Step 4. Attributes and Description

The first and most important of the game conventions is embodied in the attributes that are used to describe all living creatures, beings and characters. All characters are described in terms of nine attributes, five describing the physical side of the character and four describing non-physical traits. These are referred to as “Primary Attributes”. Derived from the Primary Attributes are two “Secondary Attributes”.

Primary Attributes

Agility (AGL)

Awareness (AWA)

Beauty (BTY)

Charisma (CHM)

Condition (CND)

Heart (HRT)

Spirituality (SPT)

Stature (STA)

Strength (STR)

 

Secondary Attributes

Coordination (CRD)

Magick Aptitude (MGA)

 

It is important that the players all cultivate a good understanding of the attributes so they can be used to best advantage during play. The attributes themselves are each measured by a numeric rating commonly referred to as a “score”.

These scores directly define the degree of a character’s prowess (or deficiency) in his physical, mental and spiritual abilities, resources, and capabilities. The choice of character race mentioned previously dictates the range in which the scores for each of the attributes must fall. The scores give a sense of the character’s standing in each attribute relative to the other characters in the game, both PC’s and (more importantly) the NPC’s who populate the GM’s game world and provide the benchmark of “average”.

For the purposes of the game and the fair comparison of all characters against the same measuring stick or scale, the average for all scores are considered to be “13”. Being the most numerous, humans are used as the standard or benchmark race against which all other races are compared, and the overwhelming majority of their scores have 13 as an average. Scores above the benchmark score of 13 are generally considered better and in terms of game mechanics have been made to be more advantageous in the uses of the skills and abilities to which they apply, improving the character’s chances of enjoying success when employing them. Scores below the 13 benchmark are considered poorer and in terms of game mechanics have been made a hindrance to the uses of the skills and abilities to which they apply to a lesser or greater degree, decreasing the character’s chances of success when employing them.

This step cannot be completed until the player has chosen his character’s race and trades/skills. The skills with which the player has equipped the character is best used as an indication which of the character’s attributes scores should be strongest.

To determine the character’s attribute scores, the player rolls a number of d5’s according to the score range for each attribute, according to character race, as indicated on table 4-1.

STA scores are assumed to be average for the character’s race, as shown on table 4-1, in order to expedite the process. If the GM allows, the player might vary the STA score up or down as desired within the race’s range, or this might be made contingent on rolling a result of “1”or “0” (10) on the throw of a d10 with (GM’s discretion). In the interest of making sure the player gets a suitably playable character, the GM may choose to allow scores rolled using the same number of dice to be swapped about as the player prefers, OR allow the “best of three throws” for each attribute score. The GM should take the time to review the players’ dice rolls and make sure that each player does not get stuck with any scores that are unplayable, i.e. so low that they become a real hindrance to playing the character in a pivotal attribute – anything less than an “8” in the attributes of AGL, CND, STR, or AWA. Rolls falling below this threshold should be defaulted to the racial average (preferred), OR the GM may choose to allow them to be completely rerolled.

 

4-1. Dice Allotments for Random Scores, by Race

Race

AGL

AWA

BTY

CHM

CND

Dwarfs

5d5

5d5

5d5

5d5

6d5

Elfs

7d5

5d5

7d5

5d5

5d5

HalfElfs

6d5

5d5

6d5

5d5

5d5

Humans

5d5

5d5

5d5

5d5

5d5

Race

HRT

SPT

STA

STR

Dwarfs

5d5

5d5

(16)

6d5

Elfs

5d5

5d5

(18)

4d5

HalfElfs

5d5

5d5

(19)

5d5

Humans

7d5

5d5

(20)

5d5

4-4. Minimum Scores by Trade

Trade Score(s)
Courtier/Courtesan BTY, CHM 14
All other Social Trades BTY, CHM 13
Warrior (any), Huntsman (etc.) STR, AGL, CND 14
Assassin STR, AGL, AWA 14
Knave-Trickster BTY/CHM 13/14
Knave-Horsethief, Husbandman (etc.) STR, CHM 14
Any other Knave STR, AGL, AWA 14
Any wielder of High Magick SPT, MGA* 14
Any restricted to Common Magick SPT, MGA* 13
All Scholastic Trades AWA 13

* MGA is a composite score; the player must look to his character’s CHM, HRT and SPT scores from which the average is taken in determining it.

 

Certain Trades carry minimum score requirements in certain attributes which the player must be aware of and make sure he meets in determining his character’s scores. These can be found on table 4-4.

When the player is buying scores for his character’s attributes he should keep in mind what those scores say about the character, but more importantly about the sorts of activities they will aid the character in performing during play. Both STR and AGL are pretty obvious in the advantages they provide. the height conferred by STA gives the character a greater visual impact, especially among his native people, which are of use in leadership positions. AWA is critical for catching important details and to allow the character always to be on his toes, making him difficult at best to surprise. BTY and CHM are important not only for charming information out of NPC’s, but in attempts at exercising leadership. At the other end of the spectrum, a character who has to keep his mouth shut all the time for fear of starting a fight and/or has to wear a sack over his head to keep from driving people away in fear and making children scream and cry isn’t much fun and will likely attract the kind of attention the player wants least.

Although some races have higher or lower ranges in some attributes, all the races are compared on the basis of the human standard. The human average for every attribute except HRT are 13. Scores above the 13 average are noteworthy, a matter of praise and aiding the character’s success in the use of the skills and abilities they affect. Those below 13 are noteworthy for the opposite reason. Below average scores will lower the character’s chances for success in exercising the skills they affect.

Because it is used as a universal measuring stick for all creatures great and small, humanoid, beastly, and monstrous, in the context of the game, STA score ranges are compressed relative to the rest of the attributes.

STR and CND also have a direct effect on the physical appearance of the character, indicating how much mass is packed on the frame, and the composition of that mass.

 

Optional Rules: Buying Scores

As an alternative to rolling dice, for those GM’s that want to accommodate players who demand a little more control in determining scores, starting with average scores for their race in each attribute (shown on table 4-2.), the players can be allotted a pool of 10-15 attribute points (GM’s discretion) to enhance the scores of those attributes that are most important to them.

This is done on a 1 for 1 basis, up to the maximums shown on table 4-3., according to race. Further points can be recovered by lowering the scores of those attributes that seem not as critical, down to the minimum also shown on table 4-3.

The player is cautioned against sacrificing the score of any attribute so as to take it any lower than 11 or 10, however, for all attributes affect play at one time or another and a 10 carries a -6 aptitude value penalty already. From there it only gets worse.

IF the GM intends to run a game with more of a “high fantasy” feel to it, this allotment might range as high as 20, but truly no more than 25 is necessary. That can easily result in more than one racial maximum being achieved, which it is advisable to avoid.

The method used for determining attribute scores is entirely up to the GM’s discretion when it comes to the characters about to enter into his game/gameworld.

 

4-2. Average Scores, by Race

Race

AGL

AWA

BTY

CHM

CND

Dwarfs

13

13

13

13

17

Elfs

20

13

20

13

13

HalfElfs

17

13

16

13

13

Humans

13

13

13

13

13

Race

HRT

SPT

STA

STR

Dwarfs

13

17

16

17

Elfs

13

20

18

11

HalfElfs

13

17

19

13

Humans

20

13

20

13

4-3. Minimum – Maximum Scores, by Race

Race

AGL

AWA

BTY

CHM

CND

Dwarfs

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

4 – 30

Elfs

5 – 35

3 – 25

13 – 35

3 – 25

3 – 25

HalfElfs

4 – 30

3 – 25

10 – 30

3 – 25

3 – 25

Humans

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

3 – 25

Race

HRT

SPT

STA

STR

Dwarfs

3 – 25

4 – 30

14 – 18

4 – 30

Elfs

3 – 25

5 – 35

16 – 20

2 – 20

HalfElfs

3 – 25

4 – 30

16 – 22

3 – 25

Humans

5 – 35

3 – 25

18 – 22

3 – 25

 

Character Build

An additional and more specific guide to the character’s physical proportions is found under Build, which is largely a function of the character’s race.

Unlike the rest of the Physical Attributes, STA scores must be modified according to Build prior to use in determining other aspects of the character description. Where STA is called for, the text always indicates whether the raw original score purchased should be used or the score modified for Build.

Even though the player can vary the proportions of the character’s body somewhat by altering his height for his given STA score, the degree to which STA describes actual proportions is limited. STA is actually based on human proportions. The actual proportions of a character’s structure, or frame is determined by his race, and expressed as his Build, which takes into account non- or demi-human types of frames.

Character Build may be found on table 4-5., according to character race.

This should be noted on the Character Record Sheet in the space provided.

In the Secondary Attributes (following) where STA is a factor, it must be modified as dictated by table 4-8. before being used, and also before being used to determine Weight (but NOT height, that uses the raw original score).

 

4-5. Character Build Multipliers, by Race

Race Build STA multiplier
Elf Slight x 0.75
Half-elf Med-Light x 0.9
Human Medium x 0
Dwarf Heavy x 1.5

 

4-6. Attribute Modifiers

Score Att. Mod. Score Att. Mod. Score Att. Mod.
2 -22 14 +1 25 +12
3 -20 15 +2 26 +13
4 -18 16 +3 27 +14
5 -16 17 +4 28 +15
6 -14 18 +5 29 +16
7 -12 19 +6 30 +17
8 -10 20 +7 31 +18
9 -8 21 +8 32 +19
10 -6 22 +9 33 +20
11 -4 23 +10 34 +21
12 -2 24 +11 35 +22

 

Once the player has manipulated his character’s attribute scores to the point where he is satisfied with them, they are considered final and fixed.

From these primary scores, the scores for the character’s Secondary Attributes can be determined, as follows.

The character’s base CRD score is equal to the average of his AGL and AWA scores.

The character’s MGA score is equal to the average of his CHM, HRT and SPT scores.

 

Once finalized, must be derived For each of the character’s attribute scores, a modifier must be determined that reflects the degree to which scores above or below average (13) affect the character’s chances to succeed in the tasks he sets himself to, called an attribute modifier (att. mod., pl. att. mod’s). These are applied to character skills and abilities to directly reflect the impact of those scores on the character’s chances of success in exercising any of his skills or abilities during play, bonuses increasing his chances of success while penalties decrease them.

Consult table 4-6. and find the att. mod. for each attribute score and note them in the second box provided for scores in the “Attributes” box on the Character Record Sheet. STA scores do not get an “att. mod.”, rather the second box on the Character Record Sheet is for the “modified” score, after the multiplier for Build according to race (as applicable) is applied. 

4-6. Attribute Modifiers.

Score

Att. Mod.

Score

Att. Mod.

Score

Att. Mod.

2

-22

14

+1

25

+12

3

-20

15

+2

26

+13

4

-18

16

+3

27

+14

5

-16

17

+4

28

+15

6

-14

18

+5

29

+16

7

-12

19

+6

30

+17

8

-10

20

+7

31

+18

9

-8

21

+8

32

+19

10

-6

22

+9

33

+20

11

-4

23

+10

34

+21

12

-2

24

+11

35

+22

 

Virtue & Vice

In the same manner as we have used the attributes to describe the physical and spiritual faculties, capacities, and abilities of the character, we need some means of describing the actual spirit and qualities of personality of the character, as well, on which the characters’ behavior in play will have an effect. The shopworn concepts of Law, Chaos and Neutrality in combination with Good and Evil that are so common as measuring sticks of morality in RPG’s just are not sufficient to address the need for having a sort of moral compass to show where the PC’s actions are taking him spiritually, and they have absolutely NOTHING in common with the morality or moral compass of the people of the period of the game. This is sad and more than a bit mystifying, considering that the people of the medieval period have provided us with the perfect tools for this task.

In 410 ad. Aurelius Clemens Prudentius wrote the epic poem “Psychomachia” (“Contest of the Soul“), which involved the battle of good “Virtues” against evil “Vices”. The intense popularity of this work in the medieval period seized the imaginations of the people. It gave them a map by which good religion could be followed in everyday life and helped to spread the concept of the holy Virtues extolled by the Church throughout all of Europe.

The Virtues and Vices became the measuring sticks of a man’s character. They stipulated the aspects or traits of character that were more important than any other to the people of the time. Both principles, Virtue and Vice, each have seven aspects, perfectly balanced, one against the other as follows.

VIRTUE

VICE

Chastity

Lust

Temperance

Gluttony

Charity

Greed

Diligence

Sloth

Patience

Wrath

Kindness

Envy

Humility

Pride

These are the points on which each character’s behavior are noted, these are the qualities that define his personality, qualities of integrity and honor (or lack thereof), to his fellow denizens of the gameworld. Virtue and Vice were fixtures in the teachings of the Church and the awareness of the people of the era. In the theology of the medieval period, Virtue and Vice are the centerpieces of character. Virtue refers to excellence, an active habit essentially of expressing goodness, with Vice as its foil. Vice denotes the absence of that excellence of character, an active habit essentially of expressing the darker characteristics, by way of contrast. There was hardly a wealthy hall or castle without its series of tapestries imported from the peerless artisans of the Low Countries depicting the Virtues and Vices.

Virtue and Vice are pivotal to RoM roleplaying.

Of the Virtues listed above, the most highly touted and valued by genteel pious followers of the Church in the period of the game are the four cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude, on which hinge a righteous life. The Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity are the “theological” Virtues, chosen because even when practiced in the extreme, they do not contribute to Vice. To these were commonly added Patience and Humility in the period. The GM may include or ignore these two as he likes.

To mold one’s self in the images of the Virtues makes a character more pleasing to the Light, protecting him from the temptations of the world, and can over the course of time affect a character’s reputation in society in a very positive way.

The most reprehensible traits in the eyes of theologians of the Church in the period of the game are the Vices, the Seven Deadly Sins. These are Pride, Greed, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth. While they are opposite to the Seven Heavenly Virtues in principle, they are not the direct opposites of the Virtues in fact, although there is a countering Virtue for each Vice.

The character’s scores in the Virtues and Vices depend on the character’s SPT score.

IF the character has a bonus for his SPT att. mod., a number of points equal to the att. mod. must be allotted towards one or more Virtue scores.

IF the character has a penalty for his SPT att. mod., a number of points equal to the att. mod. must be allotted towards one or more Vice scores (-7 att. mod. = 7 points, player’s discretion).

The point cost for scores in Virtues and Vices are 1 for 1; so that a score of 5 will cost 5 points.

For example, if a character’s SPT score has been raised from 13 to 20 or lowered from 13 to 9, the player must allot 7 points-worth to the Virtue(s) or 8 points to the Vice(s), respectively, of his choice. This may be divided up any way the player likes, so that this character could have scores of 1 in each of seven different Virtues, six Vices with scores of one (1) and one with a score of 2, two Vices with scores of 4, one Virtue with a score of 6 and one with a score of 1, or one Virtue with a score of 7 or Vice with a score of 8 (player’s discretion).

Unless the player allots a score to a Virtue or Vice during this character generation process, its score at the start of play is zero (0).

A score in a Virtue can be increased through inordinate or exemplary behavior proving the character’s worthiness (GM’s discretion), but they can be lost as well, and scores in Vice accumulated due to indulgence. As a spiritually-based practice, the uses to which magick is put have a direct and immediate effect on the character’s scores in Virtue and Vice. In addition, there are a number of different sources of “mortal mana” that are available for the casting of magicks. The use of a number of these (Death Mana, Blood Mana, Carnal Mana, etc.) have a direct impact on either Virtue or Vice every time they are tapped.

The higher the score in a Virtue or Vice, the stronger the Virtue or Vice is and the harder it is to take action in violation of it (Contested HRT Roll, as needed), as that Virtue or Vice over time grows to be considered a cornerstone of the character’s psychological make-up, ingrained in his spirit. The actual rating relative to the character’s HRT att. mod. determines how strong that influence is within the character.

Virtues

Chastity is the balancing force and Virtue to the Vice of Lust. It is purity, knowledge, honesty and wisdom. It requires one to abstain from sexual conduct according to one’s state in life. In this regard, its practice promotes courtly love and the ideal of romantic friendship, cleanliness through cultivated good health and hygiene, and is maintained by refraining from intoxicants (no matter their form or nature). Intoxication is an abandonment of Virtue and general and most likely Chastity in particular. To be honest with oneself, one’s family, one’s friends, and to all of humanity, the avoidance of all that is unclean, is to be chaste. It embraces moral wholesomeness and the achievement of purity of thought through education and betterment. The ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation or corruption is embodied in Chastity.

Temperance is the corresponding Virtue to counter the Vice of Gluttony. It is the ability to show caution and self restraint when engaging in any activity in which one might indulge or over-indulge, such as drink, sweets or food in general, swings of mood, heights of passion, spending money in luxury, and so on. Moderation should be shown in all things, self-restraint in all potential indulgences. This applies to display and acquisitiveness of wealth, consumption of food and/or alcohol, feelings and expressions of emotion (high AND low), and so on. Awareness, a constant mindfulness of others and one’s surroundings and practicing the deferment of gratification are both aspects of Temperance. Proper moderation between self-interest and public-interest, against the rights and needs of others all require Temperance. It is also prudence, or the ability to constantly look ahead to weigh the probable results of one’s actions, to judge between actions with regard to what is appropriate at a given time. As such, justice is an aspect of Temperance. To be Just one must act with a sense of honor, fairness, and good reason. To do justice to another, as in a proper depiction or appreciation without reservation or embellishment.

This virtue is marked by the ability to keep confidences, show discretion, husband resources, and exercise economy of action. It is shown in wariness out of consideration for the social and moral consequences of one’s actions. It is expressed in circumspection, caution, and rather a docile nature. Insofar as justice is involved, it is marked by due reward returned in regards to treatment rendered by others, a sense of equity and moral rightness – that the punishment should be tailored to the crime.

Charity is the corresponding Virtue to counter the Vice of Avarice or Greed. It is generosity and embodies a concern with the provision of help or relief for the needy, such as alms for the poor, orphans, widows, victims of disaster, and the like. These charitable acts are merely outward expressions, however, of feelings of benevolence, goodwill, or affection for one’s’ fellow beings. It encompasses a certain lenience, an indulgence, or simply forbearance in judging others, a definite inclination towards mercy, a feeling of brotherly love, a suffusing benevolence in general. Charity is Love, the greatest of the three theological Virtues, in the sense of an unlimited loving kindness towards all others. It is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it both glorifies and reflects the very nature of deity. Such love can be self-sacrificial. The love embodied in Charity, “caritas“, is distinguished by its origin – being divinely infused into the soul – and by it’s residing in the will rather than dwelling among the emotions, although it may stir up any number of emotions. As long as one has Charity, he cannot be lost.

Diligence is the balancing force and Virtue to the Vice of Sloth. It is a decisive work ethic, the ability to be zealous but careful by nature in one’s actions and work, the capability of NOT giving up. Budgeting one’s time and monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness are tools for maintaining Diligence. Dedication and steadfastness in belief are aspects of it, but there is more to it – not only the will to sustain and maintain one’s effort but to uphold one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching. It is persistence, resolve and integrity, consistently high ethics, rectitude and fortitude, as well. This aspect marks, in a word, a character’s guts, his strength of will and HRT, his ability to face and withstand trials, privation, and suffering with courage, to show endurance in pain and suffering or under trials and adversity. Courage is the prime expression of fortitude – courage in the face of danger or hardship to act or make the hard decisions, strength of will to suffer trials or privation without complaint, resistance to despair, fear, uncertainty, and intimidation and an ability to confront them – in a word, “heart”. Diligence is the basis of the knightly virtue of ardimen.

Being faithful to promises, no matter how big or small they may be shows courage in Diligence.

Patience is the corresponding Virtue to counter the Vice of Wrath or Anger. It provides the character with the capacity for calm endurance in suffering or the forbearance of something, some one, or a given trial of emotional endurance over time, generally without complaint. Having Patience indicates a capacity for tolerance and understanding when dealing with others and their foibles or Vices. It is exercising the will to try again and again to reach those who seem not to or unable to hear one’s message and a gentle moderation of any impulse to antagonism and especially to hostility. A will to do no harm is required to truly exercise Patience, an avoidance of all violence to any sentient being or life form. It is the will to create and /or preserve a sense of peaceful stability and community, the ability to forgive and to show mercy to others, to resolve any and all conflicts and injustice peacefully.

Those whose Patience scores grow quite high should give some thought to the violence done lower animals orders, and moderate their consumption of meat accordingly. Whether a failure to do so will affect the Patience score are up to the GM’s discretion, but such a failure (or “excess”) will likely put a cap on the Patience score a character may reach.

Kindness is the balancing force and Virtue to the Vice of Envy. It can be, in part, an expression of Charity, and/or consist of compassion giving rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering, and friendship for its own sake, without any compensatory advantage. Kindness is expressed in empathy and in trusting without prejudice or resentment. Kindness is an unconditional love, voluntary and without a hint of bias or spite. Having a positive outlook and cheerful demeanor are marks of kindness that often inspire kindness in others. Like a smile, Kindness can be contagious.

Humility is the corresponding Virtue to counter the Vice of Pride. Humility lies in modesty, in meekness, in lack of pride – although not to the detriment of one’s own essential sense of self-worth. The humble are retiring, reserved listeners first, self-abasing or -effacing, and they lack pretense or brash assertiveness. They are selfless and think of others long before themselves. Those who possess this Virtue are generally aware of their shortcomings and freely acknowledge their imperfections. When they look in the mirror they see every wart and wrinkle, and they know that in looking overlong or overmuch lies the path to Vanity. A predisposition to self-examination and a tendency of charity toward people with whom one disagrees are both marks of humility. The courage of the heart in Diligence necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious and especially those which are necessary but unglamorous or base in nature, and to accept any sacrifices involved with grace shows Humility. Reverence for those who have wisdom, not glorifying one’s own self vainly, especially at the expense of others, but giving credit where it is due rather than glorifying one’s self all show Humility, as do showing respect to those who selflessly teach in love and for all fellow living beings in general.

Vices

Lust or Lechery describes excessive love of others, passions or desires to gratify any want, need or sense, being obsessive in thoughts or desires. By its unrestrained excess the Lust renders love and devotion to the Light as secondary. Chastity and purity or contentment are the means by which Lust is defeated. Lust is typified by an overwhelming desire or craving; excessive unrestrained desire, esp. but by no means limited to sexual; inordinate and/or obsessive or immoderate pleasure, delight, or relish in anything. Any overwhelming desire or craving may be an avenue down which one may lust. While usually referred to in a sexual vein, Lust can be any excessive unrestrained desire. Any pleasure, desire, delight, or relish when taken to an obsessive level may be a Lust. Giving in to Lust can lead to sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including addictions, in the sexual vein to which Lust is usually relegated, it can manifest as adultery, bestiality, rape, and incest.

Gluttony is the countering Vice for the Virtue of Temperance, and may also be defeated through abstinence. It is a sin of excess, generally viewed as concerning food, but encompassing any inordinate capacity for indulging in the consumption of anything or stimulation of any sense (“glutton for punishment”). It is typified by over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste, especially insofar as by taking more than is needed, one thus withholds it from the needy.

The difference between Lust and Gluttony is that one is the inordinate desire for gratification, desire or passion, and the other is the inordinate capacity to indulge in something once obtained.

Greed or Avarice, also known as Covetousness, is the countering Vice for the Virtue of Charity or generosity. It is a sin of excess, a craving, to wish for something excessively and culpably, Greedy and acquisitive regardless of any detriment to others or any overriding need on their part, acquisitive to an extreme degree, even to the point of “More is better” regardless of consequence.

Greed is more of a blanket term however. It can describe many types of behavior motivated by Greed, including disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially when committed for personal gain, in return for a bribe, for example. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects are acts of Greed, and Greed can inspire theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority, including simony, (profiting from soliciting goods on holy ground, within the actual confines of a church).

Those afflicted with Covetousness have a great craving to acquire things, “more is better.” It is a wish to have and to possess to the point of excess and overriding blame.

Sloth is the corresponding Vice to counter the Virtue of Diligence, a complete lack of zeal, and the failure to make good use of even one’s own native talents and gifts, the gifts of the Light. Indeed, diligence is the means whereby Sloth is defeated. It is also called the sin of sadness, of discouragement or despair, manifesting in the affliction known as “Accidia” – that is, melancholy, apathy, depression, and joylessness or world-weariness. Joylessness is a refusal to enjoy the goodness of the Light, weariness of the world a rejection of the world created by the Light. Sadness is described as a feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent that causes unhappiness with one’s situation – thus, an impulse to break the Chain of Being.

The theologians describe sloth as the failure to love the Light with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul, also described as the “middle sin”, the only error characterized by an absence or insufficiency of love.

Wrath, Anger or Rage is the countering Vice for the Virtue of Patience. It is typified as a persistent and unrelenting rage, inordinate and uncontrolled wrath or ire, an extreme and lasting displeasure or hostility, angst, grief, or worry over any creature or being, situation, or thing. It is marked by an unwillingness to let such feelings go and move past them, even to the point of its impacting upon themselves destructively, wishing to do evil or harm to others, even to the point of violence – assault and/or murder. It can be expressed by impatience, revenge, or vigilantism. Also any punitive desires beyond justice, as in spite and the will to pursue vengeance even to violence beyond that allowed by law. Indeed, suicide is deemed as the ultimate tragic expression of wrath directed inwardly, a final rejection of the Light.

Envy is the countering Vice for the Virtue of Kindness. It lies in casting one’s eye upon another with malice, malevolence, resentment and discontent aroused by their desirable qualities, accomplishments or possessions, Envy is an insatiable desire or drive, like Greed, but applies more generally than Greed. Those possessed of Envy resent that some one else has something they want or perceive themselves to be lacking or needing, and wish the other person to be deprived of it, even should they themselves subsequently attain it.

Pride is the countering Vice for the Virtue of Humility. It is the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source from which the others arise. It embodies an excessive love of self, an over-weaning sense of self-worth, an over-inflated sense of one’s own importance, intrinsic value, or the magnitude of one’s dignity. Vanity is the darling Vice of Pride. Pride lies in taking over-abundant pleasure and satisfaction in one’s own work, possessions, station, and especially one’s achievements. Commonly manifests as conceit or arrogance, narcissism or physical vanity, and vainglory – being boastful through unwarranted pride in one’s accomplishments or qualities.

 

Foibles

Within the majority of the Virtues’ and Vices’ descriptions are a number of aspects from which a certain mode of character behavior can be drawn. These are marked as “Foibles”. These are character quirks that can confine the expression of some or all of a particular Virtue or Vice’s expression to a much narrower field. A Foible will define the manner and mode of behavior in which the character most frequently encounters and expresses the influence of the Virtue or Vice from which it is derived, according to its description.

At the player’s option, the character can be given a score in a Foible under a Virtue or Vice for which he also has a score.

The score allotted to the Foible can be equal to or less than the score in the Virtue or Vice under which it is taken.

The character may have no more than one (1) Foible for any given Virtue or Vice.

Not all of the score a character has for a given Virtue or Vice must be allotted to its Foible, although doing so limits the character’s exposure to the influence of the Virtue or Vice from which it is derived during game play.

When a Virtue or Vice is increased, its Foible (as applicable) MAY be increased by the same amount at the player’s option,

BUT when a Virtue or Vice is increased due to a Foible’s direct influence, the Foible score MUST be increased also at the same time.

No Foible score will ever be higher than the score in the Virtue or Vice from which it is derived.

In the event that the character does something shady and loses a point of Virtue, or does something beneficent and loses a point in a Vice, any Foibles scores that were equal will also have to be reduced. If the Virtue or Vice score should go up again, the Foible score can likewise be increased.

IF the score of the Foible is less than that in the Virtue or Vice, the difference are the amount of that Virtue or Vice the character must deal with in general circumstances. This can be an advantage in some ways, giving the effect of the Virtue or Vice in general less impact, but also a hindrance, as the Foible will more narrowly define the character’s behavior more definitely effect it.

 

Temperance Foibles

Conservative The character always hedges his bets in making sure that he has something left for later. He always has a couple extra pence tucked away, a little bit food, and an extra blanket, a spare set of clothing, etc. He just calls it being prepared, everyone else will probably just think him a packrat.

Just embodies a sense of the rightness of things, a sense of equity and ingrained fairness in all his dealings. As this character is dealt with by others, so he deals with them in return.

Law-Abiding indicates that the character follows the law to the letter and will not stray a single toe over the line even when the chips are down, unless the player makes a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible.

Pristine Honor is a sense of high honor most noblemen aspire to but rarely approach, much less actually achieve. Every challenge or foe faced casts a reflection on not only the character’s own but the entire family’s honor. Every threat to life, liberty, wealth, and/or property but most especially to name and reputation, must be met and faced down, or the family loses face.

This trait can be a great burden to the player and so is worth a DP refund equal to the level taken.

This trait is not available to those with below average HRT.

Resist Not Evil is a Foible that doesn’t obscure or warp the character’s vision but rather drives him, once he observes a person exhibiting overriding qualities of low character, to begins the process of disassociating himself from having anything to do with that person further. They will no longer exist within his world. He will turn away from them without hearing them, accept no gifts from them, and will require a check vs. the level taken in this Foible even to respond to violence offered so he may defend himself. He does not lend the Darkness his strength by dignifying it with battle or opposition, but goes about doing good works and seeking out those who do the same so as to strengthen the Light.

Charity Foibles

Magnanimous Provides the character with a particular nobility of spirit, making him forgiving, generous of mind towards others, will not think ill of people until they prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are bent on unabashedly working ill on others without regret.

Open-handed Makes the character especially generous. The character will need to make a check to be able to keep from giving charity to those who appeal in need, even harder when charity is actually requested of him. This quality is expressed in largesse especially among the noble. The character will have to resist the impulse to make a gift of anything he owns that has been openly admired by another. He will literally give away the cloak or shirt on his back, the shoes off his feet, etc. to the less fortunate who have naught.

Merciful Imbues the character with a particular tenderness of heart that requires a successful check be made versus the level taken in this Foible before he may resist granting forgiveness or mercy for wrongs done them when their opponents or enemies ask it of them.

Diligence Foibles

Confidante Indicates that the character holds the confidences of others especially dear and cannot reveal them to anyone else, regardless of how well trusted, without first making a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible, regardless of the circumstances.

Ironclad Word indicates the character sees his word as his bond. He would sooner die than break his sworn word. The player will have to make a check versus the level taken to be able to violate his oath, whether given under duress or not.

This trait can be a great burden to the player and so is worth a DP refund equal to the level taken.

This trait is not available to those with below average HRT, and is NOT available to practitioners of magick, due to the fact that it is redundant to the magickal constraints to this effect under which they live already, as a feature of their training in the Ars Magicka.

Lion Heart The character is courageous in the face of all challenges and hardships and will add the level taken in this Foible to his A V for all checks versus privation or pain. A separate and successful check versus this Foible are required before the character will allow a single sign of discomfort or complaint to escape him. When faced with an opponent he believes it is possible for him to best, he must make a successful check against this Foible as well in order to back down when challenged.

Private Counsel The character keeps his thoughts to himself. If he has a confidante, it is probably a priest, and he avails himself of the man’s services under the seal of the confessional for his own protection.

Patience Foibles

Dedication embodies the character resolve in life, his standards of excellence and his uncompromising nature when it comes to pursuing the causes he takes to heart. It affects the degree to which he will fuss over the works of his craft to ensure the best quality of which he is capable. When things don’t seem to add up he will track down clues to discover why because he must, he is driven. When it comes to pet theories the character are like a dog with a bone until he makes a successful check versus the level he has in this Foible.

Dedication can be applied to every area of the character’s life, it can certainly affect other Foibles he may have. In situations where Dedication overlaps another Foible, their levels should be added, should the character try to act contrary to the course they would dictate.

Humility Foibles

Modest the character will not toot his own horn regarding his own talents and abilities or accomplishments without first making a check versus the level taken to overcome this foible, and then will only do so upon being asked point blank. In response he will then reply only to the specific inquiry made, without embellishment or speaking of related items. The nature of such a character precludes it except in direct answer to direct questions. The bearer of this foible will abhor any high reputation that might become attached to his name by his deeds, and Fame are the last thing he will seek, especially at high level.

Gentility makes the character of a mind and spirit incapable of expressing bitter or harsh remarks about or towards others, or recriminating them for their poor treatment of others, without first making a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible. The character must accept with equanimity any treatment, however harsh or unkind, with grace and forbearance, all the while treating everyone with honor and dignity, regardless of social class or station. This is a TRUE gentility of spirit.

Lust Foibles

Lascivious is a very sensuous person with an erotic preoccupation. They cannot resist (without a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible) making sexual innuendos or even outright coarse comments when the opportunity presents itself to them. They lust after everyone who attracts their eye and will make no secret of the fact, indeed will do everything in their power to see their physical desires fulfilled.

Gluttony Foibles

Addictive Taste When faced with the offer or opportunity to indulge in the particular taste to which the character is addicted, a successful check must be made versus the level taken in this Foible in order to resist indulging. This addictive taste may take the form of wine, sweets as in hard candy or sweets as in pastry or cakes, or fruit, blood meats cooked rare, a recreational drug, but it can also take the form of a tactile addiction such as an inordinate fondness for the feel of velvet, or of silk. At half the normal DP refund, the player can narrow the addiction down so that it is only the character’s particular favorite to which this weakness extends, rich dry red wines in the French style (cabernet blends), semidry whites in the German style (Rieslings), lemon drops, éclairs of the finest quality, trifles of the freshest fruit and finest brandy, roasted young lamb spiced with cloves and garlic and cinnamon served rare, hashish or opium, the plushest velvet produced by the city most famous for it but only when etched (cut) in delicate patterns and of the deepest garnet color, silken cloth of the softest satin texture and sheen but only in the richest color of golden topaz.

The difference between Lust and Gluttony lies in the fact that Lust can be satisfied. Only the exhausting of personal resources to afford an addiction or the local resources for satisfying it will stop the Glutton, who are understandably disappointed.

Greed Foibles

Tightwad requires the character to make a successful check versus the level take] in this Foible before he may spend any of his hard-won monies on anything not considered bare subsistence. He aregrudge the secondhand clothes seller his price, and even the poor rag picker, will eat porridge and gruel, the meanest foods and clothing for the least amount of money, and shelter where he may so he doesn’t have to pay if he doesn’t own his own place. He will have to win a contest against his Foible before he can make anyone a gift of any of his hard-won possessions, even for his own true love, before he may leave a tip or even use gifts or money to grease the wheels of bureaucracy to achieve his aims. The character will have no shame about this, and short of bullying and threats (which will only provide a bonus the his AV to overcoming the Foible at that instance) will not be impressed by anything anyone has to say about this character flaw.

Conniver/Hustler is a character who always has a scheme or plan to get rich quick, to succeed in business, marry well, find a treasure, rescue a princess or the kingdom, and thereby set themselves up for life due to the rewards or the gratitude of others. He always has his eye on what the other guy has and how to get it for himself. A character with this Foible must make a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible in order to be motivated to do anything for which he doesn’t have an angle by which to benefit in some way by either monetary gain or material comforts.

Suspicious expresses the character’s lack of faith or trust in his fellow man, his basic belief that just because he values the things his acquisitive nature has driven him to collect, others must want them as well. Every person approaching him is treated to the same “bottom line” treatment : what do they want from him? Everybody wants something, most likely something he has worked hard to acquire. It will take a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible to suppress this suspicion and operate on some other basis.

Sloth Foibles

Conscienceless reflects the fact that the character has no remorse, no guilt or conscience, no concern for what is right or wrong. He simply cannot rouse himself to care for the consequences of his acts so he does what he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. When anyone stands in the way of such a character doing just as he pleases he will calmly try to find a way around it, and failing that he will do his best to remove the impediment, and failing that he will very likely react like a child, with explosive, unreasoning anger. At the player’s option, especially at higher levels, the character may even be incapable of understanding how anything he wants or does is wrong and when he is punished by anyone for it insists on his right to have done just as he did. Punishment, again. brings out only his anger.

Accidia (or Acedia), also called “worldly sadness” this is a fault condemned by the Light. All should rejoice in the blessings and mercies of the Light, not linger in sadness and woe for the tragedies about them that they have no power to change. As Hamlet’s long mourning for his father’s passing and insistence on wearing funeral black, long after the event showed “a will most retrograde to Heaven,” so those bearing accidia wallow in sorrow over the wickedness and grief of the world about them, ignoring the glory of the Light, to the peril of their soul.

Wrath Foibles

High Choler indicates that when the character’s ire is provoked, anytime frustrations mount, he is refused or denied what he seeks, a successful check are required versus the level taken in this Foible or the character will strike out at the object of his rage with the nearest weapon, or leap to pound with fists or grapple (as appropriate to the character) for (HRT + Foible level) pulses, or until restrained or diverted (GM’s discretion).

Short Fuse Whenever any criticism or slight or insult is offered the character, a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible must be made to avoid falling into an anger response.

Vindictive whenever the character’s ire is up, for so long as he remains provoked, the character will have to make a successful d100 check vs. the level of the foible or take a moment to avail himself of any opportunity to do his fellow man (or woman) an evil turn, a slight, an injury, in word or deed that presents itself.

Envy Foibles

User indicates that the only or overriding interest the character will have in others is in so far as they can be of use to him, what they represent to him in the way 01 resources to be tapped. One of the most common tactics for a character with this Foible is to find someone he doesn’t have to pay to take care of the menial drudgery of everyday life, cooking, cleaning, washing, mending, etc. This sort 01 character feels the world owes him a living and feels little, if any, connection with others, and thus has no guilt over treating people this way, even those who may love him or be in love with him. It is very easy for observers to note how such a character operates, to see them swing from cold to warm in social relations once it comes to light that someone once dismissed may have some valuable knowledge or assets, after all.

For such a character to respond with true feeling of the heart in any situation requires a successful check versus the level taken with this Foible.

Pride Foibles

Calling Card/Trademark is a mark the character carries and distributes to make sure that everyone knows not only who he is but where he has been. He cannot stand to be taken for granted or glossed over. Such characters have a particular style, a way they do things or approach things. It may be the wearing of a particular style of gloves, or shoes, scarves, or liripipes on their hats, sashes, the wearing of feathers of a certain type (peacock? ostrich?) or a fondness for a particular color (winter white accented with blazing rubies), or a certain style of dress, such as hose and short cotehardie, or houpelandes with wide angel wing sleeves, or the like. It may be that the character always has a pipe in hand or mouth, but never lit, or wears a particularly fine sword but has never been known to have drawn it, always has a cup of wine in hand (sweet red, the latest vintage). Whatever the calling card is, it identifies the character, and could give the character away should he be trying to travel incognito, and especially if he is in disguise.

Flashy/Garish/Ostentatious characters have no sense of taste or style in the conventional sense. They prefer bright clashing colors and warring patterns, overdone accents, all glitter and flash. Such characters have a great tendency to be insecure the higher the Foible’s level. Their very clothing shouts “Look at me!! Look at me!!”

At higher levels the meaning goes a little deeper, and this Foible indicates that they are people of no depth and no substance. The character becomes all about display and appearances, putting one’s self on display, and how one’s actions appear, who the “right people” to associate with are, how one’s words might be received, always “on stage” difficult at best to determine what is the real substance and heart of such a character.

Self Righteous is a character who can do no ·wrong. He typically pulls others down to lift himself up. If his methods achieve his ends, he has no moral qualms as to whether they were justified. “Kill them all and God will know His own” was a phrase uttered by just such a character. If the bath water is inimical to his goals, he couldn’t care less for the baby sitting in it when he pitches it out. And bringing such a character’s flaws or mistakes to his attention, or trying to drag morality into the issue (when it obviously has no place) will only earn his disdain, ire, or enmity, depending on the persistence with which it is pursued, and the character’s ability to successfully overcome this Foible.

Vain Glory is the Foible of the glory hound, constantly seeking ways to build his reputation and social prestige, to win glory in fabulous conquests as a benefactor especially to those who can do him the most good, but also with the specific goal of being able to crow about his achievements and trade on this reputation. This is the Foible of the character with too great a sense 0″f his own honor and worth. He is certainly not above taking credit for others’ ideas after they prove successful. Failing to overcome the level he has in this Foible, every threat to name and reputation must be met and overcome, or he loses face.

Arrogant/High-Handed makes the character prone to make unilateral decisions for everyone in his company, and act on them generally without consulting anyone else, regardless of the fact that his decisions affect all in the party. This character knows all too well that the sun rises and sets over him. This is not an aspect of his life that requires discussion, it simply IS, and he accepts it. Pride is the cornerstone of the character of such a person.

Blustering Windbag is a character who always has something to say, who never, hesitates to bellow to see the man in charge when he doesn’t get everything he wants or thinks he is entitled to. He has an overblown sense of his own importance, thinks everyone should just KNOW who he is and how important, has a great penchant for creating scenes in public and for being very loud to embarrass others into cooperating with him.

Busy Body is a Foible that can easily get on people’s nerves, but can be great fur to play. Such characters are always lurking about trying to find ways to insert themselves into everyone else’s conversations, usually by asking for more information on a point in a conversation in which they were not included to begin with. They have a bad habit of button-holing people and playing twenty questions with them, trying to wheedle every little bit of not only useful information but also background from people. The character will require a successful check versus the level taken in this Foible in order to avoid inserting themselves in conversations or asking impertinent questions. They have an insatiable curiosity, not necessarily with the highest of aims, and absolutely no clue that their attentions are usually most unwelcomed. The character’s Pride would never allow them to admit that their attentions are unwonted, and they will generally take great exception to others shutting them down and turning away from them, which i1 usually the only effective means of diverting a Busy Body. The usual reaction if these cases is the obligatory “Well, I never … ” and stalking off in a huff.

Virtue & Vice in Play

When do the Virtues actually affect roleplay and the flow of the game? That is essentially up to the GM to decide, BUT he must keep the nature of each in mind, especially when he is writing adventures. He can plan encounters that intentionally bring one or the other set of qualities directly into play, and make a note of it to remind himself when planning the evening’s play.

The use of Virtue and Vice in roleplaying the characters are the greatest challenge for the GM during play. It means he will have to keep on his toes, ever watchful for moral crises and opportunities to bring Virtue and Vice into play. This is a very important piece of the medieval flavor of the game, however, and so much more rewarding to make the extra effort to utilize it. The fact that moral situations are sometimes completely subjective will make this a bit difficult to referee from time to time. While it can be very rewarding in the end, making the players more aware of their own characters and the medieval-ness of the gameworld around them, the GM must keep an open mind and be willing to listen to the players. Very few situations are so black and white, although many of the situations that will bring the Virtues and Vices into play are VERY obvious, and can be planned for by the GM.

If the players favor the channeling of the Virtue and Vice scores into the Foibles, that will actually make the GM’s job a bit easier, and is in fact a tactic he should choose to use with his NPC’s as well, when he has the chance. Those narrow the focus and make hitting the character’s psychological buttons and testing his resolve and mettle easier.

The Virtue and Vice scores should rise and fall according to nature of the character’s actions during play (GM’s discretion).

Actions which truly illustrate the spirit of a Vice will increase the corresponding Vice score, putting the character’s feet on that path and making that influence harder to resist the next time Temptation appears to test him again. In the same vein, acts which truly embody the spirit of a Virtue will raise the corresponding Virtue score, making resisting the corresponding Vice easier (as applicable, not all Virtues have an opposing Vice) and doing the “right thing” harder to walk away from.

IF the character is ever tempted in roleplay by a situation on which a Virtue has direct bearing, or finds himself in a crisis of conscience tempted by Vice, and the d100 HRT check against the influence is failed (Virtue) or made (Vice), the character will lose one point from that Virtue score (the score can never fall below zero) or the player are required to add one point to the appropriate Vice score, OR both if the Vice or Virtue in play is one of an opposing pair, whichever deemed most appropriate (GM’s discretion).

To give the GM a baseline, anytime a PC goes out of his way to either perform an act showing his concentration on and attention to a particular Virtue (the GM must make a judgment call which, as a few of them overlap and some actions and situations may involve more than one) the GM makes a SPT att. mod. check on d100 vs. the PC’s own HRT + (current score in applicable Virtue).

The PC’s own ego is an obstacle here.

IF the check is successful, the GM should raise the score in the applicable Virtue by one (1). If not, it remains as it was. This is all about intent. If the GM feels that the act was sincere at heart and not made for mechanical reasons so as to raise a Virtue score, the roll might be skipped and the score simply raised, or the roll might be fudged to the same effect.

When a character pursues and/or indulges Vice, the situation is resolved in the same manner, but the d100 check is a HRT att. mod. check vs. the PC’s own SPT + (current score in applicable Vice).

The PC’s own SPT (conscience) is an obstacle here.

When a PC is faced with the temptation towards a Vice and folds without a second thought and indulges himself, without even asking to make a HRT check because he is not sure if the PC would resist it, the GM should make a note of it. This requires a judgment call on the GM’s part, determined by the magnitude of the temptation and the current score in the Vice (if any), whether the score should be increased by one (1). The higher the score, the greater the temptation must be and the greater the number of occasions for Vice already faced before the GM should increase the score.

The parameters for advancement in the Vice and Virtue scores should be the same as that used for advancement in SL’s.

The quality of a Virtue is increased in the same manner, by committing acts that are consonant with one of the Virtues, BUT those common acts that are executed in the simplest possible manner, especially in giving alms should count for little. Money is the cheapest way to pay. Devotion of time and personal energy and skills to the welfare of others is a much better yardstick for the GM to use. True acts of Virtue are performed in passing, casually and without a second thought, without having been asked, and for those from whom the PC stands to gain nothing in return, not patronage or service or any other advantage and who need it most.

True acts of Vice are committed in passing, done coolly and casually and without a second thought, in spite of cries of protest of any who suffer from the act, and from whom the PC stands in no danger of reprisal, even indirectly, from which act the PC stands to gain no reward or advantage, against those who are as close to innocent as they may be and least deserving of such treatment.

Committing an act of cold blooded murder against a defenseless foe, innocent or not so, should automatically raise one of the Vice scores. Mass murder, especially against defenseless innocents should raise Vice by anywhere from 2 to 6 points – or more depending on the total. It was not uncommon in war for every soul in a conquered town to be put to the sword, or every man and male child, thousands at once. Those wielding the swords should suffer an increase in Vice for their deeds, BUT the one giving the order should suffer the greatest.

These establish general modes of behavior, but there are situations in the game that can occur which are highly charged emotionally and the characters’ reactions to them should have a direct effect on Vice and Virtue – what a PC does to an arch-enemy when he finally has him alone and at his mercy may well show his qualities of either Vice or Virtue.

A score should similarly be reduced when a situation requires a Vice or Virtue check and the PC makes the check successfully to resist the impulse. In the same manner in which the scores are built, they should not be so easily knocked down again, however. The GM should use the same method by which they were built in reverse.

In this way the scores fluctuate over time. A character can slide into Shadow and even Darkness, but ALWAYS has the ability to redeem himself through choosing to mend his ways and doing his best to resist Vice and commit himself to a Virtuous life.

Roleplaying the Virtue and Vice scores can pose a bit of a challenge. Having a rating in a Virtue or Vice places certain constraints on the player to portray his character in a certain way under certain circumstances where a given Virtue or Vice in which he has a score comes into play. These constraints are the result of the manner in which the player has already played the character, however, so it really is only a means of making sure that the player remains true to character as the player has established him in play.

Making multiple Virtues a focus of the character is encouraged, as it weakens the constraints placed on the player in his roleplaying of the character, but the player stands warned that Virtue and Vice scores may require successful Contested HRT Rolls be made against them if the player does not play them true (GM’s discretion). This may result in the need for the player to modify his character’s actions to coincide with what those scores indicate as far as the quality of the character’s personality/spirit. This is always subject to debate between the character and the GM, but both parties are advised to keep in mind that this is a tool for aiding in the portrayal of a character consistent with his established patterns of behavior, BUT it is NOT a club with which to beat the player, either. The degree to which a failed or successful roll affects the behavior of a character is ALWAYS up to interpretation.

While tracking the individual Virtues and Vices is useful as a reflection of the manner in which the PC’s are played and bring some additional consistency into their portrayal in roleplay, a general score in Light and Darkness is also very helpful for Mystic characters and their sensitivities to these spiritual vibrations, and also in dealing with Spirits and spirit-creatures of Light and Darkness. These two general scores are equal to the sum of the scores accumulated in the Virtues and Vices, respectively.

When the over-all Virtue score is 2x the character’s Vice score or greater AND the over-all Vice score is 7 (+1 per 10 years of age) or less (to a maximum of 13), the character is said to Walk in the Light.

When the over-all Vice score is twice the character’s Virtue score or greater AND the over-all Virtue score is 7 (+1 per 10 years of age) or less (to a maximum of 13), the character is said to Walk in the Darkness.

Everyone else in between is said to Walk in Shadow, some being more Dark than others and some more Light, but all have the capacity to either find the Light or get lost in Shadow and then Darkness. Even from the deathbed in Darkness one might still find redemption, BUT no one with a Vice score greater than 13 can ever be truly said to fully Walk in the Light, just as no one who has a Virtue score greater than 13 can ever be said to be wholly lost to the outermost Darkness.

Physical Description

The physical description passages are provided to get the player thinking creatively about the more cosmetic aspects of character, in terms of the character as a real person with a physical appearance. Character appearance can greatly enhance characterization by providing the player with some colorful, visual input, creating a greater sense of completeness, providing a stronger foundation upon which the character’s personality can be built. This can add greatly to the initial individuality of the character. The 4-13. and 4-14. tables have been provided as a ready source for the cosmetic side of the character’s description, BUT tables 4-13. and 4-14.a and b., and also the Star Sign result, are completely optional, while the procedure for determining age is not.

Appearance: Interpretting Scores

Many players are concerned that their character’s appearance, as reflected in their physical scores, fit the images they build up in their minds during character generation. When the player is buying scores for his character’s attributes he should keep in mind what those scores say about the character, especially in regards to his physical appearance – how they will make the character LOOK, and how that is likely to be received by the denizens of the gameworld in which he lives. As mentioned, STR and CND must be viewed in relationship to the character’s STA, to determine what the visual effect actually is, however, the actual height itself can be important, too, as it influences the character’s proportions if altered from the result provided by table 4-5., previously This should explain what the physical statistics mean in more visual terms.

The higher the character’s STA (taller the character) the higher the STR will have to be for the muscle size to really show at any time other than when the’ character flexes or exerts himself. The taller a character who has only average STR and CND is, the longer, bonier, and lankier that character will appear. Of course, a character of average STA and STR with a high CND may also appear thin, but this will due to the fact that his muscles are longer and leaner with more definition, made for endurance.

The higher the CND, the more visible and pronounced the play of the muscles under the skin are, and the more visible the character’s surface veins are, especially when the character exerts himself.

High STR provides big muscles, of course, but without a good CND score: they are smooth, and only the divisions between major muscle groups are: visible. The shorter the character of high STR is, the larger the muscles will appear. Players trying for the bodybuilder barbarian look will need high STR for muscle bulk, but also high CND for high definition, and shorter than average height for their race, as well as a couple inches shorter than average for their STA score for more apparent thickness. Half-trolls, half-ogres, and dwarf characters are thick by nature, Medium-Heavy to Heavy in Build to start with, so following these tactics will yield almost cartoonish results – if that is what the player is looking for.

 

Character Height

The player can find his character’s base height by looking up the entry for his character’s raw STA score and reading the result in the “Height” column on table 4-7.

 The player may  vary the character’s height, but not by any more than 2 inches taller or shorter than that which is normally assigned to his STA score.

IF the player shortens his character, he will appear just a bit broader and more stout, stockier than other characters who have the same STA score who are taller. If the player makes him taller, the character will appear longer and lankier than characters who are shorter with that score. At the average height indicated by the average score for his race, the character will have standard proportions for his race, from head to toe.

This figure are used to determine things like weapon sizes and some of the tactical attributes found in Step 9. The character’s height will govern his arm length or Reach for wielding weapons in battle, and the size of weapons themselves.

4-7. Character Height by STA

Score

Height

Score

Height

10

3ft.

21

5ft. 9in.

11

3ft. 3in.

22

6ft.

12

3ft. 6in.

23

6ft. 3in.

13

3ft. 9in.

24

6ft. 6in.

14

4ft.

25

6ft. 9in.

15

4ft. 3in.

26

7ft.

16

4ft. 6in.

27

7ft. 3in.

17

4ft. 9in.

28

7ft. 6in.

18

5ft.

29

7ft. 9in.

19

5ft. 3in.

30

8ft.

20

5ft. 6in.

31

8ft. 3in.

32

8ft. 6in.

39

10ft. 6in.

33

8ft. 9in.

40

11ft.

34

9ft.

41

11ft. 6in.

35

9ft. 3in.

42

12ft.

36

9ft. 6in.

43

12ft. 6in.

37

9ft. 9in.

44

13ft.

38

10ft.

45

13ft. 6in.

 

Character Weight

To determine the character’s base weight, find the base on table 4-8. for the character’s weight, according to the Build of his race.

4-8, Base Weight and Modifiers, by Build

Build

Base Weight

Modifier

Light

101

19

Medium-Light

122

22

Medium

135

25

Medium-Heavy

169

31

Heavy

203

38

For every point by which the character’s (raw) STA is greater than 20, add the number listed in the “Modifier” column of table 4-11., according the Build of the character’s race.

AND/OR

Add 6 for every point by which the character’s STR is above 13.

AND/OR

Subtract 6 for every point by which the character’s (raw) STA is below 20 and/or STR is below 13.

Add 2 per point by which the character’s CND is below 13,

OR

Subtract 1 per point by which his CND is greater than 13.

Low CND indicates that the character is carrying around some excess weight, while higher CND makes the character leaner.

IF the character is female reduce her resulting weight by 10% (multiply by 0.9, or move the decimal one place to the left and subtract the result from the original amount) to determine her actual weight.

IF the player took advantage of the opportunity to modify his character’s height from the score indicated by his STA score, he should add 6 pounds for every inch by which he raised the character’s height, or subtract 4 pounds for every inch by which he lowered it.

The result should be divided by 14 and expressed in “stone,” with any remainder stated in pounds.

For the purposes of play, whenever a weight is spoken of in stone and pounds it is stated as “(x) stone and (x),” the latter (x) being the remainder is assumed to be pounds, even though “pounds” itself isn’t stated. Once “stone” has been mentioned it is understood that any appendant number, which must be less than 14, are any odd pounds of the weight.

While the stone is the appropriate measure for the period of the game, it was also one of the most ambiguous measures in use at the time, ranging from 7lb’s to 21lb’s depending on what goods were being weighed. Since people didn’t weigh themselves (why would they?), for the purposes of the game we have chosen to use the stone of 14 pounds which was in general use by merchants for assorted goods that didn’t have a special stone-weight of their own.

IF the player took advantage of the opportunity to modify his character’s height from the score indicated by his STA score AND wants to maintain normal proportions for his STA score, he should add 8 pounds for every inch by which he raised the character’s height, or subtract 4 pounds for every inch by which he lowered it. Otherwise he should leave the weight the same, and allow the difference in height to simply change the character’s proportions, slightly stockier if he was made shorter, or longer if made taller. This is at the player’s discretion.

IF a character seems heavy, the player should check his STA and STR scores. High (above average) STA and STR scores will naturally yield a heavier character. While the player may alter these figures (GM’s discretion), the weight figures generated here will actually be fairly accurate according to the character’s scores and height. Always double-check the figures to make sure they’re right.

This is as specific as RoM gets in describing the body’s specific measurements, proportions, and size. The rest is up to the player, his imagination, and that of any artists in the gaming group willing to draw portraits.

It is important that the player understand and remember that his character will have no idea how tall he is in the precise terms of feet and inches quoted here unless he makes the effort to get hold of a measuring rod of some sort (which will generally only be marked in feet) and then have some craftsman measure off any odd change in smaller units he (the player) can understand. The actual measure used will depend on the craftsman’s trade (see period measures in the Appendices). If the player insists on going to all this trouble, he are considered very strange by the craftsman and everyone else in town after he tells them about the incident afterwards.

The quoting of the character’s height in precise feet and inches on the record sheet is simply a necessary evil.

Height is included only for the fact that the player needs it to determine things like: weapon lengths, Zones, and other combat statistics required for the tabletop war gaming aspect of the game, otherwise it would not be present at all.

The same are just as true of weight. The character will have no idea how heavy he is in the precise terms quoted here unless he makes the effort to go down to the local marketplace and then pay the keeper of the Great Beam to weigh him, while everyone looks on. If the player insists on going to all this trouble, he are considered very strange by everyone who witnesses the scene and everyone they tell about the incident afterwards. A quick way to alter one’s reputation and not necessarily for the better.

Again, the quoting of the character’s weight in precise terms on the record sheet is a necessary evil Weight is included only for the fact that the player must keep track of his character’s ENC and some situations require the character to pull his own weight in addition to the loads carried, literally, or for a party member to lift, push, or carry the character’s weight, so the player must have that figure to account for it. Otherwise it would not be present at all.

It is important that the player understand that the presence of precise measures on the Character Record Sheet is not a license for’ the player to refer to it or use it as character knowledge during play. The player will have to make do with generalizations and comparisons with his party members, the GM letting the PC’s know who is taller or heavier than whom.

Character Coloration

This aspect of character description may be disposed of either by choosing whatever appeals or by rolling 2d10 or taking the best of three throws (player’s discretion). Tables 4-9. and 4-10. (a & b) the player may quickly generate the details of hair and eyes.

The player and GM should keep in mind the fact that these two tables are totally optional. If nothing else, these tables can give the players ideas, get them thinking about what they like. Players should be able to just throw the dice to see if anything catches their fancy.

4-9. Eye Color 4-10.a Hair Color

2d10

Color

2d10

Color

2

China Blue

2

Raven Black

3

Ice/Sky Blue

3-4

Chocolate Brown

4

Blue-Gray

5-6

Chestnut

5-6

Hazel/Blue-Green

7-9

Medium Brown

7-8

Hazel/Green-Brown

10-11

Sandy Brown

9

Green-Gray

12

Auburn

10-12

Brown

13

Deep Red

13

Steel Gray

14

Copper Red

14

Black

15

Strawberry Blonde

15-18

Moss Green

16

Golden Blonde

17

Emerald Green

17

Ash Blonde

18

Golden/Tawny

18

Flaxen

19

Violet

19

Silver Gray/Snow White

20

2 colors, roll again

20

White temples or
White wing or lock

4-10.b Hair Length

d10 Male Female
1 Bald Short (just past ears)
1-2 Short (cropped close) Medium (to shoulders)
3-5 Medium (just past ears) Medium-Long (to mid-back)
6-8 Long (to shoulders) Long (to hips)
9-10 Extra Long (to mid-back +) Extra Long (to calves +)

IF the player wants to modify hair color, eye color, or hair length result he has rolled, he should feel free. The player can compare the results he rolls or his general idea for his character’s coloration with the description of his character’s race in general terms like quality and coloration of complexion, and other similar factors specific to the character. If the character has the leisure and/or domestic help to help him/her take care of it, he or she could have luxurious tresses like Rapunzel, braided and pinned up out of the way for daily wear or worn loosely gathered and draped over an arm. And texture and body should not be forgotten, either. The character’s hair might be straight as an arrow, almost lank, or have long, soft full-bodied waves or shorter stronger body waves, loose natural ringlets, or a veritable wreath of luxurious curls, or a mass of tight, wild curls, or be prematurely graying ~ salt & peppery, have a single streak or lock of gray or white (popular for magick-wielding characters, as seen in Polgara in David Eddings’ Belgariad), particularly at the temples for men like Marvel’s Doc Strange. It might be dry, frizzy and unmanageable, have a dreadful cowlick or two, or be lank and greasy unless cared for daily. Then again, the character could always just shave himself bald. That would give him an excuse to gossip with the local barber every week or so.

Character BTY scores should have a direct influence over the player’s decisions in this area, however; that’s one of the things that score is there to indicate.

The physical descriptions for the races can be found in Appendix A., in the race descriptions referred to in Step 1. These descriptions also discuss such factors as density of beard, how well the race ages, and special features like the prevalence of body hair or, in HalfTrolls in particular, tusks.

Character Age

While the point in game-time at which a player begins to play out his character’s life might have been pegged to a predetermined number according to when he reached adulthood, it takes time to take an education, learn skills, hone them, serve out the terms of apprenticeships, and so on, and the characters will all have different portfolios of trades/skills which will have taken different amounts of time to learn, according to their natures. Thus, the player must determine the age at which the player takes up the reins of his life and begins adventuring, according to the amount of knowledge he has gathered.

The age at which most children were most commonly put to an apprenticeship or engaged in higher education in the period of the game varied from 12 – 16, the same age by which most girls were expected to marry, but 14 being the most common. The most commonly agreed upon term for an apprenticeship was 7 years (although this could vary greatly depending on the trade), so that the apprenticeship would be completed by 21, the commonly acknowledged age of majority in England. The course of education took longer, doctorates taking to the age of 24 – 26. The youngest age at which any clergyman would ever be presented to a benefice in the Church was 26.

For the purposes of the game, the base age for all characters is 14, regardless of race or sex.

To this the player adds the age bonus indicated on table 4-11. for the trade with which he has equipped his character.

Petty Skills including those which may be derived from the trade, do not affect the character’s beginning age at all.

4-11. Starting Age Modifiers, by Trades

Character Trades

Mod.

Beastmaster/-mistress, Boatman, Farmer/Gardener, Guide, Husbandman, Squire, Recommender/-ress, Rogue, Scholar-Master of Grammar

+ 4

Leechcraft, Chapman, Jongleur, Mariner, Player/Trickster, Knave (any),

+ 5

Diplomat, Scholar-Magister, Midwife, Mountebank

+ 6

Courtier/-esan, Craftsman (inc. common Artisan), CunningMan/Wise-Woman, Merchant, Warrior (any), Barber, Woodsman, Minstrel

+ 7

Druid-Bard, Courtier/Diplomat-Spy

+ 9

Surgeon, Sacred Knight, Craftsman/Smith-Artisan, Craftsman-Artificer (any), Craftsman/Mason-Architect, Herbal, Apothecary, Hearth-Witch, Hedge-Wizard, Huntsman, Troubadour

+ 10

Scholar-Physician, Scholar-Lawyer, Scholar-Alchemist, Druid-Fili, Druid-Smith, Druid-Fiana

+ 12

Assassin, Witch, Wizard (any), Mystic, Druid-Fathi

+ 14

Druid-Brehon, Magus

+ 20

Birthdays & Star Signs

Roll d100 on table 4-12. OR choose to determine the character’s zodiac or sun sign and elemental alignment by birth. This may seem an unimportant detail, only really of interest to those who deal with the gods or magick. A number of players may well be delighted to find it here, while others may well wish to ignore it, but it can actually have an effect in play on ALL characters.

To find the day of birth, roll d100 and multiply the % result by number of days of the sign, rounding all decimals UP.

For exampleIF the player rolls a result of “34” after determining the character was born a Pisces, the player would multiply the 28 days of the sign by 0.34, which comes to 9.52, or 10. This indicates the character was born on March 3rd.

This character would be a Pisces, with an affinity for water.

The player is of course just as welcome to choose the birthday with a sign of his liking.

This information will affect every character who uses any form of magick, all Witches, Mystics, Wizards, Hedge-Wizards, Hearth-Witches, WiseWomen and CunningMen, as expected, BUT will affect all characters to some extent.

The player will please remember that table 4-16. is NOT mandatory, but is presented as a means of expediting generating information which will likely be needed later, or simply as a resource to consult.

The player is free to choose a birthday and star sign that appeal to him. To aid in this decision he should check the descriptions of the star signs provided in the Grimoire for convenience. If he is also a wielder of magick, he should check the character of the magicks that are available to him in case they are affected by the element of the natal star sign (particularly those of the Druid trades and all Witches) to make sure the magick agrees with him and his character concept.

For the players’ convenience in creating characters, this passage on determining birthdays and star signs appears in the PG in exactly the same form, as well. This saves the GM from having to take care of this detail which are of far more interest to the individual players.

If the calendar in the GM’s world is different from the standard Real World calendar, or the signs of the astrological calendar have been altered (as discussed in Chapter 2. of Part II., and also in the Grimoire), he must be sure to let the players know and provide them with the particulars so they can determine this bit of information for themselves. There really is no reason why they shouldn’t, and their doing so certainly saves the GM from having to do so.

4-12. Star signs & Elemental Alignments

d100

Date of Birth

Sign

Element

01-08

January 22 – February 21

Aquarius

Air

09-16

February 22 – March 21

Pisces

Water

17-25

March 22 – April 21

Aries

Fire

26-33

April 22 – May 21

Taurus

Earth

34-41

May 22 – June 21

Gemini

Air

42-50

June 22 – July 21

Cancer

Water

51-58

July 22 – August 21

Leo

Fire

59-66

August 22 – September 21

Virgo

Earth

67-75

September 22 – October 21

Libra

Air

76-83

October 22 – November 21

Scorpio

Water

84-91

November 22 – December 21

Sagittarius

Fire

92-00

December 22 – January 21

Capricorn

Earth

 

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