by which the target’s [modified] STA is greater or less than 20). The Defense DV used here depends upon whether the target is aware that the assassin is trying to kill him or is engaged in combat with him. If the target is taken by “Surprise” the DV is reduced to only the bonus granted due to the average protection of any armor worn (as applicable), plus one (1).

  • IF the assassination roll fails, the character has missed and, if the victim was unaware, the GM must check to see if the victim has been alerted to his peril. It is highly unlikely that, if already engaged in battle with the Assassin, the target will realize the magnitude of his peril should the Assassin Strike land true.
  • IF the assessment of the target’s physical resources has been failed or just not done, the DV for that check should also be added to the DV for the Strike.
  • IF the assessment of the target’s armor (as applicable) has been failed or just not done, the DV for that check should also be added to the DV for the Strike, as well.

The penalty due to the presence of distracting persons or beasts around or in the company of the target will apply whether the Assassin is Hurling or firing Assassin Strikes into a melee situation at range or engaging the target in battle in person.

Surprising the target affects the DV normally where those conditions have been obtained.

Reducing the amount of damage inflicted with this sort of Strike by “Channeling” part of it away will affect the results on the victim in the same manner as armor hindering the Strike – the number of points channeled away is used to divide the effects down. For a victim to actually be saved from the effects of a Strike and his swiftly approaching death, the magicker must channel the entire wound away.

 The one to whom the wound is channeled is left with the same problem that the original victim had, as if the attack had originally befallen him instead, so finding a suitable recipient may pose just as great a problem. True healing is rare, and is hindered by the AV of the Assassin as any other healer, but is the best answer.

Due to the fact that wound inflicted is Mortal, “Swift Heal” can have no effect, the wound is too severe for the faculties of the body to heal on its own, regardless of the speed at which it does so.

 

Combustibles

This skill is only available as a skill of the Alchemist Trade. This sub-skill adds the concocting and distilling of flammable and combustible substances such as Greekfire, aqua vitæ, flashpots and flash-bombs, smoke-bombs and smudge-pots, and stink-pots to the Alchemist’s portfolio of knowledge. Like many of the other Alchemist substances, the strength, virulence, or potential for damage in some cases, of these substances is measured in Levels of Potence, or just Potence (POT). Like any minstrel choosing which song to play, the Alchemist is able to choose the POT of the substance he is attempting, setting the basis for the DV. The higher the POT, the more expensive the exercise, and the greater the loss in time and ruined materials if the Alchemist should fail.

Greekfire is a sticky substance, a thick oil-based flammable made from naphtha and limestone, that is hurled at an opponent to splash across and around him after being lit, used a great deal by the Greeks in their naval battles and in sieges (hence its name), also dumped down the outside of castle walls upon encroaching armies and hurled in casks by catapult into the baileys of castles by the besiegers. Greek fife will stick to all that it touches, much like hot pitch. A solid splash of it will bum for (POT) points of damage immediately and again every 5th Pulse afterwards until it has burned out. It cannot be washed away. Greek fire. Naphtha’s sticky, quick-spreading flames can only be extinguished by sand, vinegar or urine.

Greekfire burns for (POT x 4) minutes, times the number of cups if it is being held in some sort of vessel while burning. After the (POT x 4) minutes have passed, so long as the flames haven’t found any other fuel to ignite and spread to, the damage inflicted by the Greekfire drops by 1 at the beginning of every minute following. When the damage being inflicted is reduced to zero (0), the fire dies out.

For examplePOT 10 Greekfire inflicts 10 points of damage and the same again every 5th Pulse for 40 minutes (POT I0 x 4 = 40 minutes), long after any battle has been concluded. If it hasn’t found any other fuel to burn in those 40 minutes, the damage declines; 9 points every 5th Pulse in the first minute, 8 in the second, 7 in the third, and so on to 1 point every 5th Pulse through the ninth minute, after which it gutters out.

Aqua vitæ is basically alcohol distilled from fruits and grains, but for the purposes of the game will also include kerosene and other flammable sapwood distillates. These will burn a bit hotter than the Greekfire, but they will also burn up faster. A solid dousing with kerosene or alcohol will burn for (POT) points of damage immediately and again every 5th Pulse afterwards until it has burned out.

Aqua vitæ only burns for (POT) minutes, however (x number of cups, if burning in a vessel). Alcohols can be distilled from nearly any vegetable matter. See the description of brewing and winemaking in the Cook skill (pg _) for a description of the base yields the character must work with in common fermented beverages. These liquids burn very rapidly, so that the damage inflicted begins to drop after the first (POT) CS’s, dropping by 1 point every 1 CS. When the damage is reduced to 1 point, it remains at that stage until the (POT-minute) duration expires and it burns out.

For example, POT10 aqua vitae inflicts 10 points of damage and then again every 5th Pulse for the first 10 CS’s (1 minute & 4 CS’s), after which the damage declines to 9 points for 1 CS, 8 points, 7 points, then 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and then 1 point, at which amount it continues until it has burned for 10 full minutes, after which it burns out.

The materials for making Greekfire cost 2d. per cup + (lfg. per 4 points of POT) per cup. The costs for making aqua vitæ depend on the materials used (grain, fruit, sapwood), according to the best market price the character can find, unless the character raises or forages his own materials.

  • IF applied to some combustible substance like cloth, paper, parchment, wood, or the like, the GM the rules for fires apply in judging the rate at which the fire grows, instead, and how far the fire burn, especially in the case of exposed wood objects or surfaces.

Fire was one of the greatest and most feared dangers of the period for which the people kept sand and water buckets handy by all necessary fires and hooks for pulling burning thatching down, and other similar preparations so that the actual numbers of structure fires causing widespread damage to a medieval city was on average about once every 50 years or so. To set a fire was a felony punishable by death.

Flasbpots create a dazzling flash of brilliant, sparkling fire with no real duration (burns out before the end of the CS in which lit off) which inflicts a (POT) Glare or Blindness penalty on all those caught unawares looking in its direction when it goes off. Unless they are aware of the nature of the danger and see the pot being lit, all in the vicinity are assumed to be Surprised by it and subject to its full effects. Who is facing the pot can be established by stretching a string from the location of the pot to each character’s figure or marker in the vicinity on the tactical display. Obviously, those located behind curtains, pillars, or other barriers, around comers, or the like on that Pulse will not be affected.

The Glare/Blindness penalty declines by half at the end of every CS until doing so no longer provides a result that rounds to a whole number.

  • IF the line drawn between the pot and the victim hits him in either Side, the effective POT of the penalty is halved.
  • IF the line drawn between pot and victim hits him in either Rear Flank, the POT of the effect is cut to 1/4th.

Those aware of the nature of the danger who see the pot being lit are given a Dodge check on d100 vs. the AGL of the person lighting the pot to attempt to turn away, dive for cover, or otherwise shield their faces. This can either save them from the effects entirely, if made, or reduce the POT penalty to 1/4th.

Flash-bombs have the same general effect as flash-pots, except that their effective POT is only 1/2 that chosen by the player when the full value is used to determine the DV for making. The player should keep this in mind, to balance his chances of success against the effect of the bomb(s) he makes.

Flash-bombs fit in the palm of the hand, however, may be used only once, and do not need to be lit. They have a hard shell which, when cracked, lets air in to ignite the core material. Thus, they must be thrown down on or against a hard surface to work, and those carrying them must take care not to accidentally drop them or crush them.

  • IF a flashpot or bomb is used in a setting subject to Gloom penalties, the effective POT of the flash is increased by the degree of contrast of the flash, the POT of the prevailing Gloom to which the area is subject is added to the effective POT of the flash.

Any standing over a flashpot or bomb when it is lit, regardless of whether by design as a trap or by casual accident, suffers (POT ÷ 4) points of damage from the fire, minus 1 point per foot he is beyond (POT ÷ 4) feet above it. Because the flames are basically directed by the pot, the same applies to those beside but the distances are measured in inches. For flashbombs, the flash is defined as filling a sphere or hemisphere (POT ÷ 4) feet in diameter, damage inflicted by contact being reduced by 1 point per foot that each victim lies beyond that. Any combustibles exposed to the flash are ignited normally, to be administered according to the situation and fire and fire damage rules (GM’s discretion).

Smudge-pots create a cloud of thick smoke either pale or charcoal dark (colors cost extra, see GM) that begin with a radius of 1 yard and gain 1 yard in radius per CS until it reaches its maximum of (POT) yards radius.

The GM can determine how much of a building’s interior is filled by that quantity mathematically by using rough figures to estimate, or guess-timate, volume at his own discretion.

Within the cloud of smoke or for those attempting to see through/past it, all suffer a (POT)-point Gloom penalty, which lasts until the smoke slowly disperses and subsides to the ground. Those caught within the smoke also have to deal with the difficulty it causes in breathing. This is treated effectively the same as being trapped underwater. Before being engulfed, each character has a chance to grab a breath to sustain him for a time (see Swimmer skill). Breathing in the smoke causes the character to choke and start to suffocate as surely as if he had just tried to breathe in a mouthful of water.

Smoke-bombs have the same general effect, except on a smaller scale, and their effective POT is only 1/2 that chosen by the player when the full value is used to determine the DV for making, in the same manner as flash-bombs, previously. The player should keep this in mind, to balance his chances of success against the effect of the bomb(s) he makes.

The Gloom penalty provided by the smoke-bomb is determined by POT in the same manner as a true smudge-pot, but it only fills an area roughly 3ft. + (1 per 4 points of POT) in radius, and lasts for only (POT) CS’s, after which it decline by 10ft. in diameter per CS.

Like flash bombs, these also fit in the palm of the hand and may be used only once, and do not need to be lit. They too have a hard shell which, when cracked, lets air in to ignite the core material. Thus, they must be thrown down on or against a hard surface to work, and those carrying them must take care not to accidentally drop or crush them.

  • IF a smudge-pots or smoke-bomb is used in a setting subject to Gloom penalties, the effective POT of the smoke is enhanced by the already Gloomy conditions. The Gloom penalty is added to the effective POT of the smoke. Under very bright, Glare-saturated conditions, the POT of the Gloom created by smudge-pots or smoke-bombs is increased by the degree of contrast with the Glare, the POT of the prevailing Glare to which the area is subject is added to the effective POT of the smudge-pot or smoke-induced Gloom.

Making colored smoke bombs or smudgepots increases the cost for making them, but how much depends on the color. Reds cost five times as much as normal, greens three times as much. Yellows and blues cost 1.5 to 2.5 times as much, the more the color is tinted with red or green, the higher the cost. These costs assume a brilliant color saturation. Cost increases may be reduced by as much as half when making paler, pastel-colored smokes. For the GM’s own convenience and sanity, the degrees or shades of color should be defined in 1/4th’s, Slight up to 1/4th full color saturation reducing the increase in cost to half normal. The GM can dicker with his players over this or not, at his own discretion.

Smudgepots and stinkpots smolder as opposed to burning with an open flame. For these to ignite any adjacent combustibles, those combustibles must actually lie in contact with the heat of the smoldering pot itself, or be draped directly across the open mouth of the pot.

Stink pots are nasty little pots of burning sulphur or quicklime usually hurled by fustibal in battle, commonly used to demoralize and incapacitate foes, appearing on the Weapon Gear roster in Appendix D.2. These pots produce a wretched, stomach-turning stench so pervasively pungent that all characters entering the AoE must make a P-RES check vs. the POT of its effects.

The AoE of the pot’s effect starts with a radius of 10 feet and gains 10 feet in radius per CS until it reaches its maximum of (POT) yards in radius. When a stinkpot is broken in battle, some sort of marker should be placed on that spot that cannot be confused with any other (in case the characters are being represented with markers rather than figures), and the radius also noted so it can be amended with the passage of time as it grows.

  • IF the P-RES check is failed, the character is forced to leave the AoE by the swiftest means at his disposal, and suffer a (stink-pot POT) penalty to their AV’s due to his tearing eyes and queasy, even rebellious, belly until he gets there. He must also make another P-RES check.
  • IF this check is failed, the character must choke and wretch in place, effectively incapacitated for (POT – CND att. mod.) actions excepting only movement. The period of retching cannot be ended or shortened by leaving the AoE.
  • IF the character cannot drag himself out of the AoE by the time the period of retching is done, he must make another P-RES check to see if this reaction continues for another (POT – CND att. mod.) actions. The first only bends the character over double; two in a row brings a character to his knees, forcing him to crawl when he would move. After the victims have emptied their bellies, there are always dry heaves.
  • IF the P-RES check is made, the character is able to stand his ground and control his reaction, but he still suffers 1/4th the penalty as long as he remains in the AoE. Every (CND – POT) CS’s, minimum 1, those successful in their P-RES checks who also remain within the AoE must make a new check, with the effects of failure occurring as described above.
  • IF a victim is trapped within the AoE and doesn’t retch or is able to stop, he requires another P-RES check every (CND – POT) CS’s to see if he starts (again). He is spared the effects of the pot only if he is rendered unconscious.

The full POT is only used as the DV for the P-RES checks above when the victim is located in the inner half of the AoE. From that point to 3/4th’s radius the DV is halved. From that point to the full extent of the radius the DV drops to 1/4th.

All pots must be lit with an open flame, though smoldering punks may be used as a sort of delayed fuse of random (2d10 Initiative phases) in duration.

This skill also encompasses the knowledge of the chandler in the ability to prepare pitch and wax for the proper manufacture of common torches and fine flambeaux, and the proper preparation of charcoal from wood. Each standard torch consumes c. 1 cup of pitch or resin, burning for about (1 per 4 points POT) hours. Each standard flambeaux require 4lb’s of wax and burns for about 8 hours.

In addition, if the GM allows, the character also has knowledge for coking coal so it can be burned more cleanly. Coking coal is simply a matter of pre-heating the coal in a closed furnace (a cone-like heap of coal covered with earth with vents at the base and apex, or a bee-hive shaped brick furnace) without allowing it enough air to actually burn. This rids it of the sulphur and other impurities. This leaves the grayish-black porous body of the coal to burn cleanly and also reduces its weight by 35%.

Historically, the procedure for coking coal to make it release its sulphur and other impurities was discovered in the early 1600’s. When the coal was burned raw it caused such a great and horrid stink that the commons were much up in arms over it.

The materials for making flash-pots and flash bombs cost 1d. 3fg. + (ld. per 4 points of POT) each.

The materials for making smudge-pots and smoke bombs cost 6d. + (1fg. per 4 points of POT) each.

The materials for making stinkpots cost 4d. + (1hp. per 4 points of POT) each.

All pot-devices (flash-, smudge-, stink-) is roughly 6-8in. in diameter and weigh approximately 0.75Ib’s, and all bombs is 2-3in’s in diameter and weigh c. 0.25Ib’s.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The greater the number of pots, bombs, or quantity of flammable liquids the Alchemist attempts to make in a single exercise of this skill, the higher the DV, and the higher the cost of failure in ruined materials.

 

GM’s Notes: 

The base DV for making any of these substances is equal to the POT of the substance or item being made.

The DV should then be modified according to quantity he wishes to make in one batch, whether it be cups, pots or bombs. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures is.

The modifier to the DV is Progressive based on the quantity made, per unit.

As long as he is making all with the same POT, smudge-pots and smoke-bombs may be made together in batches at the same time, or flash-pots and flash-bombs.

If any of the same type of item are to have a different POT, they require a separate task be performed and resolution roll to determine success.

For purposes of determining the time required to make any of these substances or items, the total DV for the exercise of skill, for making the entire batch of whatever substance or items is counted in hours.

From this is subtracted the Alchemist’s trade SL and CRD att. mod. in hours.

 

Connoisseur (Open)

The Connoisseur skill is a deeper and sharper focusing of the Lore skill, it represents a specialty exhaustively researched and enjoyed by a character, celebrated for its complexities and nuances. A Connoisseur is a true expert who has a great deal of knowledge about a field that is generally governed by taste or style, such as any of the fine arts, but especially anything perceived as pleasing to the senses. The Connoisseur understands the details, technique, and principles of a given art to a degree that makes him competent to act as a critical judge. Using empirical evidence, a certain refinement of perception regarding technique and form, and a disciplined method of analysis, the responsibility of the connoisseur is to attribute authorship, validate the authenticity and appraise the quality of the substance of his field of knowledge.

Due to the fact that the Connoisseur must be able to critically evaluate the substance of his specialty, to examine it for color, texture, sometimes even smell, the character must have an AWA score of no less than 14 in order to be a Connoisseur in any field or topic.

The connoisseur has the discrimination to perceive the subtleties of his field of interest and approaches them with deep appreciation. He is versed in all the variations and earmarks that establish where the items of his specialty originate regionally and, when the author is particularly well-known, his name as well. Even when the author is not particularly well-known outside his own region, the Connoisseur still has a good chance of knowing who he is. He knows the hallmarks of all the great Masters’ workshops, and can distinguish the Master’s own work from that of a student in his shop.

The Connoisseur’s knowledge spans the history of the subject matter, where and how it arose and came into use, and the characteristics that mark any and all major periods or phases in style, as well as what inspired them, if a cause can be found (if not, it is likely the Connoisseur has his own pet theory he is likely to share gladly with any who might even hint at a passing interest).

The following is a brief list that should give the player an idea of the possible areas of expertise. This list is meant to be representative, not exhaustive. It is expected that more specialties are going to be considered and the GM entertain including them generally.

Charters, Writs, & Official Letters

Spices

Plate & Jewels, precious metals and gems

Decorative Arts, paintings

Decorative Arts, textiles

Decorative Arts, sculpture

Decorative Arts, wrought (primarily metal)

Jewelry & Gemstones

Furniture & Furnishings (primarily wood)

Fashion/Clothing, Shoes and Accessories

Music

Beer & Wine or other fermented beverages

Victuals, Fine Cuisines & Delicacies

Since the cultures of a given sphere of influence all share similar characteristics, this aspect assumes that any Foreign Culture taken to expand the knowledge of the Connoisseur’s sphere of knowledge is removed enough regionally that the characteristics are sufficiently different so as to warrant a separate skill. For example, western Europe would be one sphere, covered by a single, domestic skill, but certain telltales would indicate the actual nationality and region of origins, whereas eastern Europe would have different characteristics, as would middle eastern, and far eastern, each of these requiring different skills to extend the Connoisseur’s knowledge to encompass in his field of expertise.

The Connoisseur’s skill is the foil for the work of the Forger/Mimic or Copyist. It is his bailiwick to determine a Master’s original from a reproduction and distinguish those antiquities that are truly period from modern facsimiles.

The att. mod. for any use of this skill is based on the character’s AWA score. For each aspect of information a Connoisseur wants to assess, a separate check must be made, and the character is required to work from generalities to specifics.

 

GM’s Notes: 

The DV for evaluating a piece within the character’s specialty starts with the obvious, such as the nature of the materials, whether false finishes were used, paint, enameling, leaf, gilding, silvering, as opposed to solid materials, purpose of the piece if intended for some sort of use. For this aspect, the number of materials are likely to provide a sufficient DV, counted Progressively. Where the item might have been found or used (as applicable) the GM must decide, the general DV table may help in judging this aspect.

The DV to determine the age of an item, if not recent, is one (1) per 15 years for the first 200 years, then one (1) per hundred after that in addition, then one (1) per 500 years after that. To determine the style by region, a base rule of thumb DV of  one (1) per 100 miles from the Connoisseur’s own residence and/or region where the Connoisseur grew up (if different), might work. For reading tell-tale signs that narrow the origin down to specific town is half-again (x 1.5) that DV, and to determine whether by the Master’s hand or an employee in his workshop double that (x 2).

The DV for telling a fake is provided by the skill of the Forger/Mimic or Copyist, equal to his AV to create the work being evaluated. This assumes it is a recent copy, not a copy made contemporary to the original, if it is of any appreciable age (100+ years old).

 

Contortionist/Escape-Artist

This skill enables a character to get loose from restraints, whether mechanical, like ropes, pillory and stocks, manacles, or the like, or from the grip of a living foe, as in being held captive, especially by dint of some uncomfortable immobilizing hold such as is described for wrestling under the Brawling skill description. Through working assiduously on stretching range of motion, use of special relaxation exercises and/or special training in dislocating one’s joints, holding one’s breath and slowing metabolism, and knowledge of stresses and controlled flexing, this skill gives the character a chance to escape from any physical restraint he is bound with, often relying on subtlely pumping the body up during the process of being bound, thus obtaining the slack needed to wriggle free upon relaxing at the next opportune moment.

If the character is shut up in a box, chest, or cage composed of bars placed closer together than (character height ÷ 7), he must also have the Draughlatch skill in order to attack the lock and/or hinges from the inside in order to get out, otherwise this skill gives him no recourse. The Escape Artist skill is focused on getting out of restraints placed directly on the character’s own body, over which he has some direct control in the original application or through which he can conceivably slip by manipulating his own body.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s STR and either CRD or AGL (GM’s discretion, vs. restraints on Arms and/or Wrist/Hands, or the full body, respectively), with a bonus based upon his Acrobat skill and/or his skill at tying knots (vs. restraints that are hand-tied of ropes), as applicable.

If the character is also a Craftsman and Artificer of the specialty required for making the type of container (box, chest, or cage) in which he has been confined, a bonus should be allowed based on that skill for getting free of that container.

 

GM’s Notes: 

The base DV for getting free from any given restraints is determined by the character’s specific situation. The GM must consider the number of limbs bound, whether those limbs have been bound together, and/or to his body, bound behind his back, whether or not he is bound to some anchor-point, whether or not he has any slack with which to work, etc., each factor that inhibits the character’s getting free. Each of these factors is counted separately, and the base DV is equal to the number of factors, per factor added.

For examplefor a character who is bound at the wrists or ankles or who is shackled by one hand or foot to a wall, post, or anchor stake, the DV is 1. For every additional factor limiting the character’s ability to move, the DV is raised by the number of inhibiting factors, 2 for the second for a total of 3; 3 for the 3rd for a total of 6; 4 for the 4th for a total of 10; 5 for the 5th for a total of 15, and so on, and so forth.

Any slack less than (character height) in length between a character’s wrist or ankle bonds or in the lead to an anchor point that confines his movement is considered “limited” and will inhibit character range of motion in some way that will interfere in getting free, counting as a separate inhibiting factor in determining the DV.

Having each hand and foot shackled to a separate point on wall or post would count as 4 factors, providing a base DV of 10. If the slack for each limb were limited, that would be 8 factors, for a base DV of 36.

Where there is no slack at all between bonds or an anchor point, OR in the event that the character’s bonds leave him nearly or completely suspended (whether drawn out spread-eagle or stretched out with arms above head and feet barely touching ground), that will count as a separate and additional factor.

For example, if the wrists or ankles of the character above were bound together with only limited slack or also to an anchor point with sufficient slack again to allow full range of movement, this would. be the next factor, for which 2 would be added to the DV, making it 3.

  • IF the character’s wrists were bound with no effective slack between them, or the lead line to the anchor point from them was limited, this would be a 3rd factor, raising the DV to 6. If his wrist bonds had no slack between them AND the lead line was limited, that would be a 4th factor, raising the DV to 10.
  • IF the character’s arms were also bound to his body so his wrists (shackled together with no slack) were before him, that would be a 5th factor, raising the DV to 15, and if they were bound so his shackled wrists were behind him, that would be a 6th factor, raising the DV to 21.

The character must make a check against each factor to get each limb free (or pair of limbs where arms or legs are bound together), with the DV steadily declining with each success at the same rate at which it was first compounded, step by step.

For example, in the above example the character was bound with a DV of 21. With a successful check against that DV, the character could have wriggled himself about so his arms were in front of him, lowering the DV to 15 for the check to work his arms free of the binding to his body. A successful check against DV15 would free his arms from that restraint and lower the DV to 10 for the final check to get free of the wrist bonds, which are still anchored to the wall by a limited lead line.

This is the theory, anyway. The actual order in which the restraints are defeated is not important. That is the province of the character’s skill, and the player certainly need not have such intimate knowledge of it for his character to succeed. For the character to get free, the player need merely work his way through the DV’s, as described.

The limits on available slack are simply a factor to be considered, a condition of the fetters adding to the DV, not restraints in and of themselves from which the character must make a d100 check to get free. A character in a single restraint that allows him full range of motion for the whole body will have a base DV of zero (0) to get free.

There are other factors to consider, however, as follows.

The DV for slipping free of tied bonds is based on the CRD & STR att. mod’s of the character who tied them. The DV to get free of restraints tied by one who has skill at Knot-Tying should always include that SL, as well. These two factors determine how tightly they have been tied and the STR necessary to loosen them, or the CRD or AGL needed to work them loose.

  •  IF a character is bound in a system of bodily restraints that have been designed by a character who is also an Escape Artist, that SL should also be added to the DV to get loose.

When the knots are being tied to restrain or bind him in ropes of any kind, however, the Escape Artist character should be allowed an Escape check vs. the skill of the character doing the Knot-Tying during that process. at each point in any system of rope restraints that are tied (wrists, ankles, etc.), the character should be allowed a similar check.

This gives the Escape Artist character the chance to exercise one of the tricks in which he is trained to fool the one tying the knots into believing that he has tied them tightly, when in fact the Escape artist has created slack that allows him to slip out of them when the time is right.

  • IF successful, the DV for getting out of that particular set of restraints is divided by the character’s Escape SL (SL 1 reducing the DV to get out afterwards to 3/4th’s normal).
  • IF the check is failed, his ploy is discovered and he is tied tightly and truly with the full DV to stand against any attempt to Escape.

In the case of bonds arising from the use of magick, such as being bound by the surrounding plant life in a “Nature Bonds”, or being wrapped up in ropes, sheets, towels, or other similar objects subject to an “Animate Object” dweomer as a means of restraint, the DV to Escape should be equal to the [(magick POT) + (caster’s MGA att. mod.)].

  • IF the wizard wielding magickal restraints has the Escape Artist skill himself and applies that knowledge to the casting, his Escape SL should be added to the DV to get free, as well. In some cases this may make getting free especially difficult, if not down right impossible for some, but every character (PC and NPC) deserves to receive the full benefit of his portfolio of skills and the extent of his knowledge and experience.

The manacles employed in the GM’s world to restrain miscreants may be locked, but likely only with a padlock strung through the rivet-hole in them, not with a built-in lock like modern handcuffs. If a prisoner is of poor or common estate and it is obvious that he is unable to pay to get out of them, or if his captor has no intentions of letting him go free, he is riveted into them by a smith. The prisoner requires the services of a hammer and chisel to be free of them by conventional means, if he doesn’t have recourse to this skill.

For magickal bonds that work in the same manner, trapping the character by a confining clasp of some sort such as results from a “Death Grip” magick, “Hands of the Grave”, “Helping Hands”, “Hand of Light/Dark/Shadow/Spirit/Earth” or the like, the Escape Artist skill does NOT apply directly, but only grants a bonus of (1 per 4 SL’s) against wriggling free of the strength of the clasp, by virtue of AGL and STR as is done in wrestling, described under “Brawling, Grappling, & Wrestling”.

If the Escape Artist is hurt, he is subject to the full round of P-RES checks for numbness (shock), stun, and/or unconsciousness due to attempting to manipulate his body while wounded, as described under the heading “Pain & Stunning” in Tactical Play & Combat.

To attack locks and/or hinges in order to get free of boxes, cages, or other enclosures from the inside, the character will need to be a Draughlatch, as noted, and have those tools with him. To that AV, for these purposes only, the character should be allowed a bonus based on his skill as an Escape Artist simply to reflect his knowledge of such enclosures and the best ways to attack them to get free.

The DV for getting free of such an enclosure can be increased when designed by an Artificer who is also an Escape Artist, or who has one such to advise him, by up to the SL of the Escape Artist whose knowledge is used in designing the enclosure or the Artificer’s SL, whichever of the two is less.

The time required to exercise this skill in getting free of any given restraint, as described above, is equal to (DV ÷ 10) consecutive Actions according to the character’s RoA and the rules for tactical play. This is rounded to the nearest whole number. From this should be subtracted the Escape Artist’s SL and AGL att. mod., while never reducing the time to less than one (1) Action.

When more than one impediment binds the character this amount of time is determined for each d100 check required to get free. In a series of restraints, as the DV declines with each successful d100 check, the time required to get through each step of restraint also declines.

 

Corrosives

This skill is only available to members of the Alchemist Trade. This sub-skill extends the Alchemist’s knowledge and skill to the difficult to isolate and obtain and very dangerous corrosives, mineral salts, acids and alkali substances. Like many of the other Alchemist substances, the strength, virulence, or potential for damage in some cases, of these substances is measured in Levels of Potence, or just Potence (POT). Like any minstrel choosing which song to play, the Alchemist is able to choose the POT of the substance he is attempting, setting the basis for the DV. The higher the POT, the more expensive the exercise, the longer it takes, and the greater the loss in time and ruined materials if the Alchemist should fail.

Concentrated acids and alkalis burn whatever they are applied to on contact. Instead of a flame, the points of burn damage inflicted are permanent and the matter burned up escapes into the air as acrid, steamy smoke.

These substances must be stored in glass vessels, or at the very least terracotta or ceramic vessels that are heavily glazed on the inside and around the lip of the opening. Both sorts must also have a glass stopper or a heavily glazed ceramic one.

When applied to living flesh, the wounds inflicted may be healed over with proper care, but no more than 1/2 the points of damage suffered in the burn return with healing, and intensive treatment and physical therapy is required to get the half back that can be recovered. The only other recourse is “Regeneration” or “Restoration” by magickal means.

These are generally water-soluble, however, adding water only reduces the POT by the same degree the volume is increased.

The materials for rendering and distilling corrosives cost 6d. + (1fg. per point of POT) per cup.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

 

GM’s Notes: 

Corrosives burn for (POT) points of damage immediately, but these liquids burn away rather rapidly, so that the damage inflicted drops by 1 when it burns again every subsequent CS, until it has burned away. They only burn for (POT) CS’s, multiplied by the number of cups if more than one is inflicted. When the damage is reduced to 1 point, it remains at that stage until the (POT-minute) duration expires, if any more remains to be inflicted.

For example, 1 cup of POT10 corrosive inflicts 10 points of damage, in the next CS it burns for 9 points, then 8 points, 7 points, then 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and then 1 point.

These may be diluted with water by immersion in a bath or constant flushing with clear water, but this only lessens a corrosive’s strength (current damage being inflicted according to POT), it cannot keep them from burning a victim. The washing or flushing with water must continue for an entire CS before it affects the amount of damage being suffered. 

  • IF water is used to wash away the corrosive, the volume of the tub or the volume of water used to rinse the corrosive off the body is compared to the volume of acid. This gives the GM the % by which the POT has been reduced.
  • IF the body is being continually rinsed with running water as from a stream, the POT is cut in half every CS after the first until the damage drops to 1. A corrosive’s POT cannot be reduced below an effective level of one (1) through dilution with water, except through the application of magick.
  • IF a character suffers caustic burns of Mortal level of Wounding or reducing his BP’s to Mortal status (1/4 value), bone is considered to be bared and damaged, so that magick must be applied to channel it away and reduce the severity of the burn, or the damage must be regenerated by magickal means, as noted.

The base DV for making corrosives is equal to the POT of the substance being made.

The DV should then be modified according to quantity he wishes to make in one batch. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures.

The modifier to the DV for quantity is Progressive in nature, per unit.

 

Cosmetics

This skill is of prime importance to members of the Courtier and Courtesan trade. The skills of the Courtier often depend on putting on a grand display, providing a spectacle. It is most often the Courtiers’ penchant for display that makes them such a hit in high society. Courtiers are trained in the importance and uses of fashionable accessories, proper and particularly luxurious apparel and scent, and especially through manipulating a great knowledge of the proper and even creative uses of Cosmetics.

This knowledge enables a character to manipulate the recipient’s appearance to effect some rather subtle changes.

The most common use of this skill is to refine and perfect the recipient’s natural coloration in hair and complexion and, through manipulating highlights and shadows on the face, modeling and refining the apparent bone structure in more pleasing lines. This is the aspect most commonly used by the Courtier for everyday appearances and appearances at social events.

The knowledge encompassed by this skill is a little broader than just this, however. It can be used to change the hair color to any within the natural range, as desired and alter the impression of the recipient’s age, lowering the apparent age for those 30 and older no more than 10 years, or 5 years for those under 21, or adding no more than 5 years to of those under 21.

In addition, the complexion and even color of the skin can be changed as desired from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, with the proper variations to work on human, elf, dwarf, half-elf.

Eye color may not be changed except by the use of magick, however.

This skill can be used for the addition of a simple (fashionable) beauty mark, lacquering nails in fetching colors, addition of fine apparel and padding of curves, lifting and enhancing the bosoms of females, or bind and flatten them out, in effect either enhancing the recipient’s BTY score or roughening up the appearance to lower it.

The Cosmetics skill may not be used to effect any real change in the recipient’s physical dimensions, except for disguising up to 10lb’s of weight (reducing) or adding it by manipulating clothing, and adding no more than (raw STA ÷ 10) in’s of height.

Costuming and props that make any more substantial changes in apparent STA and Build are the province of the Masquer, NOT the Courtesan’s much more simple and limited Cosmetics skill.

Normally, the Courtier desires to be recognized for who he is when making public appearances, and simply uses his skill to refine and enhance his natural appearance, perhaps take off a few years by adding a bit of youthful glow. For everyday appearances, he will not want to display the full extent of his skill, perhaps keeping the enhancement down to just a few points of additional BTY (2-3). It is always wise to hold something back in reserve so he can truly stun and “WOW” society wags when he appears at the major and important seasonal events, truly testing the limits of his skill.

In the pursuit of his trade, the Courtesan is most commonly concerned with style and fashion and cosmetics in the enhancing of the appearance. IF the character also has the Rogue trade, however, he is well aware of the standards of appearance of the lower classes and what they expect to see among their own, and are quite capable of dirtying-up and dumpy-ing down his own or the recipient’s appearance in order to fit in among that crowd without standing out, especially to dull down one’s BTY score so as NOT to stand out.

In practice, the character chooses the number of points of BTY by which he enhances the recipient’s appearance, and the number of years he wishes to alter the recipient’s apparent age – if any – and this is the basis for the DV for the check to execute the application of the cosmetics.

The character may NOT exceed the limits of BTY for his race with this skill.

With a change in coloration and a change in effective BTY score, the recipient may not be readily recognized by those who not already know him, providing a similar effect to that of the Masquer skill, but accomplished by much more limited means.

A successful AWA check on d100 is needed for those who have seen him before to recognize him when the character makes any sort of extreme change in over all coloration, both in hair and skin.

When practiced upon others, any change in apparent BTY score by Cosmetics has but a limited duration, and deteriorates with time unless the one who applied the treatment OR someone who possess the skill is present to patch up the treatment as time wears it down.

One (1) point of the change wrought in BTY (regardless of whether increase or decrease) is lost after (Cosmetic SL of the one who applied it) mileways have passed, unless a character of equal or greater SL is allowed an opportunity to patch the recipient up.

IF not repaired, the recipient continues to lose additional points at a rate of one (1) point every (Cosmetic SL of the one who applied it) mileways, until the recipient’s own natural BTY score emerges or he is rescued and his appearance repaired.

IF the character with the Cosmetic skill is working on himself, a small mirror and the salient parts of his cosmetic kit used to create the treatment currently worn (which should fit in an average-sized purse) enables him to step aside every so often to maintain his appearance so he need have no fear that his appearance becomes compromised except by physical misadventure.

The decay of a Courtier’s facade at a social function would be quite an event, the subject of half-concealed titters and the butt of numerous cruel and pointed jokes. The character’s appearance is a great part of his reputation in society.

The att. mod. for all uses of the Cosmetics skill is based on the character’s CRD.

The DV for executing the cosmetics treatment planned by the character is Progressive based on the number of points added or subtracted, for each point.

To this the whole number of years of youth being restored should also be added, as well as the number of pounds of weight concealed and the number of inches by which the height is enhanced (as applicable). Changing the hair color should raise the DV according to the length of the hair, counting each of the steps on the table in character generation for determining hair length as one (1). Raw STA is figured in when skin color is altered.

The DV to recognize the recipient for who he is after his BTY has been raised is equal to the DV for the execution of the cosmetics treatment in the first place.

 

Cut Purse

The skill of the light touch, the name Cut Purse is actually only a generalization for convenience’s sake, and should not limit the player’s concept of it or of its use in play. This skill enables the character to attempt to remove any single item (purse, jewelry, or other accessory or even accessory to clothing) from another person’s body, clothing, gear, etc. where ever it may be upon their bodies, without their becoming aware of the fact until later. This skill also encompasses the smooth skill of the shop-lifter, enabling the character to casually Palm the item taken, though he must then have a place to Hide it or put it, a “mule” to hand it off to, or the skill with which to Cache/Conceal it upon his own person to prevent any observers from seeing the crime and alerting the victim. The larger the item of which the character attempts to relieve a victim, the higher the DV.

Any attempts at using this skill on a given individual after the third try or all attempts allowed by skill have been failed immediately alert the target to the character’s intentions.

The character may use the Player and Silver Tongue aspects of Presence skill to create a ruse to distract a victim, one hand sitting like a friend upon a shoulder or arm while the other offers a drink, a pipe, a pinch of snuff, or maybe an article supposed to have been dropped on the floor/ground by the target. The character might bump into his target or “mark” or trip at his feet and allow himself to be helped up, or vice versa, any kind of casual, non-threatening and especially accidental physical contact can hide his efforts.

Being over-eager in victimizing a particular mark, preying on him repeatedly, especially within a short period of time, raises the DV in a Progressive manner.

Using the Player and Silver Tongue Presence skills to create a ruse or distraction which involves direct contact of some sort with the mark increases the risk involved in approaching him repeatedly. The mark may begin to associate the presence of those working on him with the losses he is discovering afterwards. The DV is increased by half again (x 1.5) in these cases, double (x 2) if previous encounters were made more memorable by physical contact of some sort.

In addition, the character’s BTY att. mod. is added to the DV, regardless of whether positive or negative in nature, as this indicates how much his appearance may stand out from the faces in the crowd. It certainly increases the chances of the mark remembering him if he should see the character again after the fact, after discovering his loss. Positive integers of negative att. mod’s is used, so a -4 is as bad as a +4 att. mod. for this purpose, equally remarkable to the mark afterwards. This emphasizes the advantage of using the skill under cover of Stealth.

Since this is based on the victim’s AWA score, of which the PC can have no knowledge, much less any means of determining, the player should use a simple two week rule of thumb for those marks who the Cut Purse considers to be ‘average folk’ to avoid an unnecessary increase in DV, allowing that amount of time to pass without allowing the victim to see him again before preying on him again.

IF the character is intent on preying on the same person over and again, the DV penalties due to frequency can be avoided entirely when using the Masquer skill to approach the mark each time under the guise of a new masquerade.

The increase to the DV for additional attempts is waived when the Cut Purse uses Stalker or Padfoot to come upon his target from behind and work his craft on his mark with Stealth.

Cut Purses should be very cautious about engaging in the sort of activity this skill represents, as getting caught can result in the loss of an ear, a finger, or of a whole hand, or the branding of his forehead. The justice meted out in the medieval period of the game can be most brutal, and the Cut Purse have none but himself to blame when he gets caught and punished.

IF at any time a character fails an attempt at exercising his skill as a Cut Purse, his intended victim is assumed alerted to his illicit intentions. For this reason, these checks are always conducted in tactical time, from the very approach. Surprise affects the Cut Purse’s victims normally, when the trouble is taken to establish it, and thus his ability to deal with his target’s reaction. Tactical time is used to measure out the interaction of the character’s and mark’s Actions in determining the character’s efforts to disappear after success, OR the outcome of the character’s efforts to escape should he fail.

How long the victim goes without becoming aware of the loss of the object after it is taken is determined by the GM, according to the circumstances.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s CRD score. When creating a ruse to cover the use of the skill, as described above, the character’s CHM att. mod. and his Player SL (if applicable) may also be added.

 

GM’s Notes: 

Again, the name of this skill is only a generalization for convenience’s sake, and should not be used as a justification for limiting the uses of the skill in play. In many games this skill is named after pick-pockets, however, pockets were not invented until the 1600’s and were tied on underneath clothing, accessed through a slit in a side-seam. They were not actually sewn on the access slit until the late 1700’s – early 1800’s, so there can be no such people or skill. For the GM’s reference, most NPC’s should stash their valuables in their voluminous sleeves (such as those of a houpeland which can be a yard wide but cut to come in to rather a narrow cuff) or in purses at their waists or under/in a sash. While “Pick Sleeve” is pretty silly to modern ears for this skill, a “Pick-Sleeve” is something that a NPC might actually call a character he catches red-handed as he raises the Hue-and-Cry against him.

The DV for cutting, lifting or otherwise extracting a purse or other similar small object is equal to the target’s AWA att. mod. or Sentry AV (as applicable).

The GM should add a Progressive modifier to the DV for every 4 inches by which the length of the object to be lifted is greater than (Cut Purse’s CRD ÷ 4) inches, another for every 2 inches by which the width of relatively flat objects are greater than (CRD ÷ 4) inches, and another for every inch of the item’s depth or thickness beyond 1 inch.

The character should be allowed the normal DV break based on the speed at which his target is moving and the normal “distracted” modifier which is noted in in the description of Task Resolution.

How long the victim goes without becoming aware of the loss of the object taken depends on both the Cut Purse’s skill and the victim’s AWA and activity at the time it was taken. Barring any circumstance that would alert the victim sooner, the victim may become aware of his loss until after (Cut Purse AV) – (victim’s AWA att. mod. OR Sentry AV) minutes have passed. If subtracting the victim’s AWA att. mod. reduces the number of minutes to zero or a negative number, the deficit should be subtracted in CS’s from the remaining minute.

For example, if a Cut Purse with an AV of 12 took a valuable silk scarf from a lady with a Sentry AV of 17, she would notice in less than one minute – a bare CS later. The resulting deficit is 5, so the GM should subtract 5 from the 6 CS’s that compose that last minute. If the thief doesn’t hie himself away out of sight or at least get the scarf passed off to a compatriot or stowed away and Concealed before that time passes, the lady will have a chance to spot him with it and raise the Hue and Cry against him.

This could be important also in cases where an item is taken for a short period for use as a model, to take an impression, with the intent of returning it before it can be missed. The Cut Purse would have to be particularly skilled or the victim rather dull to carry this off in most cases, however.

Of course, this interval won’t apply when circumstances indicate the necessity of earlier discovery. If a Knave takes a significant piece of clothing from a victim in cold weather, the victim must notice it as soon as he begins to feel the bite and effects of the weather, regardless of the normal interval according to this skill description. Also, if the victim goes to use the item taken he must, naturally, discover its absence immediately at that point, regardless of whether the normal interval has passed or not.

IF the Cut Purse is still within sight when the stolen object is discovered missing, the GM should allow the victim an AWA check against an appropriate DV based on the heaviness of the crowd in the area (see the GM’s Notes for the Rogue trade, Appendix B.), plus the Cut Purse’s ability to fade into the crowd as a Skulker.

IF this check is made successfully, the victim should then be given an AWA check against the Cut Purse’s skill (AV) to connect the Cut Purse to the theft, BUT only if the Cut Purse’s face was seen, particularly if the theft was accomplished through the use of a ruse to misdirect the mark. If accomplished by Stealth the Cut Purse’s appropriate Stealth skill AV or his Cut Purse AV may be used for the DV, whichever is greater.

The Cut Purse’s AV with the Player and/or Silver Tongue aspects of Presence should be substituted in making this check if that skill was used to orchestrate some sort of ruse for misdirection, for that incident will no doubt stand out strongly in the victim’s mind when he spots the Cut Purse again. This second AWA check will determine whether or not the victim connects the sight of the Cut Purse to his crime.

 

Direction Sense

Enables the character to accurately determine the direction of all the cardinal points on the compass, though he requires a check to determine whether he is able to keep to that direction strictly when traveling cross country, regardless of whether he is in familiar or foreign lands. The skill also enables the character to gauge the distances he travels to within [d10 – (1 per 4 SL’s)] furlongs, be it day or night. Each skill check for direction is good for roughly (SL) or (AWA ÷ 4) miles of travel, whichever is greater.

When the character is within (AWA) furlongs + (SL) miles of home (or party base of operations) this skill will enable him to determine the correct direction to any other location with which he is familiar through previous personal experience, though again he requires a check to determine whether he is able to keep to that direction strictly while travelling. If he misses, the skill grants him a d100 check to identify the problem and the attempt to discover how badly he has strayed by use of prominent landmarks, to determine proper direction and approximate distance, and thus correct his path.

This skill also enables the recipient to memorize the orders and directions of curves, twists, and turns made along his path when traveling, even when blindfolded, and enable him to attempt to judge the distances between so he can retrace his steps afterwards.

This skill also provides the character with sufficient sense of direction to be granted a d100 check to recognize routes traveled or unfamiliar locations visited in any place, foreign or familiar, when he returns to them or if he should stumble across them again in later wanderings, or to retrace his steps when desired.

Overcast weather may impair characters attempting to use this skill, as it depends largely upon the ability to consult the positions of the sun, moon, and familiar constellations for reference, though prevailing winds & breezes, a general knowledge of the terrain and country and the plant growth (mosses, mushrooms, growth of trees, etc.) of the area can help compensate. Those with a Direction Sense may easily orient themselves if they have access to a good map; having such a map can help eliminate the ill effects of overcast weather upon their skill. Should the character attempting the use of this skill be located underground, the only aspect of it that is of any avail to him is his ability to remember routes travelled so he can retrace his steps at need.

The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA score, with a bonus based upon his Search Perception SL (to determine directions outdoors) or his Sentry Perception skill (to remember routes travelled), as applicable.

 

Dive (Aerial)

This sub-skill is available only to characters that are also equipped with the Aerial sub-skill of the Acrobat trade.

The Dive skill simply enables the character to execute a safely controlled dive from heights of up to [AGL + (AGL att. mod. x SL)] feet, to a maximum of (AGL or STR x 20) feet, whichever is greater (plus 5 per point by which the character’s STA is less than 20, OR minus 2 per point by which the character’s STA is greater than 20). It can also enable him to turn a fall from up to that height restriction into a dive or control his descent in such a way that he lands in the position he wants, back first (head and legs tucked), head first (with or without arms extended), feet first, etc., depending on what is waiting for him below. The height from which the character dives will dictate how deep the water must be for the character to complete the dive safely. All characters except those of the irdanni race must also have the Swim skill in order to learn the Dive skill.

Waters must be at least (STA ÷ 2) feet per 10 feet of height the character dives from, to a maximum requirement of (STA x 2) feet deep regardless of the height from which the character dives. If an irdanni character does not have the Swim skill as well, he obviously will not be able to use his skill for diving into water from flight.

The faster water is approached, the more important is making as small a point of entry to cut into it or breaking the surface with an object dropped just before diving is. Water can be as hard as cement if not approached correctly. Dropping a rock or similar heavy object just before diving to break the surface of the water just before entering may decrease the DV for the dive (GM’s discretion).

The att. mod. for exercising the Dive subskill is based on the character’s AGL score. When the character is executing the twists and rolls of the aerial acrobat in his dive, a bonus is added based upon the character’s Acrobat skill.