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Credits

Concept: Aaron de Orive


Writing and Design: Aaron de Orive and Scott Jones
BOOK ONE

Chapter Fiction: Austen Andrews


Additional Design and Contributions: Chris Archer, Tom Dunne, Owen Hopson, Joseph
Kentspeth, Robie Kentspeth, Josh Logan, Zoltan Meszaros, Ezra Smith, Raymond Stewart, Sean
Summers, David R. Watson, Eric Willman

Editing: Aaron de Orive and Joel Kinstle


Graphic Design and Art Direction: Scott Jones

Cover Art: Jim Daly and Scott Jones

Interior Art: Joe Fontenot, Jay French, Laura Jennings, Scott Jones, Joseph Kentspeth, Darrin LeBlanc,
Denis Loubet, Eric Willman

SHARD System: Aaron de Orive and Scott Jones


Playtesters: Elizabeth Andrews, Kris Andrews, Mark Bennett, Andrew Bowman, Matt Burton, Ryan
Busby, Craig Cormier, Jodie Denniston, Lori Diederich, Matt Diederich, Keegan Douberly, Kyle
Douberly, Edmund Dupont, Jefferey A. Edwards, Joe Fontenot Jr., Richard Fox, Jesse Griffin, Cale
Hawkins, Owen Hopson, Faith Johnson, Kristen Johnson, Chase Kelly, Joseph Kentspeth, Matt Kuffler,
Cindy Lackey, Dee-Ann LeBlanc, Josh Logan, Caleb Loose, Denis Loubet, Michael McManus, Zoltan
Meszaros, Mike Neel, Steve Pecha, Bob Quinlan, Rox Quinlan, Melissa Rangel, Stephanie Reid, Luray
Richmond, Andrew Schultz, Hawk Silverthorn, Ezra Smith, Fred Stanton, Raymond Stewart, Sean
Summers, Kendra Swope, Jade Tinnerman, Michelle Watson, Kiai Weidemann, Eric Willman

Special Thanks: Blythe de Orive, Jay French, Joseph Kentspeth, Robie Kentspeth, Zoltan Meszaros, Jim
Searcy, and David Wheeler

2008 Shard Studios LLC. SHARD RPG Basic Compendium, Drdnah: World of the False
Dawn and related logos, characters, names, and distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks of Shard
Studios LLC. All rights reserved.
Contains original material 1992 by Aaron de Orive.

The reproduction of material from within this book for the purposes of personal or corporate profit,
by photographic, electronic, or other methods of storage and retrieval, is prohibited.

ISBN: 978-0-9802426-0-7
Shard Studios VIN: SSD10100. Published in December 2008.

Visit us and join our Community Forum at www shardrpg.com

2
Foreword
This has been one of the longest and toughest, yet most creatively enriching roads I have ever traveled
over the last fifteen years. Through all the trials and tribulations there have been two things that have helped
drive this amazing project to completion: my ever-burning passion for one of the most unique and inspiring
game-worlds I have ever had the pleasure to become a part of; and the amazing devotion and support of my
friends and family. It is due to these precious things that you now hold this book in your hands.
My fascination with role-playing games began in 1982, when I saw in those rulebooks, character sheets,
and strangely shaped dice the wonderful opportunity to bring to life and participate in an interactive version
of those ageless faerie-tales I loved as a child. From my dad I may have gained my stubborn determination
and die-hard mentality, but it was Mom who opened my eyes to fantasy and stoked my creative fires. And
of course it was that amazing community of gamers I eventually fell in with and befriended that still inspire
me to this day! Id be lost without them.
Those early gaming years were filled with the voracious consumption of all manner of paper RPGs,
with every type of rules system and genre you can imagine. And if I didnt have the time to play something
myself, you can bet one of my other gaming friends did. These were great years, and if I ever thought that Id
grow out of gaming, I was obviously deluded, because role-playing games are more a part of my life now
than they ever were then! It was in 1992, shortly after meeting Aaron, my friend and business partner, that
the concept of officially bringing his idea of Drdnah to life as a paper RPG came into being, a concept
that I wholeheartedly fell in love with, just as I had embraced the world of Drdnah itself while playing in
his games. Unable to initially pursue the task himself at the time, Aaron gave me the rights to do it on my
own, so I doggedly kept plugging away at the SHARD rules in my spare time.
Fifteen years later, and here we are! In your hands you hold everything you need to introduce yourself
to our world: historical fiction, character creation, combat, ritual magic, a list of beasts, and a glossary. It is
our most ardent wish that you have as much fun in this world as we have, and that you will continue with
us on our journey as we open many more doors into this fantastic realm of Drdnah, World of the False
Dawn.
-Scott Jones, March, 2008

And to think it all started with a desire to make a fantasy setting that was just a little different from
the rest. When I started playing these games in high school, European medieval fantasy was the name of
the game. Come to think of it, it pretty much still is. The profound effect that J.R.R. Tolkien has had on
the industry, indeed on fantasy fiction in general, is in evidence all around us in many different forms of
media. I have the greatest admiration and respect for the works of Professor Tolkien. He is ultimately the
one responsible for this book. Without his imagination, mine might not have been stirred so profoundly.
It is said that an artist is the product of his influences, and I couldnt agree more. The influence of such
artists as Hayao Miyazaki, Frank Herbert, Jim Henson, Alexandre Dumas, Walt Disney, and J.R.R. Tolkien
is quite evident in SHARD. It would not exist if not for the imaginations of these incredible creators. If
theres one thing Ive learned from these master storytellers, its that setting is so vitally important. An
imaginary world must be a place that we dream about, obsess over, and long to visit time and again. If you
feel that way about your fantasy world, chances are others might too, and if youre lucky, some of them
might be amazing creators in their own right.
Thankfully for me, Scott Jones was one of those people. Soon after we were introduced, he joined our
gaming group and began playing in the world of Drdnah. Scott, whose childhood influences were similar
to my own, fell in love with the setting. He became one of my most enthusiastic players, eventually adapting
the setting for a game of his own. He and his group of players continued to adventure in Drdnah long
after I had abandoned it to pursue other professional interests. Scott continued to develop the setting,
adding amazing amounts of content. When he asked me if he could pursue trying to publish the setting as
an RPG, I gave him my blessing. I knew that Drdnah could not have a better champion.
What you hold in your hands is the fruits of that decision. One of the best Ive ever made, as a matter
of fact. We hope you enjoy exploring SHARD. Weve certainly had a hell of a good time getting it to you.
-Aaron de Orive, March, 2008

Basic Compendium
3
Extra Time ............................. 39
Table of Contents Rushing an Action .................. 39
Other Modifiers ....................... 39
Credits ................................................. 2 Assistance ............................. 39
Role-Playing Bonuses ............. 40
Foreword ........................................... 3
What is Drdnah? .................... 7 Travel ............................................. 41
Campaign Types ........................ 41
BOOK ONE

I. Introduction to Serving a Lord ........................... 41


Free Traders and Corsairs ...... 41
Drdnah ...................................... 8 Secret Societies ......................... 41
The Journey Chant ................... 11 War Has Come .......................... 42
Thieves and Assassins ............... 42
The History of the Jnah .... 12 Peasants to Heroes .................... 42
The Wandering ........................ 12 Explorers of the Past ............... 42
The Age of Splendor ............... 13 Outcast Travelers ..................... 42
The Thousand Years Survivors of Destruction ......... 42
of Darkness .......................... 13
The Time of Enlightenment ... 14 Being a Gamemaster ................ 43
The Heroic Age ......................... 14
The Twilight Wars ................. 15 III. Character Creation ........ 44
The Age of the Jnah ......... 24
The Present ........................... 26 Overview ..................................... 45
Drdnah at a Glance ............ 26 Power Level ................................. 45
The Jnah .................................. 28 Low Power Level ....................... 46
Social Hierarchy ....................... 29 Talented Power Level ............... 46
House Structure ..................... 29 Heroic Power Level .................. 46
Legendary Power Level ............ 46
II. The Basics ............................. 30 Mixed Power Level ................... 46
Attributes .................................... 31 Maximum Attribute
Animal Abilities ....................... 31 Ranking .............................. 46
Characteristics ......................... 31 Base Character Points ............ 46
Talents ....................................... 31 Maximum Drawback Points ... 47
Skills ......................................... 31 Step 1: Character Concept ..... 47
Advantages ............................... 31
Drawbacks ................................ 31 Step 2: Pick Your
Animal Template ............... 47
The Dice ....................................... 32
Action Dice ............................... 32 Step 3: Rank Your
Dice Rolls .................................. 32 Characteristics and
Opposed Rolls ....................... 32
Rolling Sixes (Optional Rule) ... 33 Animal Abilities ................. 48
Failing Actions ....................... 33
Fumble (Optional Rule) ......... 33 Step 4: Choose Your Talents,
Successive Attempts ................ 33 Profession, and Skills ........ 48
Modifiers .................................. 34
Difficulty Modifiers ............... 34 Step 5: Determine Your
Bonus Modifiers .................... 34 Advantages and
Levels of Success ........................ 35 Drawbacks ............................ 48
Special Rolls .............................. 36
0 Default Roll ......................... 36 Step 6: Create Your
Unskilled Roll ....................... 36
Crippled Penalty Roll ............ 37 Backstory .............................. 48
Characteristic Roll ................. 37
Story Points ................................ 49
Time Measurement ................. 38
Skill Performance Time .......... 38 Animal Templates .................... 49
Multiple Actions .................... 38 Paksin ....................................... 52

4
Sarpah ...................................... 65 IV. Combat .................................... 210
Vajrah ....................................... 78
What Makes SHARD
Characteristics .......................... 99 Combat Different? ........... 211
Strength ................................... 99
Vigor ....................................... 100 Some Basic Terms ................... 211
Agility ..................................... 100 The Combat Round ............... 212
Dexterity ................................ 100 Step 1: Determine Individual
Essence ................................... 100 Initiative ........................... 212
Perception .............................. 100 Step 2: Determine Number
Wit .......................................... 100 of Combat Actions ........... 212
Will ......................................... 100 Step 3: Play the Combat
Presence ................................. 100 Round ............................... 213
Animal Abilities ..................... 101 Combat Basics ......................... 214
Raising Animal Abilities ...... 103 Fumbles During Combat
Animal Ability (Optional Rule) ................ 215
Descriptions ..................... 103 Rolling Sixes (Optional
Rule) .................................. 215
Talents ........................................ 111
Talent Descriptions ............... 112 The Maneuver Location
Table (Martial Arts) .......... 217
Professions ................................ 116
Caste ........................................ 116 Maneuver Location Effects ... 217
Profession Templates ............ 117 The Three Types of
Outcaste Professions ............. 118 Combat in SHARD .......... 218
Low Caste Professions ........... 120
Trade Caste Professions ........ 124 Skills in Combat ...................... 220
High Caste Professions .......... 134 Enhancement Skills .............. 220
Holy Caste Professions .......... 142 Miscellaneous Skill Use ......... 221
Skills ............................................ 147 Movement ................................ 221
General Skills & General Movement ............... 221
Specialization ................... 147 Movement Abilities .............. 222
Raising Skills In-Game .......... 147 Other Combat Factors .......... 222
Learning New Skills Surprise Attacks .................... 222
In-Game ............................ 148 Blind Fighting ....................... 223
Basic Starting Skills ............... 148 The Effect of Talents .............. 223
Creating New Skills ............... 150 Range Modifiers .................... 223
Referencing the Skill List ..... 150
Skill Descriptions .................. 150 Defense ...................................... 224
Evade Skill .............................. 224
Advantages ............................... 184 Primary Combat Ability ...... 224
Adding or Losing
Advantages ....................... 184 Taking Damage ....................... 224
Advantage Descriptions ....... 185 Determining Combat
Damage ............................. 224
Drawbacks ................................ 191 Deadly Combat Damage
How Drawbacks Work ......... 191 (Optional Rule)................ 225
What Qualifies as a Simplified Combat Damage
Drawback? ........................ 192 (Optional Rule) ................ 225
Adjusting or Losing Armor Benefits ...................... 225
Drawbacks ........................ 193 Generic Damage Types ........ 226
Drawback Descriptions ........ 193 As Stamina Begins to Drop ... 227
Creating Your Backstory ... 205 Stamina Loss at Zero
or Below ............................ 227
Filling Out the Damage Summary ................. 227
Character Sheet ................. 207

Basic Compendium
5
Armor Types ............................ 228 Sirhibasi in Society ................ 264
Weapons of Drdnah .......... 230 Basic Mystic Concepts ........... 264
Weapon Types ........................ 230 The Duhma .......................... 265
Weapon Ratings ..................... 230 Prna ....................................... 265
Weapon Descriptions ............ 231 The Dream .............................. 265
Other Types of Damage ........ 238 The Web of Life ....................... 266
BOOK ONE

Falling Damage ...................... 238 The Great Cycle ...................... 267


Burn Damage (fire, Demons, Spirits, and
heat, or acid) ...................... 239 Elementals ........................ 267
Lightning Damage ................. 239 Affecting the Real World .... 269
Poison Damage ...................... 240 The Four Types of
Deprivation Damage ............. 240 Ritual Magic ........................ 269
Explosive Damage .................. 242 Healing ................................... 269
Exposure Damage .................. 243 Dreamwalking ....................... 273
Illness Damage (Physical Endowment ............................ 277
and Mental) ....................... 244
Summoning ........................... 281
Recovering Lost Stamina
and Characteristics ........... 244 VI. Bestiary ................................... 290
Simplified and Mass VII. Drdnah Glossary ....... 310
Combat ................................. 245
Ship-to-Ship Combat VIII. Appendices ...................... 320
(Skyships and Water A Drdni Pronunciation
Vessels) .................................. 245 Guide ...................................... 321
Types of Ships .......................... 246 Jenu-based Dialects ................ 321
Engaging the Enemy .............. 247 A Quick Combat
Summary Sheet ................... 322
V. Ritual Magic ............................ 252
Being a Sirhibas ...................... 253 Using the NPC Combat
Tracking Sheet ..................... 325
The Basics of Magic ................ 253
Magic Rituals .......................... 253 Special Abilities for
Roleplaying Magic ................. 253 Characters ............................. 325
Performing a Ritual ............... 254 Creating New Animal
Step 1: Preparing the Ritual ... 254 Templates .............................. 326
Step 2: Initiating the Ritual ... 254
Step 3: Controlling Map of Drdnah .................... 331
the Magic ........................... 254
Step 4: Concluding
the Ritual ........................... 257 Index ................................................. 332
Imagination Is Key ................. 258
Magical Combat ..................... 258 Blank Item List ....................................... 346
An Example of Combat Blank Character Sheet .............................. 347
Within the Dream ............ 262

6
What is Drdnah? Eastern stories feature anthropomorphic animals, so
naturally they became the obvious choice to inhabit a
The SHARD RPG introduces the world of Drdnah fantasy world inspired by such stories. Add to this an
(pronounced DAHR-doo-nah), an exciting new realm alien, other-dimensional planet, complete with its own
of heroic fantasy and adventure. You wont find the unique flora and fauna, and itll become apparent soon
standard fantasy fare in these pages; there are no elves, after your first visit that youre definitely not in Kansas
trolls, dwarves, knights, or even dragons. The world is anymore.
rather different from typical European fantasy settings. Of course, there is also magic. On Drdnah, magic
Drdnahs time period is not strictly medieval, and the is powerful yet subtle, and always cinematic and moody.
setting draws its flavor from Eastern rather than Western Rather than imagining pyrotechnic wand-wagging wizards
cultures. Further, it is not set on an alternate version of who memorize the contents of spell books, visualize
Earth. In fact, there are no humans on Drdnah. instead the somber atmosphere of elaborate rituals
The tone of the setting can best be described as Asian performed in darkened crystal chambers. Chanting,
heroic fantasy with a strong cloak-and-dagger influence, drumming, rhythmic music, tattooing, and graceful
all set on an alien world. Using films and novels as a dancing are all elements of Drdni magic. Sorcerers
reference, if you mixed the adventure and romance work their craft on a mystical dream plane, where they
elements of The Three Musketeers, the Byzantine political are the absolute masters of their environment. Magic
intrigue of Dune, the martial arts combat of Crouching and religion play a very important role in the cultures of
Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the sets and costumes of any version Drdnah and touch all aspects of life in some way.
of Tales of the Arabian Nights, and the world visuals of The It is our hope that you enjoy adventuring in the
Dark Crystal, you would get a pretty good idea of what world of the SHARD RPG. You will brave glowing clouds
its all about. aboard magnificent skyships threatened by destructive
The Shard RPG features anthropomorphic animals storms and the ruthless Crystal Corsairs. You will defend
(which we have chosen to call Zoics) as the character your lineage and honor against spies and slavers. You will
races. Human-like animals have always been popular face deadly assassins and duel with honor guards in the
in myth and legend. We seem drawn to them, and for Spiral Arena. You will Dreamwalk with eerie sorcerers
good reason. They are visually striking, culturally iconic, and battle alien demons. And all the while, the Devah,
and incredibly diverse. Further, they offer a wonderful the ancient Drdni gods, will look down from the Edge
opportunity for role-playing. Many Asian and Middle- of Heaven and judge your actions, so make them count!

Basic Compendium
7
I. Introduction to Drdnah

Dwarfed by a yellowing planet, the zoological ship Naga Sena was a bone-white speck in high orbit. Like
a spider on a strand it moved patiently, not heavy enough to be swift, too bulbous for a rapid course change.
The research vessel was built from a standard inter-orbital freighter, unremarkable but for one external engine
that looked bulky and outlandish. The engine had never been fired.
Out of the planets burnt clouds rose a pattern of flickers: cutter ships, perhaps a dozen, punching through
the upper atmosphere. Each was smaller than the scientific vessel, but infinitely faster and fitted for combat.
On the Naga Senas bridge, Krishna Marati watched them on the central hologram. He clicked open the
intercom. Theyve launched. We have to decide.

Inside the freighters enormous research pod, a membrane of transparent polymer separated Kramah from
the beast. They stood close, their faces less than a foot apart. If the membrane could be torn, thought Kramah,
one quick bite would shear flesh from skull. But the polymer was impenetrable. The animal enclosure was
secure. They could touch at no point, except one: Their eyes met.
He felt a challenge from the creature. They were kindred, two apex predators. Yet he sensed more, had
sensed it as soon as the treatments began. The beast had thoughts, complex and probing, that danced behind
its eyes like wind behind a tree. It was a female, this one. Furtive, inquisitive. And why did she seem so
nervous?
Kramah flicked his tail anxiously. Human was the name he had given these bony creatures who kept him
here. He could feed on them, if he were outside the membrane. Yet he would not. They might, instead, strike

8
a common language. He would seek answers. resources. Surrender your vessel. We are authorized
After a pause, he asked what troubled her. His to use warheads if risk of decontainment is
warm breath gathered on the membrane. imminent.
They wont take a kill shot until we redline
their energy scanners. Theyll hide behind protocol.
Chun Yin flinched at the growls from the lion. Theyre afraid. They knew as well as she that a
The deep, inhuman sounds repulsed her at a primal

Chapter I: Introduction
direct nuclear hit on an experimental FTL engine
level, and yet they were unmistakably words. She might generate a radioactive belt that could rain on
blinked with wonder. Maratis genetic treatments the planet for decades. Yins new hyperdrive posed
had been a success. Humanlike language and no such threat, but she did not intend to show them
sapience conferred to nonhuman species. An entirely

to Drdnah
the math. She hoped the bluff held.
new metaphysic.
One of the drones broke formation and drew
Its name was Kramah, this massive creature within miles of the Naga Sena. The display cascaded
behind the polymer window. She could not know its with warnings an instant before the missile exploded.
thunderous language, but its eyes touched hers, lit by The shockwave hammered the ship. Marati called
thoughtful curiosity. Through a nearby membrane out, EMP shield intact. How many near-hits can
watched a rust-colored fox that Marati had named it take?
Krilrah. Yin recognized a similar awareness in
the vixens gaze. These two were the first animals Just one more will give us enough time! said
to be treated, Maratis favorites, but the research Yin, praying she was right.
pod comprised thousands of such enclosures, each a
customized environment for dozens of species. Each Kramah knelt, to brace against the shaking
the birthplace of new thoughts, new intelligence. ground. A terrible groan erupted from the walls and
Perhaps uplifted souls? the air. Now he understood why the human was
Corporate Security ships are coming, Yin, nervous -- she foresaw this rising cataclysm. Did she
Marati repeated over the intercom. Do we fire the have any power against it? Did she have the courage
engine? to fight it? His mighty claws raked the ground. He
She nodded at the lion in the enclosure. The called out with his loudest roar, beseeching her to
being tilted its great head, trying to understand. act.
Start it, said Yin to her husband.
The bridge erupted with light when the
She met him on the bridge, standing by the hyperdrive engaged. Chun Yin and Krishna Marati
tactical hologram. Cutters, she murmured. They clasped hands and held them close. They could do
have a viral lock on us. little more as the engine threw open the veil between
universes, and the ship flung into a crystalline void
We can still surrender. The Corporate like a streak of light entering a prism piercing the
Judiciary wont execute us. dark; plucked apart; made pure. Their last sound
Kramah spoke to me. She took his arm. We was a wordless gasp, before their bodies lost focus
cant let them die. We need to escape. and meaning.
Thank you. A red signal flashed on the
tactical readout. A hundred pinpoint lights began The enclosure shattered around Kramah, or
to circle the ship. Marati clenched a fist. Nuclear perhaps it was Kramah who shattered. He spread
drones. We started too late. The initiation sequence his legs to steady himself but the air was different
wont finish. now, distorted, and his limbs looked like images on a
Yin brought up a holographic interface and rippled pond. There was nowhere to stand, nothing
streaked through its displays. Outside the ship, the to cling to. He curled upon himself and breathed,
experimental engine gleamed and shuddered and simply breathed, while the world became a cascade
struck to life. The bridge roared and quaked. Now of hard crystals; he was tumbled, reflected, cast from
it will. facet to facet and shone through arcane strata, until
Corporate Security to research orbiter Naga like a beam of sunlight he fell upon the ground.
Sena, clamored a voice from the lead warship. He panted. Dust leapt from the dry earth,
You are accused of misappropriation of company stinging his eyes. Through tears he saw a landscape

9
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
unlike anything his enclosure had simulated. Here were she showed no fear of him. Instead she looked mystified.
trees of impossible height, aglitter with insects like jewels; Helpless.
waves of grass with blades of a thousand colors; giant Other animals woke in the distance and stood for
spears of crystal thrust from the rolling earth; twin suns the first time on two legs.
setting high clouds ablaze. The warm wind tasted raw
and exotic. Kramah looked at his own body and saw the figure
of a human male, but larger and stronger, clawed and
Movement nearby caught his predators eyes. A furred. He had his own tail and his own head and mane.
BOOK ONE

creature stirred in the grass. It was the being from the And his own thoughts. There was no sign of the two
adjacent cage, the russet-coated fox with a watchful humans now; the animals must care for themselves.
face. But it was different now, larger; and as it stood he But he would not hunt his fellows. He would strike a
recognized its new shape as that of the human female. common language. He would seek answers.
She swayed upon two long legs, clung to herself with thin
arms, lustrous fur nudged by the breeze. Her large eyes Gently he reached his new hand toward the fox
met his. No polymer membranes separated them, yet and spoke.

10
The Journey Chant Upon Drdnah They place Their children,
Drdnah is hid from the Devourer,
Now it has gods, song and children.
Darkness begins and Darkness ends, Weep and Rejoice.
Light is the Purifier, the Great Flowing Sea,
The Breath of the Gods. **********
Shine Forth. Great Father and Mother dance in Heaven,

Chapter I: Introduction
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Drdnah, the World, is without gods, The children touch Drdnah,
It is without children, tears or song. It gives them stance.
No one weeps for its dust. Feel and Rejoice.
Silence.

to Drdnah
Great Father and Mothers forms are many,
Mahitytah, the Great Father, comes, Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Mahimbah, the Great Mother, comes, Great Mother pours the Water of Heaven,
Riding their fiery chariot, rejoice. The children have many forms.
Sing Aloud. Look and Rejoice.
The Edge of Heaven splits open, The Water of Heaven is without form,
The Providers and Protectors come, Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
They bring Their children. Great Father has many forms,
Rejoice Aloud. The children have many forms.
See and Sing.
Darkness They escape, rejoice,
The Great Devourer They elude, Water of Heaven flows from the Sea Saln,
It consumes the Universe. Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Mourn. The children receive the Water,
The children are the Jnah, shaped by Saln.
The Devourer is the End, Rejoice.
The End for all things,
It consumes Light, Love, Song. The Jnah touch Drdnah, it is far,
Silence. Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
They see Great Father and Mother,
Mahimbah, Great Mother, sings, They have no song, no words.
The Path of Dreams She takes, Silence.
She gives Drdnah love and children.
Weep. They cannot dance, cannot sing,
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Mahitytah, Great Father, dances, They cannot give Song to the Gods,
He shapes Light and Warmth, Tears are their only song, only love.
He sets the twin crystals in Heaven. Weep.
Look and Rejoice.
Mahimbah weeps, Drdnah is silent,
The greater crystal is Lokyn, Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
It shines bright and warm upon children, She sings the Jnah to sleep,
Lokyn is the second light of Drdnah. No love, no song, no words.
See and Sing. Silence.
The lesser crystal is Ed, She rides the Dreams, Drdnah is silent,
It shines softly upon children, Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Ed is the first light of Drdnah. She takes the Flute from Heaven,
See and Sing. She takes the Music of Heaven.
Weep.
Light purifies and prepares the way,
For the children of Great Father, Mahitytah, is angered, Heaven is silent,
For the children of Great Mother. Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far,
Look. The Flute of Heaven is gone,
The Music of Heaven is gone.
Listen.

Basic Compendium
11
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
Great Mother hides the Flute,
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, The History of the Jnah
In the bodies of the Jnah, awake, I am Buvrah, Master Historian at the Academy
Music is theirs, they have song. of Nilm in Hanlu. At the request of my esteemed
Listen and Rejoice. colleague Atj of the Line of Sthyaram, and for
the glory of our isvar, His August Majesty Pntama
She teaches them the Song of Heaven, the Sixteenth, I have endeavored to write a treatise
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, concerning the history of our people, the jnah. So it
BOOK ONE

The music of Life, Drdnah sings, is on this twenty-fifth day of Nandthu, at the height
Jnah sing to Heaven, listen. of the Kramahn Games, in the one thousandth and
Sing and Rejoice. seventh cycle after the Wars of Twilight, that I put pen
to parchment to record these words.
Great Father hears the music, I find this a most worthy endeavor, for history
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, provides us with a tapestry of wisdom. Woven in
Drdnah sings to Heaven, listen, its threads, we find both victories and failures. By
Great Father dances to the Music. studying these events, we gain insights that allow us to
Sing and Rejoice. weave a brighter future. It is my most fervent wish that
other disciples of the Scholars Way can unravel this
Drdnah awakens, it sings, tapestry and find the deeper understanding that will
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, strengthen and empower many future generations.
The Voice of Drdnah is the Jnah, So, with great humility, I present to you now the Six
The Jnah are Drdnahs song, listen. Great Ages of the Jnah.
Sing.
The Wandering
Great Father weeps Fire on Drdnah,
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, Much of our early history must be gleaned from
He dances to the Music, the pages of the Partakm, the holiest text of the
He gives the Jnah Fire. Mahist faith. There are some scholars who claim that
Look and Rejoice. most of what is contained therein falls into the realm
of myth. I happen to be of the opinion that history is
Great Father shapes the crystals, simply myth that scholars have all agreed to believe.
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, There is a great deal of wisdom in the revered pages of
He teaches the Jnah Craft, the Partakm, and I urge all serious students of history
He gives them Fire and Craft. to carefully study its pages, for reason and faith are
See and Rejoice. brothers, not foes.
The Partakms Journey Chant tells of the flight
The Jnah craft, they create as the gods, of the Great Father and Mother from the Devourer,
Heaven is Light, Drdnah is far, known as the Darkness Without End. It tells of
To Great Father and Great Mother they sing, Their escape along the Path of Dreams in Their fiery
They have words, song, fire, craft, love. chariot, and reveals how They tore asunder the Veils
Sing and Amen. of Heaven in search of a sanctuary for Their children,
the firstborn and ageless Devah, and the mortal jnah.
Arriving beyond the Edge of Heaven, the Great Father
set the twin crystal suns in the sky, revealing the world
of Drdnah, the Dust No One Weeps For. Upon its

12
face They placed Their children. Kirh. Stories of Hrpas insatiable hunger, and
The Great Father and Mother performed many Muhjbhs amusing pranks are favorites in the coastal
miracles for Their children. They gave Their children and central regions. Kramahs clumsy attempts to bed
many forms to hide them from the Devourer, and the sensuous Sianthe are incredibly popular in the
to give them mastery over the various regions of north. There are dozens of such tales and every region
Drdnah: to the furred Vajrah, mastery of the of Drdnah has its own unique and often amusing
earth; to the winged Paksin, mastery of the air; variations.

Chapter I: Introduction
and to the scaled Sarpah, mastery over the waters.
They also gave them tears, laughter, voice, song, fire, The Thousand Years of
and craft. And when finally They were done, They Darkness
rejoiced for Their children and returned to the Edge
It came to pass that in the midst of this splendor,

to Drdnah
of Heaven to sleep.
Amasrah eventually grew jealous of the other
During this time, the Devah and the jnah Devahs power and influence. She used her cunning
wandered upon their new world like children, to unlock the mysteries of the dark void of Narkah,
filling themselves with the understanding of their the Swirling Hells. This foul realm was the home of
new home. They learned to thrive upon the bounty demons, hideous shape-changing monsters whose
that Drdnah offered. For many countless years existence was dedicated to chaos and destruction.
they wandered thus, the ageless Devah guiding the
jnah across innumerable lands of endless variety. Amasrah found ways to bind these demons
Many generations of jnah lived and died beneath and used their essence to grant herself vast powers.
the light of the two suns, under the beauty of the She gathered together Sarpah followers who she
three moons. had seduced with her lies, and taught them how to
use this fell craft. They became the first summoner
sirhibasi. Armed with her disciples and her demons,
The Age of Splendor Amasrah waged a terrible war against the other
The Partakm goes on to say that finally rested Devah for control of Drdnah. Thus began the
from Their tasks, the Great Father and Mother awoke Thousand Years of Darkness.
and spoke once again to Their beloved children. The Krilrah knew that Amasrah had used the power
holy text tells of the rise of cities as the will of the of Narkah to increase her strength, so she beseeched
Great Father and Mother began to be felt again. It the Great Mother for aid, who took Krilrah into the
describes the earliest civilization, the great city of Path of Dreams. This dreamworld granted Krilrah
Jangaram, the City of the People, where the Devah amazing gifts of prophecy and warding that allowed
were said to rule. her to successfully combat Amasrahs demons.
According to the Partakm, the Great Father Krilrah passed this knowledge on to her own pupils,
and Mother knew that Their children would need thus giving birth to the dreamwalking sirhibasi.
guidance. Thus, They appointed Their Firstborn The great War of the Devah continued for a
Children, the Devah, as protectors and guides for the millennium, and all the wonders that had come
rest of the jnah. The Devah became the benevolent before were undone in the terrible tumult. Neither
rulers of the jnah and taught them many things, side seemed capable of defeating the other. Shining
including farming, crystal craft, mathematics, an Jangaram crumbled into dust. Many generations
alphabet, architecture, and many other wonders. This passed under the dark cloud of war, and terrible rifts
Age of Splendor was said to last for a thousand years. were formed between the various races of the jnah.
In those days, the Devah, like the Great Father The Sarpah who allied with Amasrah retreated
and Mother, could take many forms. But as their time into the steamy northern lands beyond tall and angry
on Drdnah stretched into centuries, they settled on mountains. The Paksin remained in the jungles and
jenu they found most pleasing: Kramah, the lord of deserts of the southwest. And the Vajrah withdrew
war, a mighty lion; Krilrah, goddess of prophecy, a into the temperate southeastern regions. The Devah
lovely fox; Sianthe, goddess of rivers, a sleek water had also grown to distrust one another, as each felt
snake; Kirh, master of the sky, a noble falcon; they should decide the fate of the world.
Hrpa, god of the seas, a stout walrus; Muhjbh, god
of luck, an agile monkey; and Amasrah, goddess of The Great Father and Mother, seeing Their
the night, a deadly cobra. children so divided, understood that the jnah could
never find lasting peace as long as they were the pawns
A variety of popular folktales originate from this of the precocious and undying Devah. And so the Great
period. Tales of Kramahs jealousy over Krilrahs Father and Mother commanded the Devah to return to
many amorous adventures are common in the east, the Edge of Heaven where they would remain forever,
whereas the west fancies the fables portraying Kramah to watch over and guide the jnah out of the darkness
as a dimwitted brute, easily duped by the clever god into which their terrible war had plunged them.

Basic Compendium
13
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
Of Amasrah and her followers little else is told, Sorcerer Princes of Visedhrah. But as the might of
for the Great Father and Mother, in anger over the these various nations grew, so too did their ambition.
abominations she had unleashed upon the world, Conflicts began to erupt as the desire for territorial
hurled Amasrah and her servants into the Swirling expansion prompted the mighty Sarpah amns of the
Hells of Narkah. There in the void, Amasrah and north to begin sweeping southeastward toward the
her disciples became demons themselves. The issue of smaller Vajrah nations. In time, the sorcerer princes
her sinister arts, the terrors she had summoned from of Visedhrah began to envision themselves as the
the abyss, fled into the shadowy places of the world. rightful rulers of Drdnah.
BOOK ONE

They are said to dwell there still, awaiting the return of


their terrible mistress. The Heroic Age
On the matter of divine wars, I can speak with No other period has been written about as
no authority. That the Devah no longer walk amongst extensively and as fancifully as the Age of Heroes.
us is clear, and the fact that sirhibasi can call forth Indeed, I consulted many great works of respected
demons from Narkah can also not be questioned. It scholars, such as the venerable Visedi sage Selnth
seems reasonable to assume that long ago some terrible the Elder, the noted Amnoli scholar Habidha the
event took place that introduced these horrors into the Wise, and of course the works of our own Atj of
world, and until I am presented with evidence to the Nilm. This turbulent and glorious period in our
contrary, I am inclined to believe that the Partakm history should serve as a lesson to all the jnah of the
reveals as close to the truth as will ever be found. terrible price of unbridled ambition, and the great
value of self-sacrifice and hope. All people, Vajrah,
The Time of Enlightenment Paksin, and Sarpah alike, carry within their hearts the
So it was with the War of the Devah ended, and seeds of either great or fell deeds. Wisdom must be
the healing of the world well under way, the Great our guide, and that is the goal of this narrative.
Wisdom gained by the Devah served to bring about It is known that for many ages, the northern
a shining Time of Enlightenment. Although the Sarpah of Visedhrah had been honing their skills as
Devah no longer walked among the people, their renowned sirhibasi. They had formed the Loregather,
spirits communicated with them through the Path a council of mystics dedicated to the study of the arts
of Dreams. The sirhibasi now played an even more of ritual magic. During the Time of Enlightenment,
important role, as they served as a conduit to the it was said that these arts had been freely shared, but
Devahs will. It was with this guidance that the jnah as tensions arose between the great realms, the leaders
began to rebuild their shattered cities and to reunite of the Loregather withdrew into their own council.
their broken people. From their midst rose those who craved power over
This was a new age of discoveries and marvelous wisdom. These sorcerer princes became the driving
innovations. With the help of the Devah, many new force behind a misguided vision of Visedhran world
disciplines were developed. The arts of architecture
and mathematics flourished once again. Glorious
temples were erected in honor of the Devah. Sky
crystals were discovered that could raise ships aloft
into the upper airs. The revolutionary invention
of combustible black powder led to the miracles
of fireworks, guns, and cannons. And finally, the
wonders of the healing and medicinal arts came
into full bloom.
An age of peace lay across Drdnah as the
people of the world prospered and multiplied.
Mighty nations grew from the ashes of the ancient
conflict, and the fruits of the jnahs labors were
plentiful and wondrous. Great centers of learning
were built, and countless generations shared in the
knowledge of many cultures. The new methods of
air travel spread the wealth of nations across the
width and breadth of the known world.
It was during these years that many great
dynasties rose to prominence: the noble Gajah
of Hthiyar, the proud Rkbarani Aminars, the
Merchant Isvars of Tishnia, the Mahndak
Dynasty of Ktta, the Jausr of Amnol, and the

14
domination. Among these, the most infamous and stemming the deadly invasion was an alliance with the
terrible of all was Adhitmuss, a Sarpah known as the Vajrah of the southeast. At first the possibility of an
Isvar of Suffering, the legendary sorcerer said to have alliance seemed remote, as old prejudices against the
mastered the foul art of demonology. Vajrah were firmly rooted in the minds of the Paksin
At this time, Visedhrah was already a powerful nobility. The wingless Vajrah had never formed a
nation, ruling over a large section of the northeast. Led powerful amn, nor had they ever raised vast armies,
by the sorcerer princes, the vast Visedi armies began or built mighty fleets of skyships. They squabbled

Chapter I: Introduction
to push southward through the jungles of Ullsh. The amongst themselves in petty disputes over the borders
Aminar of the Jade Throne, Kahlsu XIII, who would of their relatively small isvarates. The Paksin viewed
come to be known as Kahlsu the Mad, respected the them as backward and simple. That was until an offer
strength of the Paksin amns of Rkbar and Amnol, of help came from a little known Vajrah people who

to Drdnah
but had little regard for the Vajrah people of the had once lived on the eastern coast of Hthiyar in a
southeast, whose domains were smaller and divided. city called Klin.
And so it was, hidden from the sight of the Amnoli
and Rkbarani alike, that the Visedhran forces swept The Scattering of the Klin
over the Gajah realm of Hthiyar, led by Adhitmuss Long ago, the old and magnificent city of Klin
himself, Kahlsus chief general. This act would mark nestled within the forests of the eastern tropical coast.
the beginning of the Wars of Twilight. The city was a marvel to behold, for the people of
Klin, unlike all other Vajrah, possessed leather wings
The Twilight Wars and could fly like the Paksin. Their great city reflected
The rulers of Hthiyar, the tusked Gajah Dynasty, this unique trait and was built both beneath the
were then as they are today, a proud people of mighty earth and suspended above the towering trees. It was
stature and great strength. But nothing could have considered the most beautiful in all of Drdnah.
prepared them for the power of the sorcerer princes. The people of Klin were renowned architects who
A host of unspeakable horrors descended upon their wove the magic of the Dream into their works. Tales
lands and citizens, and in their wake came vast armies. from the Time of Enlightenment tell how Krilrah
Cities large and small fell to the invaders, and many had gifted their leaders with many arcane secrets. In
survivors were forced southward to seek refuge in their writings, these blessings became the legacy of the
Ktta. In the span of a single decade, all of Hthiyar people of Klin, and many of the marvelous eastern
had been conquered, and the Gajah had been utterly temples and palaces of the ancient world are credited
defeated and enslaved. to their efforts and craft.
Word of the conquest of Hthiyar spread across When the armies of Visedhrah fell upon
the seas. Those lucky few who had escaped into Ktta Hthiyar, the people of Klin, who were the furthest
sought to warn other southern nations of the terrible east of all Vajrah nations, had time to prepare their
threat from the north. But long before word ever escape. Many had fled by the time the Visedi troops
reached the far away nations of Amnol and Rkbar, surrounded their city. The Sarpah soldiers discovered
the foundations of mighty and impenetrable fortresses they could not enter the enchanted realm. When
were being laid by the Gajah slaves under the direction the Klin who remained refused to surrender, the
of the sorcerer princes. These fortresses were designed Visedi bombarded their beautiful spires, but to their
to house and train thousands of soldiers who could dismay discovered that the delicate structures held
strike far into the coveted realms of the south. They firm against their cannons. The Visedi called for aid
were erected with the aid of sorcery and said to be from their lord and general, Adhitmuss. The Klin
protected by demons. Foremost among these demon elders knew that their beloved city was lost, and so
fortresses, ruled over by Adhitmuss himself, was a their sirhibasi made one last effort to hold back the
vile construct that came to be called Jirangarrm, terrible demon ships that would soon come bearing
the Rotting City. death.
It was from this cursed place, many decades later, A great storm blew in from the east across the
that the doom of Amnol came. The ancient city of ocean of Dharshn, tearing at the encampments of
Hadrah, once the seat of power in old Amnol, fell the invaders and delaying the passage of the demon
swiftly to the armies of Adhitmuss. The shattered ships just long enough for the rest of the Klin to
Amnoli forces retreated across the sea to the deserts escape. Only those few Klin who stayed to maintain
of the south. No city could resist the Isvar of Suffering the unnatural storm were lost, for when the dread
and his demon ships from terrible Jirangarrm. ships of Adhitmuss arrived, they set flame to the
Within the span of a few years, all of northern Amnol great forest and burnt the city of Klin to the ground.
and Rkbar had been conquered by Adhitmuss. It would be nearly two hundred years before anything
Only then, with so much already lost, did the would grow upon that once fertile delta, which came
Paksin rulers come to realize that their only hope of to be known as Nanduri, the Place of Ashes.

Basic Compendium
15
BOOK ONE Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah

The Klin refugees that fled southward into Ktta Ishpria had long been a nation of civil unrest.
warned the Mahndak Dynasty of the threat that had Warlords fought for dominion over the shadowed
risen in the north. The flood of Gajah refugees into mountain valleys, and bloodshed was commonplace.
their capital city convinced the Mahndak lords that No isvar remained on the throne of Ratnm for very
it was time to act. They chose to transplant the seat of long. In such an atmosphere, the Klin had little
their power to the newly fortified city of Sravatmr hope of rallying together support for their cause.
further north. There the Mahndaik gathered their The warlords ignored their warnings, even when
armies, and with the aid of Klin architects prepared a Tishnian refugees began to cross the borders of
defense against the coming dark tide. Ishpria, fleeing the invading Visedi armies. The
Meanwhile, the Klin sought to unite the remaining isvar, himself once a warlord, was far more interested
Vajrah realms against the common foe. Many settled in securing the Klins help against his many rivals.
among the jnah of the mighty forests of southern For their part, the Klin had little desire to make their
Ktta, and chose to share their arts with their allies. new home in a land of such unrest, but they feared
Other Klin traveled southwest beyond the Kantara moving northward, closer to the Visedi invaders. So
Mountains into the island nation of Dar-Purm, it was that they decided to settle for a while and wait
which like all of the southern isvarates was ruled by for a sign from the Devah.
furred Vajrah lords. But unlike most of these lands,
Dar-Purm had long ago attracted a large number of Udtis Heart
winged Paksin settlers. When the Klin arrived, they Among the Tishnian refugees who had fled
discovered that the Paksin and Vajrah lived together into Ishpria was a weary traveler who sought out
as equals. The Dar-Purmi were already aware of the the Klin elders. His name was Udti, and from his
trouble that stirred in the far northwest, but were not arms hung tattered, useless leather wings. The Klin
concerned. What use could far-away Visedhrah have elders were stunned to recognize one of their own.
for a small island nation such as theirs? Udti was one of the Klin sirhibasi who had remained
The lords of Dar-Purm believed that the Visedi in their doomed city to call forth the great storm.
sought only the lands and slaves of Hthiyar, to build Udti described how he and his comrades had been
what armies they needed to conquer the Paksin amns. enslaved by Adhitmuss. They were each sent away
After all, the Sarpah had ceased pushing southward to far shores to lend their formidable talents as mystic
once Hthiyar had fallen. The Dar-Purmi lords felt architects to the building of the demon fortresses that
it would be unwise to anger the Visedhrans. Better now threatened the freedom of the world.
to let the northern realms work out their own affairs, Udti described how his wings were shredded
as they had always done. The Klin were vexed by Dar- to prevent his escape, and how he was shackled and
Purms response, and were insulted further still by taken by skyship to oversee the laying of the first
the demand of their isvar that they leave his land. The stones of horrid Jirangarrm. It was due in part to
Klin were given passage across the gulf to the lands his arts, and the skills of the other Klin captives, that
of Ishpria, where they hoped they might find wiser these demon fortresses were near impregnable. It was
leaders. only when Adhitmuss attention had been drawn

16
away toward his greater goal of conquest that Udti which was preparing for a siege. It was here their elders
found a chance to escape. met with the aminar Daksikhr, an aged peacock
Within the hidden passages of the fortress he whose Line had ruled Amnol for centuries. The Klin
had helped design, Udti had carefully planned his also traveled into Rkbar, across the tropical forests
own path to freedom. During the many years of his to the city of Varalu, where the Rkbarani aminar
enslavement, he had also managed to witness the Gurdrah and the royal family had taken refuge.
terrible rites that Adhitmuss had used to gain power. To these great aminars they explained how

Chapter I: Introduction
Udti learned the magics used to grant Adhitmuss the Visedi had built their demon fortresses with
near immortality, and discovered that the Sarpah magics stolen from Klin adepts. They also spoke of
sorcerer had anchored his undying soul to the world the corruption of Adhitmuss, and of his pact with
by removing a portion of it and hiding it away in the the terrible powers of Narkah. On the matter of

to Drdnah
depths of his lair. It had been Adhitmuss himself who Adhitmuss immortality and the prophecy of Udti,
had orchestrated the plan for Visedhran expansion however, they spoke not at all, for they feared that the
over a century earlier. For hundreds of years he had rulers of Rkbar and Amnol would become angered
lived, and for countless more he planned to impose by the Klins failure to secure Udtis tablet.
his will upon the world. It was known by the Klin that during the Age
Udti showed the Klin a crimson tablet of stone of Enlightenment the Visedi Loregather had shared
upon which he had transcribed the secret rites of the their arcane knowledge with the Paksin. The Klin
Isvar of Suffering. When the Klin elders asked him to requested sanctuary within the lands of the Paksin,
share this knowledge, Udti refused. He explained that and asked to be taught these ancient rituals so that
Krilrah had spoken to him in a dream, warning him they could use those magics against their common
that the world would be greatly harmed by the misuse foe. Together, the Klin reasoned, they might be able
of such fell knowledge, but that in time the tablet to unlock the secrets that would bring down the walls
would bring about the destruction of Adhitmuss. of the vile demon fortresses. Although the leather-
Udti begged the Klin to await the Devahs holy winged Klin seemed strange to the Paksin, their
guidance. But the Klin elders were not interested in knowledge and magical skill could not be denied.
Udtis visions. They demanded he share the secrets The Paksin aminars did not wish to share the same
of the crimson tablet, for they craved the knowledge fate as the Gajah, and so granted the Klins request.
of those powerful magics. Udti requested and was In the years that followed, a terrible war of
granted a night of meditation before revealing the attrition was waged across the northern lands of what
secrets. remained of Rkbar and Amnol. The Rkbarani
In the morning, Udti and the tablet were gone, seemed to fare well compared to Amnol, who lost
never to be seen again by his own people. There are Grdahassi and the town of Nask within a year
those who say that he took a small boat out to sea and of their alliance with the Klin. Beautiful Ekapa was
hurled himself and the crimson tablet into the depths lost as well, though the Visedi armies paused there,
so that its power would never be misused. Other tales apparently deciding whether to push further south
say that he called forth a monstrous creature called toward Magambi. The Rkbarani had already lost
Cnavar from the emerald waters, which took the their capital city of Diyk and neighboring Yanti
tablet away to guard until the day that Udti or one of before the Klin came, but had been successful in
his blood returned to fulfill Krilrahs prophecy. The keeping the invading armies occupied in the dense
tablet would come to be known as Udtis Heart. jungles west of the Sea of Suvr, away from their port
city of Predvah.
The Rallying of the Paksin The Rkbarani scored a great victory, however,
The elders of the Klin were left in dismay, but at when a fleet of their skyships from Varalu flew
least now understood the true nature of their enemy northward over the Sea of Suvr and attacked one
and the source of the power used to create the demon of the demon fortresses built near the northwestern
fortresses. They decided that they should waste no Rkbarani border. In addition to the winged Paksin
more time with the isvarates of the south, and should soldiers, the ships carried Klin elders armed with a
instead deal directly with the amns of Rkbar and potent combination of their own magics and the
Amnol, who were even then being overrun by Visedi ancient sorceries of the Loregather.
armies. For the first time since their creation, the grim
The Klin chose to cross the southern reaches of defenses of the fortress weakened as emerald lightning
Tishnia, observing as they did the desperate attempt fell from the dark clouds that gathered overhead. The
of the Tishnians to push back the Visedi invaders Rkbarani ships did not fall victim to the demons that
from their northern shores. Finally, the Klin entered guarded the fortress, and eventually the outer walls
Amnol from the east near Ekapa, which had not yet crumbled. Even the cannons of the Visedi seemed to
fallen, and crossed the Sea of Vigra to Grdahassi, do little to the hulls of the Rkbarani vessels as they

Basic Compendium
17
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
circled above the now-exposed fortress, disgorging For some time now, Daksikhr had been devising
their troops to fall upon the stunned Visedhran a plan for a direct attack upon the Rotting City. The
soldiers within. Klin warned the aminar that the power of Adhitmuss
For many days the siege continued, the Visedhran should not to be underestimated, for the full extent of
forces suffering terrible losses, while in the clouds his pact with the powers of Narkah was not known.
above, dark shapes wrestled in supernatural contest. They recommended the aminar concentrate his efforts
In the end, the fortress great tower was shattered, on defending Distya instead. Infuriated by what he
and the sorcerer prince who ruled there was slain. For perceived to be cowardice, Daksikhr commanded
BOOK ONE

days afterward, on the return journey, the Klin slept, the Klin to prepare their magics. The aminar felt the
but for the Rkbarani there was cause for celebration. time for a siege was at hand, for Adhitmuss would
This victory emboldened the beleaguered troops, who be absent, attending his coronation in the far north.
until then had seen only defeat. There would be no better time to strike. Reluctantly,
the Klin elders agreed.
For a time, the northern Paksin amns,
strengthened by the magical might of the Klin, Little is known of what truly happened that
seemed capable of stemming the tide of invasion. terrible day at the siege of Jirangarrm. That it
Encouraged by the success at what became known as was a crushing defeat for the Amnoli there can be no
the Battle of the Yn Jungles, the Rkbarani nobles doubt. It is said that the Amnoli skyships were torn
pushed to regain their lost lands. Amnol also seemed apart by vast, translucent tentacles which descended
to fare better with the help of the Klin. Their armies in great number from holes torn in the sky. It was,
held a fleet of invading Visedhran vessels at bay some survivors claimed, as if the hells of Narkah had
near Distya. The Amnoli even laid plans for a siege opened before them allowing its terrible denizens to
on Jirangarrm itself, and began to slowly push consume their fleet. The aminar managed to survive
northward with the hopes of reclaiming the city of the initial attack, and attempted to rally his warriors
Ekapa. on the ground.
The survivors told further tales of the terrors
A Dark Alliance witnessed in this final battle between the soldiers of
Then, in the midst of this great conflict, word Amnol and the forces of Adhitmuss: sorcerous winds
came from the far north that the aminar Kahlsu the that stripped flesh from bone with the chilling sound
Mad, the ruler of all of Visedhrah, had died. There of laughter; chitinous horrors that leapt over the
was a brief glimmer of hope that the engines of war impregnable walls to begin cutting down the Paksin;
would grind to a halt as a result, but then terrible and most terrible of all, dead Amnoli rising up like
news followed: the sorcerer prince Adhitmuss had twisted puppets to begin slaughtering their comrades
declared himself the new aminar of Visedhrah. Shock upon the battlefield. Some claimed to have seen
and dismay shook the world, for it seemed
there was nothing now to stop Adhitmuss
ambitions of conquest.
Then another terrible tragedy was
reported from across the world: Ktta had
fallen and the Mahndak Dynasty had
been utterly destroyed. It was said that
unspeakable magics brought a horrific end
to the fortified city of Sravatmr, despite
the wards of the Klin. Those few that fled to
the city of Gajanh spoke of the anguished
screams that arose from within the city as
it died. No Visedi forces ever entered it,
for the hollow spire of rock upon which
Sravatmrs temple sat began to belch forth
poisonous vapors which shrouded the city
in a deadly mist.
Within that same year, word came
to Aminar Daksikhr that the armies of
Visedhrah had begun to march southward
once again, toward the great city of Distya.
The aminar feared that if they did not move
soon against far away Jirangarrm, their
ancestral city would be lost.

18
Daksikhr himself dragged away by his own dead witnessed these atrocities first hand, they were filled
honor guard into the bowels of the Rotting City. with loathing. Even Adhitmuss own troops began to
Many believed these tales to be true, for similar feel shame over the terrible acts they had committed
stories had come from others whose lands had fallen in their aminars name. It is said that many of the
to the armies of Visedhrah. And so it was that Sarpah settlers took pity upon the Magri citizens,
Amnol grieved for its slain ruler. But then, only a few and sought to protect them from the demons in their
days after the siege, a royal skybarque from conquered midst.

Chapter I: Introduction
Hadrah, bearing the banner of the Amnoli aminar, Back in Amnol, the Aminar Daksikhr
descended from the clouds to land before the palace began to manifest a new and disturbing nature.
gates. At first none dared hope it could be true, but Oppressive laws were enacted, and many nobles
soon Daksikhr himself emerged from the vessel. An who had expressed discontent over the terms of

to Drdnah
alliance, the aminar proclaimed, had been formed the alliance with Visedhrah were publicly tortured
between Amnol and Visedhrah. and executed. The aminar crushed any hint of
The Amnoli nobles were stunned. Daksikhr disobedience or dissent without mercy. Worse still,
went on to explain that although Distya would be Vajrah slaves flooded into Amnol, and the aminar
ceded to the Visedi and rebuilt to suit their needs, the used them in cruel blood sports for the amusement
Amnoli people were welcome to return to it and dwell of his court. The aminars depravities began to tear
within its walls, alongside their new allies. Adhitmuss apart the once lawful land, and violence between
had personally vowed that no more land would be lord and citizen, and master and slave became
taken from Amnol south of Distya, which was to be frighteningly common.
renamed Suathari, the Southern Jewel. The cities of
Jausrimun, Hal-Hammar, Jnradh, and all the lands The Blessed Twins
to the south were to remain under the sovereignty Legends say that in the midst of this terrible
of Amnol. In return, the Amnoli would allow the conflict a blessed event took place in far away Bakri.
armies of Visedhrah to pass unhindered across their On a night marked by the alignment of the three
land into the nation of Magr. The Amnoli nobles moons, a pregnant Vajrah, a gazelle with pearl-white
were outraged by the terms, for the lands to the south fur, washed ashore during a terrible storm. She
were mostly arid desert, but Daksikhr silenced all claimed to have no name and no past, and it was said
debate. So it was that the alliance between Amnol that she could perform miracles. She was taken in by
and Visedhrah was forged, and the doom of Magr the kind isvar Jhirrd, who had seen firsthand the
was sealed. many wonders within her power. Enchanted by her
In the months that followed, Magr fell swiftly beauty and gentleness, Jhirrd named her Devayani,
to the horrors unleashed by Adhitmuss. It was said the Devahs Grace.
that demons now mingled freely with the armies of When the time of the birthing was at hand,
Visedhrah, feasting on the flesh of hapless conquered Devayani told Jhirrd that although terror had come
citizens. After a bloody attack on the settlement to strike at the people, they should not despair. The
of Suri, and with terrible rumors spreading south Devah had heard their prayers and had chosen to
through all of Magr, few Magri cities resisted the leave in his care precious gifts that would one day
Visedi armies. Even at the capital of Matra, no sword bring true peace to all of Drdnah. Devayani died
was drawn or cannon fired. The city gates were thrown while giving birth to her children, beautiful twins,
wide, but despite this, the entire Magri royal family pearl-white like their mother, one a male lion, the
was butchered before the eyes of their subjects. other a female fox. It is said that their eyes shone with
An edict was issued by the invaders that all the a divine light, as if the spirits of Kramah and Krilrah
Vajrah of Magr were to be enslaved and become the themselves rested within their breasts.
property of their new Sarpah masters. Visedi settlers Kramahs Talons
who traveled a few days behind the army flooded into
the conquered cities. Visedhran ministers replaced At that same time, a terrible battle raged between
the Magri nobles who had been in power. Garrisons the soldiers of Bakri and the advancing armies of
were established to insure a smooth transition of Visedhrah. Demons moved through the ranks of
power, and to quell any possible Magri uprisings. the Sarpah, and the soldiers of Bakri quailed before
The bulk of the Visedi army continued south toward them. When all hope seemed lost, there appeared on
the tiny nation of Bakri. the battlefield two great heroes, like a blessing out of
the east. A golden eagle, wielding the light of the suns
Never before, however, had the ordinary Sarpah like twin blades, and a tiger, whose roar was like the
citizens of Visedhrah actually witnessed the brutal destructive winds of a Dshasd storm, cut through
tactics of their new aminar. The stories they had the ranks of the demons and rallied the Bakri to
heard had been dismissed as tales designed to strike victory.
fear into the hearts of their enemies. But now, having

Basic Compendium
19
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
These two were the first of five legendary heroes Of all the eastern Vajrah nations, only troubled
who would come to be known as the Talons of Kramah; Ishpria failed to heed the call to arms of the Talon
warriors who had been granted mystic martial powers Bhadrah. Its isvar had recently fallen to a mighty
by the Devah so that they could bring an end to the warlord known as Sistahrdh the Raver, who now
threat of Adhitmuss. The eagle was named Jvalah, governed all of Ishpria from his mountain keep of
master of the sacred stance of Kramahs Sword, and Yuaj in the Dgubar Pass. Like Daksikhr, Sistahrdh
the tiger was called Kahraman, master of Kramahs had made a pact with Adhitmuss, who had placed
Roar. Jvalah spoke of their other three comrades: the him on the throne to subjugate the southeastern realms
BOOK ONE

mongoose Nipna, master of Kramahs Spear; the of Drdnah. Toward the end of the Twilight Wars,
jackal Pundrikam, master of Kramahs Shield; and a mighty Ishpri hero named Nendruh overthrew
Bhadrah the cheetah, master of Kramahs Leap. Even the sadistic warlord, and had him publicly beheaded.
now, these three heroes were rallying the isvarates of It was said that tyrants severed head continued to
the east against the common foe. Jvalah and Kahraman scream in rage for days afterwards. Nendruh was
had sailed from the eastern coasts of the Gulf of Bhtai proclaimed the new isvar by the grateful Ishprians
to stop the Visedi armies, and secure the safety of the and ruled for many decades.
Blessed Twins, for the Talons knew that they would In the far east, the scattered forces of Hthiyar
one day help bring an end to the Twilight Wars. and Ktta rallied around the Talon Nipna, the
Jvalah and Kahraman intended to continue mongoose who possessed the stance of Kramahs
northward into Magr, in the hopes of destroying the Spear. This mystic art gave her the power to call down
demonic presence there, and liberating the Magri the very fires of heaven. Nipna and the eastern
people. They bade the Bakri generals to send word armies eventually retook the conquered lands of
of their victory to their isvar, and to advise him of the the Mahndak and the Gajah. The eastern demon
great responsibility he had been given as the protector fortress which had helped bring about Hthiyars ruin
of the Blessed Twins. The Talons then requested that was destroyed by lightning called down by Nipna,
the Bakri army march northward with them to help and its sorcerer prince slain. In the decades that would
bring an end to the cruelty of Adhitmuss. follow, the nation of Hthiyar would be completely
Through the efforts of the Talons and the armies cleansed of the Visedi presence.
of Bakri, the nation of Magr was finally liberated after
many years of struggle. This effort was aided by the fact The Liberation of Amnol
that many of the Visedi settlers chose to forsake their In Amnol, a Vajrah slave named Sejurna, a
loyalties to Visedhrah in favor of fighting alongside black panther who was said to have descended from
the Vajrah and Paksin against the terrible demons of Tishnian nobility, had risen through the ranks of the
Adhitmuss. gladiators to become the most renown and deadliest
But in the midst of these victories, word came arena champion in all of Jausrimun. He was much
from Amnol that Aminar Daksikhr had descended prized by the Anmoli court, who had profited from
into madness. Many of his own people had fled his his victories in the arena, but was despised by his
cruel tyranny. Visedhran terror troops amassed in fellow slaves, who saw in Sejurna an obedient servant
the southern remnants of Amnol in response to the of the Visedi occupiers who curried favor at the cost
loss of Magr, and their oppressive presence taxed the of Vajrah blood. After a failed slave uprising in Hal-
subjugated people. But it was the Vajrah slaves who Hammar, which had been spurred on by the news of
suffered the most at the hands of the Visedi occupiers. Magrs liberation, Daksikhr had arranged a bloody
Many liberated Magri slaves had chosen to join the gladiatorial display where a thousand rebellious
Talons in their efforts to reclaim conquered territories, slaves would be slaughtered for the amusement of
and rumors of their victories both angered the Visedi Daksikhrs court. Sejurna was to be the instrument
and stirred the hearts of the slave population in the of the slave leaders demise.
conquered territories of old Amnol. The stage was It is said that several nights before the blood sport,
set for a bloody slave rebellion that would eventually Sejurna was visited by Kramah in a dream, who told
topple the Jausr Dynasty forever. him that it would be by Sejurnas own hand that the
In the Isvarate of Tishnia, the Talon Bhadrah, demonic power that held the Vajrah slaves in thrall
whose blind eyes could see only in the realm of Dream, would be overthrown and destroyed. In this vision,
and through which she could walk unhindered, had Sejurna saw a mighty crystal spear, engraved with
rallied the armies of Dar-Purm and Gilrhi. They devotions to the Devah, and Kramah proclaimed that
came to the aid of the beleaguered Tishnian forces, when Sejurna wielded the spear and heard the roar
and drove the Visedhran invaders from the shores of the mighty Devah of War, the time of liberation
of Tishnia. Then the combined armies destroyed would be at hand. On the day of the arena match,
the demon fortress at the base of the sursammah Sejurnas master, the chief magistrate of Jausrimun,
Mountains. presented the gladiator with a gift: the beautiful
crystal spear of Sejurnas vision. It was an heirloom

20
of the magistrates Line, and deemed a
fitting weapon to display in the arena for
the aminar.
Seated upon a dais overlooking the
arena, surrounded by his court and his Visedi
allies, the aminar Daksikhr awaited the
commencement of the days entertainment.

Chapter I: Introduction
The thousand rebellious slaves and their
leaders were brought forth, as was Sejurna
and the gladiators who would fight for the
honor of the aminar. It was the custom that

to Drdnah
the winners of the contest would be granted
their freedom, but since Daksikhr had just
received word that Hal-Hammar had fallen
to the Talons and their Vajrah armies, the
aminar proclaimed that all the Vajrah slaves
were to be slain in the arena as punishment
for the actions of their people.
In that instant, a roar like thunder
from heaven shook the very walls of the
arena. Landing in the midst of the slaves,
the Talon Kahraman blasted the Visedi
guards surrounding Daksikhr. Seeing his
vision come to pass, Sejurna leapt forward
and smote Daksikhr with the haft of his
mighty spear, hurling him into the arena
below. To the horror of all the Amnoli, a
monstrous change came over their fallen
lord. The mortal guise of Daksikhr fell
away, revealing a hideous demonic figure. tradition, but was instead buried in an unmarked
The monster vomited black bile, and from it rose crypt deep within the Shadya-Kav Mountains. It is
many twisted creatures. said that a great sandstorm blew in from the west
Before the eyes of thousands of horrified citizens, and covered the entire city, as if erasing it from the
an epic battle was joined, Vajrah slave against Visedi memory of the jnah. Thus it was that the Jausr
soldier, and demon against hero. On that day, Sejurna Dynasty ended, and the foul taint of Adhitmuss was
slew the tyrant Daksikhr, aided by the Talon cleansed from Amnol.
Kahraman. In the years to come, these two would
form a close kinship that would lead to the founding The Klins Banishment
of the mighty Vajrah nation of Sustrm. In northern Tishnia, after the fall of the far
In the midst of the chaos that resulted from the eastern demon fortress, Samdra became the
death of Daksikhr, the armies of the Talons arrived launching point for the Vajrahs campaign to retake
to crush the Visedi forces occupying Jausrimun. Ekapa. Joining the ranks of the Vajrah armies were
All throughout the city, Vajrah slaves rose up against the freed Gajah slaves, now armored and terrible
their masters, but many were joined by Amnoli in their vengeance. Before this mighty force, the
nobles and citizens who had long despised the rule terrified Visedi fled the city of Ekapa with barely
of their cruel aminar. After Jausrimun had been a drop of blood shed. The mighty Gajah warriors
retaken, the liberating armies continued northward tore down the palaces and monuments built in
to reclaim Distya, and from there traveled across the honor of the Visedi conquerors. By this time the
Sea of Vigra to continue the struggle against the Visedhran forces had begun to falter, as the fall
Visedhran menace. of each of their demon fortresses diminished the
power of the sorcerer princes. The remaining Visedi
Jausrimun, however, was eventually armies fled before the liberators to seek shelter
abandoned. It was discovered that the oldest of its within the seemingly impenetrable walls of foul
temples had been defiled by ghastly rituals. The thing Jirangarrm.
that had been Daksikhr had feasted on the blood
of hundreds of slaves in the dark catacombs beneath In western Rkbar, however, the defense
the temple. This so appalled the Amnoli people, that of Predvah could not hold. The Visedi fleet
the body of Daksikhr was not cremated as was the overwhelmed the port city, calling forth unnatural

Basic Compendium
21
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
fire from the heavens to rain down upon
their enemies. The desperate Rkbarani
generals appealed to the Klin elders to
work their magics in defense of the city.
The Klin explained that the Visedi had
called forth a demon to lurk within the
boiling clouds, and insisted that the only
thing that could defeat it would be an even
BOOK ONE

greater demon. Given that their Vajrah


reinforcements had not yet arrived, the
generals reluctantly agreed that there was
no other choice but to call forth the fell
creature.
As the suns set over the glittering
bay, the Klin began their summoning. A
glowing presence stirred deep within the
waters, then something immense and
terrible rose from the bottom of the bay.
In form it was like a glowing column of
water, taller than the highest tower of
Predvah. This great sea beast smashed the
Visedi skyships, then surged upward into
the storm itself, and dragged a shrieking
horror shrouded in lightning down into
the watery depths below. The ocean seethed with the Klin be banished from his realm forever. The aminar
titanic battle that raged beneath its surface, and then believed that in the presence of the blessings of the
eventually grew calm. The Rkbaranis spirits were Devah, the Rkbarani people had no more need of
raised by what they perceived to be a great victory. fell sorcery, which served only to expose his faithful
subjects to the foul taint of Narkah.
But all joy fled as a vast and shadowy form rose
again from the waters and moved toward the shore. It is believed that this was the cause of the
The creature consumed all living things in its path, rift that exists today between the Klin and the
making no distinction between Sarpah, Vajrah, or rest of the jnah. Having had enough of demons
Paskin. Its hunger drove it inland toward the Klin and sorcery, the other Vajrah and Paksin nations
elders who had summoned it. As its monstrous form followed Gurdrahs example and gave no welcome
emerged fully from the water on huge, barnacle- to the Klin. The Klin called together the remnants
encrusted limbs, a thousand smaller abominations of their people, and on ships powered by demons
fell away from its body and scuttled across the summoned from the Swirling Hells, they departed
sundered docks to feast upon anything they could to a land they had seen in visions, the farthest east
catch. All jnah fled in terror before this nightmare, of any known realm of Drdnah. This great island
and many were slain and devoured. they named Klinrh, the Lament of the Klin. In the
centuries that they have dwelled there, few outsiders
It was the Talon Pundrikam, master of Kramahs have ever been allowed to see the shadowed halls,
Shield, who alone rushed forward without fear. He glittering spires, and subterranean wonders of the
had arrived moments before, leading the Vajrah city, for the Klin have never forgotten the deep hurt
reinforcements from the city of Varalu. Calling done to them by the world.
forth his divine power, he brought into being a
towering shield of golden light to hold the terrors The Siege of Jirangarrm
at bay. Pundrikam summoned all his strength, Toward the final years of the Twilight Wars, the
and drove the ravenous leviathan back into the bay. Rkbarani discovered a barbaric nation of Vajrah
The giant demon and its brood sank back into the nomads in the northern steppes of the Mountains of
murky depths, leaving the exhausted Pundrikam to Kthah. No one is sure of their origin, although some
collapse in the surf. have surmised that they are the descendants of the
A council was held that night to decide the fate ancient Vajrah warriors who fought for Kramah in
of the Klin, who were blamed for the horror that the great War of the Devah thousands of years before.
had befallen the citizens of Predvah. Though the They called themselves the Hardazi, the people of
Klin claimed to have done their best to control the god Dar, a primitive and brutal deity that was
their demon, it was the decision of the aminar unknown to the jnah. As the power of the Visedi
Gurdrah, illustrious sovereign of Rkbar, that the sorcerer princes waned, tales of the Hardazis raids

22
into Sarpah territory began to spread. The Hardazi demonic sorcerer. Aythti, with his unmatched skills
took no prisoners, and were rumored to prize grisly as a warrior, would battle the demon lord physically,
war trophies. The generals of Rkbar sought to while his sister Ambhnu would attempt to defeat
parley with these strange barbarians, but the Hardazi the Sarpah aminar in Dream. If they achieved their
violently rejected all attempts at communication. ultimate goal, his mortal body would be slain, and
In the south, the mighty allied armies of Paksin his spirit could be hurled across the timeless veils
and Vajrah gathered near Hadrah after having into the Swirling Hells of Narkah.

Chapter I: Introduction
reclaimed the southern territories west of the Sea of And so it was that the allied armies of the Vajrah
Vigra, preparing for a final march northward toward and Paksin began their march northward toward
terrible Jirangarrm. They would be met by great Jirangarrm in the eastern range of Kthah. The
Vajrah fleets sailing out from Ekapa. The Talons skyship fleets of the west kept pace with the armies

to Drdnah
gathered at the gates of Hadrah, and a joyous cry below. Near the river Sumdhi, they met part of
arose when an entourage of Bakri warriors escorted Adhitmuss strength. Thousands of Sarpah terror
two riders into the city. The riders faces were of troops, a great fleet of Visedi skyships, and a host of
purest white - one a male lion with eyes of amber, demons clashed in a mighty battle with the forces
the other a female fox with eyes like sapphires. The of the Vajrah and Paksin. The Talons, now united,
Divine Twins had come as prophesied, drawn like created a formidable force that even the demons
the Talons by a vision and for a single purpose. could not withstand. The Gajah tore apart the
It had been twenty years since the birth of the Visedi engines of war, and drove a wedge deep into
Twins. Told of their importance by the Talons who the ranks of the enemy. While above, the sound of
had saved Bakri, the aminar Jhirrd had personally cannons roared like thunder, and skyships crashed
escorted the twin children to the far deserts near to the ground in great numbers. Once the battle was
Ajibadh, and had left them in the care of the revered over, there were very few Visedi left to flee back to
monks of a secluded Mahist temple near the edges their master, and the allied armies continued toward
of the Crimson Waste. There they had been tutored the fortress of the sorcerer aminar.
until the age of adulthood, when they chose to walk The stench that rose from the Rotting City
into the vast desert with a mysterious hermit, who was near unbearable. The corpses of many failed
had sworn to help the Twins master the amazing sieges filled the plains surrounding Adhitmuss
abilities they had begun to manifest as children. stronghold. The allied armies knew that the dead
Legends of the fighting prowess of Aythti the lion, would be used to attack their own soldiers if
and the sirhibas skills of Ambhnu the fox had they drew near, so an alternate plan of attack was
spread throughout the south. devised.
In council, the Talons, the Twins, and the On separate skyships, the Talons sped toward
leaders of the allied nations discussed the siege of the dark outer towers. Already the demons that
Jirangarrm. The generals argued that they would resided there were drawing forth veils of shadow
be forced to march into Benng itself to end the from which their terrible curses would fall. Using
threat of Adhitmuss, but the Talons assured them their divine strength, the Talons brought the towers
that the sorcerer aminar would be in the Rotting down one by one, destroying the spawn of Narkah
City, for he had invested great power there and housed within. The skyships of the southeast rained
would not willingly choose to abandon it. It was from flaming oil upon the ranks of the forgotten dead
Jirangarrm and not Benng that Adhitmuss as Pundrikam used Kramahs Shield to keep the
intended to rule the world. It was known that burning revenants at bay. When the corpses had
even his own people now feared Adhitmuss, and been reduced to ash, the armies marched to the
would gladly welcome an end to his terrible reign. immense gates of the fortress, where the Talon
The Talons believed that the ordinary Visedhran Kahraman shattered the enormous stone doors.
wanted nothing more to do with the conquest of For the first time since its creation, the enemies of
Drdnah, and that only Adhitmuss fanatically Adhitmuss swarmed into foul Jirangarrm.
loyal Sarpah terror troops still served the Isvar of Tales speak of the terrible final battle of the
Suffering. Twilight Wars. Thousands of jnah would meet
It was also known that this last battle would their deaths on that day. Abominations bred within
be the greatest challenge of the war, for all of the depths of the citadel clashed with the Talons of
Adhitmuss remaining might had been amassed at Kramah and the Blessed Twins. Ancient demons
Jirangarrm. Victory was by no means assured. who had served Amasrah long ago in the age of
The Twins expressed regret at the loss of their Klin darkness were unleashed upon the divine heroes,
allies, for their formidable powers would have been slaying Pundrikam, Jvalah, and Nipna, but their
a great aid. As for the Isvar of Suffering himself, sacrifice allowed the Twins to reach the sorcerer
the Twins claimed that they alone could defeat the aminar. Outside the walls, the remaining Visedi

Basic Compendium
23
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
fortress from sight of the world. It was
hoped that the jungles would eventually
claim the demon fortresses. But it
would remain a blight on the face of the
world forever, filled with the shadows of
Adhitmuss malice.
The Blessed Twins called upon the
allied leaders to seek peace amongst
BOOK ONE

themselves. The people begged the Twins


and the Talons to return with them to
their own realms to help heal the land.
The Twins declared that they must follow
the will of the Devah across the sea.
Bhadrah said that she would accompany
the Twins as their protector. But Sejurna,
who had fought with the allied armies as a
great hero, entreated Kahraman to remain
and bring peace to the newly liberated
provinces of old Amnol. Because of their
great friendship, Kahraman remained.
And so, on the shores of the glittering
Sea of Vigra, the armies watched as the
Blessed Twins and the Talon Bhadrah
sailed away to the south, and vanished
terror troops were reinforced by Sarpah legions from from the eyes of the jnah.
the north, and they threatened to overwhelm the
allied armies. The Sarpah, however, were ultimately The Age of the Jnah
crushed by the sudden appearance of a massive The Wars of Twilight had many lasting effects
horde of mounted Hardazi warriors, who fought upon the world. The nations that had been
side-by-side with the Vajrah and Paksin. devastated by the conflict would spend many years
Within Jirangarrms walls, hideous shrieks rebuilding their cities and reincorporating their
and thunderous roars rang out as the Twins fought liberated provinces. During this time, these realms
with the demon lord both in the physical world existed relatively peacefully, and their unified effort
and in the realm of Dream. In the clouds above, resulted in a standardized calendar, taking as its
the terrible battle manifested in the form of two first year the new cycle that dawned after the battle
vast shapes wrestling in the heavens, one a baleful at Jirangarrm. Additionally, they accepted the
shadow, the other an opalescent light. Finally, after universal tenets of the Mahist Faith, acknowledging
hours of toil, the grievously wounded Twins emerged the Great Father and Great Mother as their supreme
from the cracked gates of the city, escorted by the two deities, although popular Devah cults would continue
remaining Talons, Kahraman and Bhadrah. Aythti to thrive as they had before.
carried in his hand the severed head of Adhitmuss. In the far north, the defeated nation of
The Isvar of Sufferings reign was finally over, and Visedhrah fractured into smaller realms ruled by
the terrible Wars of Twilight had come to an end. various princes, each of whom tried to claim the Jade
The remnants of the Visedi forces fled Throne. The mighty Visedhran Amn ceased to be,
northward, back to their homeland. On the bloody as the individual principalities rose to power and
fields, the Hardazi announced to the Paksin and seized territories of the former power as their own.
Vajrah rulers that the lands to the north, all the way Clan Bulang, the most powerful and influential of
from their holy mountain of Kthah to the west as the Visedhran royal clans, claimed the Principality
far as the coasts of the Sea of Suvr, belonged to the of Kelapan, whose capital was Benng, seat of the
Hardazi alone. They had no interest in the infidel Jade Throne itself. In the centuries that followed,
ways of the Mahist faith, and warned that they would no prince has yet risen again to claim the title of
crush any invader without mercy, such was the will aminar.
of their god Dar. Without further word, the Hardazi During these years, the territories of Andhi and
left the plains to return to their lands. Pkharaj declared themselves individual sovereign
As for cursed Jirangarrm, none ever dared isvarates. Sickened by the tyranny of the sorcerer
enter its dark halls again. As the armies left the princes, these Sarpah realms believed that distancing
gloomy plains, mists gathered and hid the terrible themselves from the actions of the Jade Throne

24
would benefit their people. Having no more unified males were slain, and the women and children were
military, the Visedhrans princes had no choice but taken as captives. The brutal massacre enraged the
to accept this event. All of the Sarpah nations would Sustrmi, and a small fleet of skyships was sent
work over next several hundred years to re-establish to strike back at the Hardazi savages. But as the
relations with the various nations of the south. Sustrmi ships approached the steppes, they were
In the conquered provinces of old Amnol, bombarded by cannons hidden in trenches on the
Kahraman and Sejurna, who became known as the plains below. Most of the fleet was destroyed, and

Chapter I: Introduction
Voice of Kahraman, unified the formerly subjugated only a few badly damaged vessels managed to escape.
peoples and the new Vajrah liberators into a new Word soon reached the Sustrmi aminar that a great
nation they named Sustrm, the Blade of the Earth. chieftain, a khan, had united the Hardazi clans and
Kahraman became the first aminar of Sustrm and would tolerate no intrusion into his realm. Sustrm

to Drdnah
ruled for over seventy years. Over the next several decided, for the moment, to leave the Khanate of
hundred years, Sustrm would become a powerful the Hardazi alone.
amn, surpassing the former might of ancient Amnol In Rkbar, the relative peace directly following
and Rkbar. All the Paksin who had supported the Twilight Wars lasted barely half a century before
Daksikhr were exiled, although many were killed racial tensions between themselves and Sustrm
by former slaves. The old towers and palaces of the began to grow. The Rkbarani aminar Radyk VII,
Amnoli Paksin were torn down and rebuilt in honor grandson of Gurdrah, angered by the haughty
of Kramah and the new Vajrah aristocracy. Sustrmi and their seizure of former Paksin territory,
Amnol had to content itself with the arid declared the lands all the way to the Western Waste of
regions of the southwest. After the fall of the Jausr Janathi as part of the Rkbarani Amin. In response
Dynasty, the rival Royal Line of Hal-Amekh claimed to this aggression from their Rkbarani neighbors,
the throne of Amnol and sought to consolidate the Sustrmi created their infamous and formidable
its power in the west. The new aminar Slemi Whispering Fleet. It was hoped this would deter
IV quickly forged an alliance with the new and any further expansion into territory the Sustrmi
formidable power of Sustrm, hoping that such a had claimed as theirs. To this day, the Whispering
bond would keep their borders with Rkbar secure. Fleet is considered one of the greatest and deadliest
It was said that a great friendship developed between armadas in all of Drdnah.
Kahraman and Slemi, and that the Paksin monarch Hthiyar saw the return of the Gajah Dynasty.
often visited the Sustrmi aminar in Distya. It was Muodrah was rebuilt and the former glory of the
primarily due to this friendship that the persecution Gajah was reestablished. The province of Nilm,
of the Paksin finally ceased in Sustrm, and many however, resisted the return of the Hathi government.
old Amnoli families were allowed to return and live The city of Hanlu had long been a gathering place
peacefully in their ancestral lands under the banner of scholars and learned jnah, and the people of
of the Vajrah amn. Nilm had no desire to be governed once again
Foolishly, Sustrm pushed northward to the by the warlike Gajah. In a surprising move, the
lands claimed by the barbarous Hardazi, provoking proud Gajah accepted Nilms independence, and
the fierce nomads to attack several Sustrmi even promised friendship to the new Nilmi isvar.
settlements near the Vkra River. All adult Sustrmi Throughout the centuries, Nilm has managed to

Basic Compendium
25
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
maintain its neutrality, and the Nilmi people have great deal of respect from the other nations of the
refused to involve themselves in the conflicts of their world. Tishnia has become a melting pot of many
neighbors. As a result, the Academy of Nilm in cultures and peoples, and its capital city of Sadahm
Hanlu has become renown throughout the world as is a thriving port of call for travelers the world over.
a center of learning open to jnah of all nationalities Magr caters to the needs of both its neighboring
or creeds. isvarates, as well as its mightier western amn allies
In Ktta, the Sardha dynasty replaced the who depend on its merchants for goods brought
vanished Mahndak. Since their armies had helped from the east. Like Ullsh, it also began to trade with
BOOK ONE

liberate the southern lands of the Gajah, the Sardha the new Visedhran Principalities and the isvarates
saw it as their right to claim these territories as of Andhi and Pkharaj, allowing the wealth and
their own. During the reformation of the Hathi goods from those Sarpah nations to flow into the
government, demands were made for the return of west.
these lands. When the Sardha refused, the Gajah
marched their army southward. This open act of The Present
aggression so soon after the Twilight Wars, however, It is the unfortunate nature of the jnah to
dishonored the Gajah in the eyes of the world. The forget the lessons of the past. Indeed, this is why I
Gajah refused to give up its rightful lands, but in have embarked upon this endeavor. In my lifetime
order to preserve peace, chose to buy back its lands alone, I have seen war erupt between the powers
from the Sardha. Satisfied, Ktta withdrew its claim of Rkbar and Sustrm. In fact, it is my fear that
and its soldiers. But an ill fate befell the treasure fleet Sustrm and its aminars may be following the path
from Ktta on its return journey to Gajanah. Several of the ancient Visedi. More and more the Sustrmi
of the skyships disappeared without a trace. Each fancy themselves wiser and more deserving of power
blamed the other for the tragedy, and the entire event than the rest of the world. The tensions between
strained the relations between the two countries for Hthiyar and Ktta have also escalated to the point
centuries. of violence. Border disputes are common, and the
The Isvarate of Ullsh was also formed after two great powers amass their armies close to their
the Twilight Wars. Situated north of Nilm and borders. Dar-Purm has grown tired of the raids by
Tishnia, it was a nation established by displaced the Crystal Corsairs and the instability that Ishprias
merchant families from both nations, as well as warlords have created in the region. Rumors of
warrior clans that followed in the wake of the conquest have circulated in that part of the world
liberating Talons. Ullsh quickly established itself as for decades. And in Visedhrah, it is said that the
a powerful trading nation, its location giving it access sorcerer princes have once again risen to power, and
to profitable trade with Andhi, Pkharaj, Nilm, and speak of unifying the Sarpah as in the days of old.
Tishnia. Additionally, the Ullshi government took And so it is, with over one thousand cycles of
advantage of its many coasts and access to various Ed having passed since the end of the Wars of
bodies of water, and created a merchant fleet second Twilight, that we find ourselves at this, the present
only to Tishnia in size and quality. day. I pray that the hands of the Devah guide our
In southern Drdnah, along the coasts of the fortunes moving forward, and that the eyes of the
Gulf of Bhtai, the isvarates continued to thrive Great Father and Mother watch over our spirits as
with Tishnia remaining the greatest center of world the future unfolds before us eternally.
trade. Further south, the nation of Dar-Purm,
untouched by the war, continued to consolidate Drdnah at a Glance
its power and wealth. Its leaders have their eyes on Drdnah is a sundered world existing in a distant
one day becoming the most powerful nation of the dimension. In this place, the laws of physics are different
southeast. Gilrhi continued to have fair relations from those of Earth. Though many basic concepts
with Tishnia for many hundreds of years, but recent such as gravity would seem to be the same, existing
territorial disputes have threatened that peace. within Drdnahs continuum is like living within the
After the death of Sistahrdh the Raver, the isvar dreaming mind of some omnipotent intelligence. All
Nendruh ruled Ishpria for many decades, but his life that exists within this dream both shapes and
lack of an heir caused the troubled nation to once is shaped by the power of this great mind. Those on
again descend into a state of turmoil upon his death. Drdnah sense this to some extent, and thus fill their
To this day, Ishpri isvars fail to keep the warlords legends with reflections of this dream-world and the
in check, or to control the activities of the notorious magic it contains. They see the world as a mere shard
Crystal Corsairs who use her coasts as havens. of the great crystal of this dream. Little do they realize
The nations of Tishnia and Magr found that this is almost literally the case.
relative peace after the Twilight Wars, and over the If the changing Zoics aboard the descending
last several centuries have succeeded in earning a starship had gazed out upon the world of Drdnah

26
as they approached, they would
have seen a shattered emerald
sphere surrounded by glittering
nebulae of vibrant color. Even
the inky void separating the many
worlds of this dimension is not
truly empty, containing instead

Chapter I: Introduction
wisps and trails of chromatic gasses
that float throughout the cosmos.
To say that the world is
sundered requires further

to Drdnah
explanation. Drdnah is a stable
(if somewhat imperfect) spherical
world that floats within the ethers
of space around two burning
crystal suns. Long ago, some
incredible force caused the world
to crack to its very core. The planet
and everything on it would have
been utterly destroyed had not
inexplicable forces intervened to
contain the shards and preserve the
atmosphere which surrounds the
broken sphere.
the movement of the planets enormous shards deep
Separating each of these fractured segments are within. The crystals themselves possess many unique
seemingly bottomless chasms over a thousand miles traits: some crystals repel the pull of gravity; others
wide. Their depths are filled with glowing mists and glow with light and heat; while a rare few possess
vapor, and conceal at their heart the living crystal incredible magical power and are used in mystic
core of the planet. The oceans of Drdnah near the rituals. Many types of crystals can be fashioned into
edges of these rifts become tempestuous and deadly blades and other weapons that are as resilient as
as they transmute from liquid into vapor, forming any metal of Earth. The crystals of Drdnah are
great columns of clouds that reach into the glowing considered sacred to the jnah, and are referred to
skies. Constant violent storms cover these areas, often in myth and legend. May your crystal never
which no water vessel or skyship could ever hope to shatter is a common blessing.
endure. Very few inhabitants of Drdnah are even
aware of these wonders, and none have ever dared to Metal is essentially non-existent on Drdnah.
pass beyond the edge of a shard. Everyday items are fabricated from the various
materials commonly found: crystals, gems, stone,
The known regions of Drdnah rest in the and clay from the earth; chitin, leather, pelts, and
southern hemisphere of the world, just beneath the silk from the native fauna; specially treated Amber
equator. In the north, youll find steamy tropical made from the sap of a certain type of tree; and
jungles and alien rainforests. The further south one of course the various woods, fibers, and materials
travels, the more temperate it becomes. It is rarely derived from Drdni flora. Armor is made mostly
cold enough to snow even in the southernmost of chitin, whereas weapons are crafted from wood,
climes, although the tallest mountains are covered crystal, Amber, and chitin.
in ice and snow. The seasons on Drdnah center
on the yearly cycles of rainfall, so they are roughly The native flora and fauna of the world is
divided into dry and wet seasons. The changes primordial and alien, and the lands and waters
of seasons are usually marked by festivals of various beyond the civilized regions are filled with danger.
kinds. The wilderness of Drdnah is teeming with life of
all kinds. The suthra (native animals) of the world
Since the interior of Drdnah is composed of come in many sizes and shapes, but are primarily
living crystal, the worlds jagged mountain ranges insectoid or arthropodal in nature. Some of these
are crystalline as well. At their base, where rock, creatures have been domesticated and act as beasts of
soil, and flora litter the slopes, they share much in burden, sources of food, and even pets for the jnah.
common with the mountains of our own world, The plant life is similar to the prehistoric jungles of
but the suns shine through their multifaceted Earth. Giant ferns, banyan trees, and strange glowing
peaks. Glass volcanoes occasionally erupt in various fungi are common. Some Drdni plants have the
mountains, powered by the pressure resulting from ability to move of their own volition, and can be as

Basic Compendium
27
Chapter I: Introduction to Drdnah
dangerous as any predator. Many varieties of trees consist of bowing and the use of the appropriate
can grow to gargantuan size, capable of supporting honorific. Most countries of Drdnah have
vast structures and dwellings within their branches. some form of caste system, so social interaction
And finally, one of the most distinctive features follows certain forms. One would treat equals with
of Drdnah is the vibrant sky. Depending on the courtesy, superiors with respect, and those beneath
season or the time of day, beautiful auroras and with patient tolerance. Rudeness, even towards
nebulous mists in hues of various color swirl slowly those beneath you, is considered very bad form,
in the upper atmosphere like distant veils, giving rise and could cause one to lose face, which can be
BOOK ONE

to the various tales of the realms of Dream and the devastating in Drdni culture.
Edge of Heaven where the immortal Devah dance. Religion plays a very important role in Drdni
Sometimes, a glowing spiral shape can be glimpsed culture. Temples and shrines are common both in
beyond the clouds. According to legend, this is the cities as well as deep in the country. Further, every
point where the fiery chariot of the Great Father and home has its own shrine, dedicated to the Devah
Mother entered the realm of Drdnah. Only once most favored by that household. The observance of
or so a year, during new moons and eclipses, does holy days, religious festivals, and public displays of
the sky become dark enough for the starry eyes of veneration are everyday affairs. Priests and holy men
demons to look down upon the world, and few dare are treated with great respect. Drdnah is steeped
to venture outdoors during those fell nights. in ritual and tradition, and one must know the
proper forms to observe for any given situation.
The Jnah The jnah enjoy performances of all kinds,
In shape and form, the jnah are fairly human. and art is highly appreciated throughout the
They all have five fingers and toes, stand upright, world. Poets, singers, dancers, musicians, theater
have secondary sex characteristics, and basic human performers, puppeteers, and acrobats can all find
shape, but they retain their prominent animal an easy living in most cities, as jnah love to be
features: trunks, horns, tails, spines, wings, etc. The entertained and possess a deep appreciation for
size and weight of jnah can vary wildly, depending artistic skill.
upon the jenu, or specific animal type, from which Theater is common, as are dance performances,
they evolved. This encompasses everything from music recitals, and demonstrations of martial skill.
twelve-foot tall elephants to three-foot tall mice. In fact, grand martial arts competitions are held in
There are three major classifications of jenu: many parts of the world and are quite prestigious,
the Sarpah (reptiles and amphibians), the Paksin similar to our Olympic games.
(avians), and the Vajrah (mammals). All three of Gambling and parlour games are also common,
these major racial types are able to interbreed within and jnah enjoy their fair share of spirits, and general
their own type. Different racial types, however, seem carousing. Skill in games of strategy is especially
unable to interbreed. As such, mammals are capable prized. Despite any excesses, brawling is uncommon
of interbreeding with all other mammals, birds with since most disputes are settled in ritualized duels in a
other avians, and reptiles and amphibians with any public fighting forum called the Spiral Arena.
of their kind. Children born of these unions will
either be the animal type of the father, the mother, Fashion tends toward bright colors and flowing
or on rare occasions another animal from either garments. Mix the most beautiful elements of far-
parents ancestry. eastern court clothing with Arabic style dress and
Hindu ceremonial wear, and you get a good idea of
The jnah are very religious, and all aspects what Drdni clothing is like. Even peasants wear
of their lives are touched by religion in some form bright colors, often in creative combinations.
or another. Morning and evening prayers, ritual
bathing, chants, observance of holy days, and Loose fitting, Persian-style pants are quite
other forms of worship are practiced by everyone. common, as are robes, skirts (for both males and
Rituals dominate every persons life. There are rites females), and elaborate coats and gowns. There is no
of passage into adulthood, marriage and birthing real distinction between sexes as far as fashion goes
rituals, a host of war rituals, purifications, oaths to - most clothes tend to be unisex. Sandals and soft,
households and lineages, investiture rituals - the list Turkish-style boots are common, often decorated
goes on and on. The backbone of jnah society is with tassels and crystals.
the faith in their gods, the Devah. And though they Accessories tend to come in the form of bracelets,
may never actually be seen descending on luminous rings, earrings, necklaces, ankle bracelets, all made
clouds to bless or punish their worshippers, their of Amber, iridescent chitin, crystal, and gemstones.
existence would never be doubted. Wide flowing scarves and veils are also common.
The everyday interactions within society tend to Common headgear consists of turbans, caps, and
be quite polite. Formal greetings are common, and wraparounds.

28
Social Hierarchy ceremonies and works closely with all other
dignitaries of the House to insure the House runs
There are a variety of different political smoothly.
structures in Drdni society. An amn is equivalent
to an empire on our world, and its ruled over by The master of the honor guards is in charge
an aminar. Amns are broken up into provinces of security. He also serves as the aryahs personal
that are usually ruled over by members of the bodyguard. When a House is engaged in a feud with
aminars family or other noble families allied with a rival, the master of the honor guards conducts

Chapter I: Introduction
the aminar. Political dynasties are common and the war, organizing strikes, espionage missions,
can last for hundreds of years. A dynastic change and assassination attempts against the enemy.
is a period of terrible unrest and civil war as rival The arena master is the Houses martial arts
noble families vie for the position of aminar. In the instructor who is skilled in many styles, both armed

to Drdnah
Sarpah amns of the north, these noble families are and unarmed. All honor guards get their combat
usually referred to as clans. In the Paksin amns of training from the arena master.
the west, these family groups are called tribes. The weapons master maintains the armory and
The other common political structure is called oversees weapons training. He is also usually a gifted
an isvarate and is ruled over by an isvar. An isvarate artisan skilled in the crafting of both gunpowder
is the equivalent of an ancient Earth kingdom, and and melee weapons. The common warriors serving
it is more feudal in nature than an amn. The isvar the House get most of their combat training from
rules either by consent of the other noble families the weapons master.
or because his family is powerful enough to keep The House sirhibas is a sorcerer who uses his
everyone else in check. Dynasties are much less magical talents of divination, healing, or warding
common in isvarates as few royal families tend to to counsel and protect his lord. Sometimes the
hold power for more than a few generations. The chamberlain also serves as the House sirhibas.
changing of an isvar, however, is nowhere near as
chaotic as that of an aminar, as the other noble The master of the watch supervises the sentries
families usually keep the peace while their royal that patrol the aryahs castle or manor. When the
counterparts battle for supremacy. The noble master of the honor guards is away, it is the master
families in an isvarate are known as Lines. of the watch who usually assumes his role.
A Line is ruled over by a great aryah, who The doctor is the aryahs personal physician,
is almost always a descendant of the original but often also doubles as the Houses interrogator.
founder of the Line. The Line is further divided Some Houses have become infamous for their
into Houses, each ruled over by an aryah, who is twisted doctors who are expert at extracting
usually related by blood or marriage to the great information from enemy spies.
aryah of the Line. Houses are comprised of the The dance master trains the Houses various
aryahs immediate and extended family, and all performers and organizes all the festivities of the
their retainers, servants, and various dependants. House. He works closely with the chamberlain
There can be as little of a couple of Houses within to organize all religious holiday celebrations and
a Line, or there could be dozens depending on the important rituals.
age and influence of the Line. The crystal master is the Houses chief artisan
Lines do split for a variety of reasons, a process and is in charge of maintaining the precious and
which can be violent or relatively peaceful. The specialized crystals. He also serves as the noble
new Line usually takes its name from the aryah familys fashion advisor, making sure his charges
who initiated the split. Though all Lines ultimately wear the latest fashions.
serve the isvar and the Royal Line (at least publicly), The suthra master breeds and trains all of the
they often engage in feuds with one another. These Houses various beasts, including draft and guard
feuds, however, must be conducted discreetly as animals. He also usually doubles as the huntmaster
open violence between Houses and Lines is not for the House, organizing and leading hunting
tolerated by the isvar and the other Lines. expeditions for his lord and his family.
House Structure The master librarian keeps the Houses records
Each House has a variety of important vassals and also serves as tutor to the aryahs children.
and retainers that serve the aryah and his or her He also works closely with the chamberlain to
family. These vassals include the following: properly record and archive all important events
that transpire in the House.
The chamberlain is the great steward, in charge
of the Houses overall affairs. The chamberlain
organizes and officiates over all important

Basic Compendium
29
II. The Basics

Satlan crouched before the high, thin tree. Above him, hung on a lower branch, a circular blade
rocked in the breeze. He laid back his feline ears, flipped his tail once, then leapt. His arm reached
up, his claws extended and fell short of the weapon.
His landing was graceful. For a moment his expression turned sour. Then he checked his frustration
and stood upright, ears flat and humbled. The wind rose, ruffling his spotted fur and silks.
A reedy figure stepped beside him. A slender tail rippled and rolled along the ground. Loose scales
revealed the Sarpahs great age. Is the grass made of knives? said the old master with a flash of
forked tongue. You jump as if youre afraid of the ground. The earth is our greatest ally, cub. Every
action makes use of it. He coiled his tail beneath him and sprang. With negligible effort he lit upon
the tree branch. The hanging blade scarcely wavered. Before you jump, Satlan, learn to stand.
And what, Master Ashgra, said an unexpected voice, of we who travel the sky? A broad
shape flashed across the sun. The daunting wingspan of a large Paksin some race of eagle or hawk
threw a shadow over the young Satlan. The jnah landed a few feet away. A craggy scar striped his
bare chest. The old mummys mind has withered, he whispered to Satlan. His age has past, Your
Lordship. I can teach you how modern warriors fight, as Ill demonstrate presently. His calloused
hand plucked a curved crystal dagger from its sheath. He pointed this in challenge at the Sarpah in
the tree.
The old jnah nodded. Indeed, the Padhi mercenaries employ a style of combat unique to
themselves. Idiomatic one might say. He flicked his forked tongue. Perhaps, Satlan, you can
demonstrate the simple things I teach.
The young leopard bowed to his master, swallowed nervously, and turned to the feathered
warrior.

30
Attributes
In order to play an RPG, you
will need to create a character,
an inhabitant of the world who
will participate in the adventures
created by the Gamemaster (GM).
Every character in SHARD

Chapter II: The Basics


will be described by a series of
Attributes (detailed later in this
book). These Attributes are game
descriptors that will tell you what
your character is capable of doing.
Attributes consist of Animal
Abilities, Characteristics, Talents,
Skills, Advantages, and Drawbacks.

Animal Abilities
Animal Abilities are such
things as wings, claws, venom,
or any other physical animal trait
that your chosen Zoic may possess.
This RPG will include Animal
Templates that will make the
construction of a Zoic character
very easy.

Characteristics
Characteristics are the
physical, mental, and social traits affect how you select them. Profession Templates
of your character. These include such things will be provided to help you quickly and easily
as your characters strength, agility, his mental build the type of character you want.
faculties, and his overall presence.
Advantages
Talents Advantages are social perks that your
Talents are unusual or unique inherent character may possess. Such things as wealth,
traits that your character may possess. A few noble titles, or a high caste would fit into this
Talents may be learned but most will require category, as would having important social
that your character be born with them. contacts or patrons.
Talents can include such things as being a
light sleeper, having magic potential, or being Drawbacks
immune to certain poisons. Drawbacks are physical, mental, or social
disadvantages that may afflict your character.
Skills Even though Drawbacks allow you to initially
Skills consist of the training and education build a slightly more powerful character, they
your character has received throughout his also outline definite weaknesses that the GM
life. They can include artistic or professional will bring into play. Be very careful when
training, various scholarly disciplines, or even choosing Drawbacks. Phobias, crippled limbs, a
hobbies. Each Skill will be linked to one or magical curse, or an enemy determined to hunt
more of your Characteristics and this will you down are all examples of Drawbacks.

31
Chapter II: The Basics

The Dice deducted from the total number of dice you may
roll when attempting the action (see Modifiers).
The game of SHARD uses a multi-d6 system. In Determining whether you failed or succeeded
other words, you will need several six-sided dice in at an action will depend on the number of
order to play. Ten to twelve dice per player should successes you managed to roll on the dice. A roll
be sufficient. These dice can be purchased in most of a 4, 5, or 6 on a d6 is considered a success.
hobby and game stores, or can be found in many A roll of 1, 2, or 3 is considered a failure. A roll
common board games. that results in only one success (one die landed
BOOK ONE

on a 4, 5, or 6, but the rest were all 3 or less)


Action Dice is considered a Partial Success, whereas a roll of
Many of your Attributes will be assigned a two successes means you have achieved a normal
Ranking, a number ranging from 1 to over 10. This or Adequate Success. A full explanation of what
number will let you know how many dice you will it means to roll one or more successes is given
get to roll when you use a particular Attribute. under Levels of Success.
Thus, if a Skill had a ranking of 4, you would get
to use four six-sided dice when making a roll. These Opposed Rolls
dice are called Action Dice, and you may have several In many contested situations, the number of
groups of Action Dice that you can use at once. successes you roll when performing an action may
Additionally, you may be given modifiers that could be reduced or negated by one or more Opposed Rolls.
increase or decrease your total number of Action An Opposed Roll is a dice roll whose purpose is to
Dice. cancel out anothers successes. As an example, lets
say your character decided to try and sneak past
Dice Rolls a guard. You would be asked to roll Action Dice
Whenever your character performs an action to attempt the task. The guard would roll Action
where the outcome is uncertain, you get to roll Dice to try and detect you. Lets say you rolled four
Action Dice. Some actions such as walking across successes, while the guard rolled three successes,
a room or picking something up are considered you would be declared the winner. However, you
to be automatically successful (unless, of course, would only have achieved one success rather than
someone is trying to prevent you from doing it). four.
Any action that requires a roll
is called a Contested Action, and
any action whose outcome will
automatically end in success is
called a Free Action.
Climbing a high wall with few
hand-holds would be considered
a Contested Action, and thus
require a roll. Climbing over a
fence a few feet high would be
considered a Free Action, and
therefore require no roll. The
GM would simply declare that the
action was successful, unless there
were some other circumstances
that made it a Contested Action,
such as being fired upon or
attempting to move stealthily.
In order to perform an action,
you simply need to declare what
you wish to do, describing in as
much detail what you wish to
accomplish. The GM will then tell
you which Attributes Ranking you
need to base your Action Dice on.
If the action is deemed especially
difficult, the GM may then assign
a modifier, a number that will be

32
Ties usually go to the defender, but it also
might depend on the situation. If you had tied
in the above case, your character would have
remained undetected, but the guard might start
to get suspicious and become more alert. In other
cases where you and an opponent are trying to
achieve the same goal, the GM could declare a
stalemate and require more rolls to break the

Chapter II: The Basics


tie. An example of this would be two opponents
engaged in an arm-wrestling match. If they both
rolled an equal number of successes, neither
of them would be declared the winner and
would require additional rolls to determine the
outcome.
Rolling Sixes (Optional Rule)
Whenever you roll two or more 6s on your
Action Dice, not only do they count normally
as successes, you also get to roll the second and
subsequent 6s over again, thereby increasing your
chance of scoring additional successes. As long as
you continue to score 6s on the dice, you continue
to roll. If you score any number other than a 6,
you stop rolling. This rule makes it possible for
someone with only a few Action Dice to score
more successes than would normally be possible.
Example: A player rolls her four Action Dice
and scores a 3, 4, 6, and 6. So far, she has three
successes (4, 6, and 6). However, since she rolled
two 6s, she gets to roll the second 6 again. She as well as the number of 1s rolled. Thus,
scores another 6! She now has four successes (4,
6, 6, 6), and continues rolling the die that rolled Fumbles can range anywhere from being mildly
yet another 6. She scores a 5 (another success). At annoying and embarrassing to being downright
this point, she stops rolling her die as she did not disastrous.
score another 6. Her final tally is an impressive The important thing to keep in mind if
five successes (4, 6, 6, 6, 5), which she scored with using this optional rule is that a Fumble should
only four dice. enhance the drama and increase the value of the
Failing Actions cinematic moment. Imaginative Fumbles are the
sorts of things that inspire great stories. The goal
If you fail to score any successes (i.e. do not is to give the players the opportunity to use their
roll at least one 4, 5, or 6 on your action dice), wits and creativity to overcome the Fumble,
you are considered to have failed at your task. In not to punish the players for failing. Fun is the
certain circumstances, you may attempt the same name of the game and should always guide the
task again, but there might be some penalties (see decision of the GM.
Successive Attempts).
Successive Attempts
Fumble (Optional Rule)
If you have Fumbled an action, you may not try
A Fumble occurs when you fail to score the same action again (but you may try something
any successes, plus you roll one or more 1s on your else). If you have simply failed an action, then you
Action Dice. The more 1s you roll, the worse may try again on your next turn. However, the
the effects of the Fumble may be - its dependant next attempt will be made at a penalty of 1 die
entirely on the judgement of the GM. A Fumble per successive attempt. Thus, a 1 on the second
basically means that something catastrophic has attempt, a 2 on the third, and so on, up to a
occurred during your attempted action. It could maximum of 10. In certain situations, the GM
mean that a firearm explodes in your hands, or may wish to disallow any further attempts after
that a perfect piece of crystal has been ruined by the action has failed. This will depend on the task
your efforts, or a neutral audience has turned being performed, the circumstances surrounding
hostile. The exact effects of a Fumble are left up it, and the character performing it.
to the GM and depend greatly on the situation,

Basic Compendium
33
Chapter II: The Basics
DIFFICULTY MODIFIER TABLE
Difficulty Ranking Modifier Example
Average work conditions (decent tools/materials); no
Standard 0
sense of urgency; performs the task on a regular basis

Inferior tools/materials; sense of urgency; has


BOOK ONE

Challenging -1 Dice
performed the task multiple times before
No proper tools/materials; performing under stress
Difficult -2 Dice or combat conditions; has performed the task only
a few times
Performing under great stress or while under direct
Very Difficult -3 Dice
fire; has rarely performed the task

Performing under extreme stress or while actively


Extremely Difficult -4 Dice
being attacked; has never performed the task before

Performing under crippling stress; has little hope of


Almost Impossible -5 Dice or higher
performing the task even under optimal conditions

Modifiers Difficulty Modifier Table above gives the Difficulty


Ranking and the corresponding modifier that a
As noted under Action Dice, there are various GM may assign.
modifiers that a GM may require you to factor in
when rolling your dice. These modifiers will either Bonus Modifiers
be Difficulty Modifiers, requiring you to lose a
certain number of Action Dice, or Bonus Modifiers, A Bonus Modifier is assigned by the GM
allowing you to add a certain number of dice to whenever he determines that your character is
your Action Dice. attempting a particularly easy action. This type of
modifier adds a certain number of dice to your
Difficulty Modifiers Action Dice before you make a roll to determine
success or failure at a given task. The GM always
A Difficulty Modifier is assigned by the GM has the option of declaring any Easy action a
whenever he determines that your character is Free Action, which will automatically end in an
attempting a particularly difficult action. This Adequate Success. The Bonus Modifier Table below
type of modifier subtracts a certain number of gives the Difficulty Ranking and the corresponding
dice from your Action Dice before you make a roll modifier that a GM may assign.
to determine success or failure at a given task. The

BONUS MODIFIER TABLE


Difficulty Ranking Modifier Example
Average work conditions (decent tools or materials);
Standard 0
practitioner performs the task on a regular basis

Good work conditions (above average tools or


Easy +1 to 2 Dice materials); some extra time to perform the task;
requires little effort
Superior work conditions (excellent tools or
Very Easy +3 to 4 Dice materials); plenty of time to perform the task;
requires almost no effort
Ideal work conditions (perfect tools or materials); the
Childs Play +5 Dice or more task could be performed blindfolded; there is no time
limit; a novice practitioner would consider the task easy

34
It is possible to receive both Difficulty and The GM rules that Ishi has delivered the guard a
Bonus Modifiers for the same task. Add all Bonus glancing blow on his belt, and so Ishis damage
Modifiers first, then subtract any Difficulty for the strike will be halved. The guard (having
Modifiers from the total. After all modifiers have taken only minimal damage) merely grunts, and
been applied, if you have no dice available, then grabs at Ishi before she can zip away.
you would use the 0 Default Roll explained later Adequate Success
in this section.
This level indicates that you have succeeded

Chapter II: The Basics


Levels of Success at your action fairly much as you had intended.
However, nothing special should result from such
Rolling multiple dice could result in multiple a Success Level.
successes. Scoring only one success while attacking
Example: Tazi wants to shoot at an enemy up
may mean the character inflicted only a minor on a wall, trying to get him to topple off of it. The
wound. Scoring only one success while trying to GM rules that even though the guard is unaware
pick a lock may mean that it may have taken twice of Tazi, he nevertheless has partial cover (the
as long as it normally should have. The exact in- wall), and the shot will be at long range. The GM
game result of a Success Level is left up to the declares the action is Challenging and assigns a
GM to determine, but some guidelines are found dice penalty of 1 (one die taken off the total that
below. Tazi may roll for the action). Tazis player rolls
his dice and scores 3 successes. Because the guard
Successes Success Level is totally unaware of Tazi, he gets no defense roll.
The GM rules that the shot will do full damage
1 success Partial and that the guard topples off the wall.
2 or 3 successes Adequate
Good Success
4 or 5 successes Good Scoring this level means that a little something
6 or 7 successes Excellent extra has occurred, something beneficial above
and beyond what you expected. This level should
8 or 9 successes Astounding be rewarded with an additional tidbit, something
10 or 11 successes Incredible which makes the success slightly better.
12+ successes Legendary Example: Istvan the seer attempts to magically
peer into the past to see if he can discern the
properties of an ancient amulet he has discovered.
Note that the following examples assume Istvans player scores 4 successes on his Action
that the optional rule of Rolling Sixes is in effect. Dice. The GM declares that Istvan knows the
properties of the amulet, and further knows who
Without the use of this optional rule, Success crafted the amulet and a little about its history.
Levels higher than Excellent will rarely be achieved
by players. GMs should read the section entitled Excellent Success
Power Level in the Character Creation chapter
before deciding whether to use that optional rule. At this level, you have achieved much more
than you thought you would. This level should
Partial Success be rewarded with a variety of extra bonuses which
make the success much better.
Achieving this level means that you have
scored the bare minimum required in order for Example: Akari tries to find a suitable spot
your action to have been declared successful. The inside a busy tea house to eavesdrop on bits of
conversation between two enemies of her lord.
Partial Success, however, should not be everything The GM rules that because her targets are being
you wanted it to be. While the gist of what you very cautious, and due to the noise surrounding
wanted to achieve may have happened to some the pair, the action is Very Difficult and he
extent, the end result may be something you did assigns a penalty of 3 dice. Akaris player scores
not anticipate. In combat, a Partial Success strike 6 successes. The GM decides that Akari finds the
will have its damage halved (then rounded up perfect spot, and manages to hear every word of
to the nearest whole number) before any armor the conversation clearly (and then proceeds to
adjustments have been applied (see Combat for the give her lots of juicy information regarding an
full affects of Successes during melee). assassination plot against her lord).
Example: Ishi, having been discovered Astounding Success
breaking into a house by a guard, decides she
wants to kick the guard in the stomach, hoping to This level indicates that truly great things have
knock him over and allowing her to escape. Ishis been achieved, and that others would marvel at
player rolls her dice and scores only one success. this success. The GM should generously reward

Basic Compendium
35
Chapter II: The Basics
you should you ever score such a Success Level, It is important to note that the Success
taking you in delightful roleplaying directions. Levels given in the above examples were scored
Example: Vaitin the dancer is given the for challenging actions. If these high Success
rare honor to perform before the court of the Levels are scored for simple tasks, they will not
isvar. Vaitin decides that he wants to put on be anywhere near as impressive (no one applauds
one of the most impressive shows the nobles of a pianist for playing Chopsticks). GMs should
the court have ever seen. Lady Luck smiles on use their judgment, and remember that ultimately
Vaitins player that day and he scores 9 successes! the result should be to make players feel especially
BOOK ONE

The GM declares that the audience was awed by grand about scoring impressive Success Levels for
the grace and beauty of Vaitins dance, and that challenging tasks.
many were moved to tears. Vaitin has brought
down the house, and is offered the position of
Court Dance Master by the isvar (not to mention Special Rolls
many smaller rewards in the form of prestige and As a general rule, your Action Dice will always
expensive gifts). be based on one of your characters Attribute
Rankings, whether it be a Characteristic, Skill,
Incredible Success or Animal Ability. In a few special cases, your
At this level, the seemingly incredible has been Action Dice may be reduced to 0 due to negative
achieved. This success will be talked about for years modifiers. You may also find yourself attempting
to come. Rewards should be heaped upon you if you to perform a task for which you do not possess the
score such a level, and truly amazing turns in your appropriate Skill, or one that requires a simple use
characters life should come about because of it. of a primary Characteristic. The rules below cover
Example: Sanjiv the physician attempts to these situations.
treat his lord, whose arm was seriously damaged
during an assassination attempt. The limb is badly 0 Default Roll
mangled, so the GM decides that this action will This rule applies in cases where, as a result of
be Extremely Difficult and assigns a penalty of Difficulty Modifiers, your Action Dice required to
4 dice. Dr. Sanjivs player beats the odds and
scores an amazing 10 successes! The GM rules perform the task have been reduced to 0. In these cases,
that Sanjiv not only manages to save the arm, but and at the GMs discretion, you can use the 0 Default
that furthermore his lord will retain full use of it Roll. This die roll allows you to use a single d6 as your
and suffer no permanent effects. Sanjivs lord will Action Die. However, because the task is so difficult,
heal almost as good as new. The GM declares that you must roll a 6 on that single die in order to achieve a
Dr. Sanjiv will be asked to visit the Academy of Partial Success. If you fail the roll, Successive Attempts
Nilm as an honored speaker, and will no doubt are not allowed. There may be some situations where
be offered a very prestigious position in the court the GM simply declares the action to be impossible, in
of his choice. Dr. Sanjiv has become the doctor of which case no roll is allowed.
the decade!
Example: Ishi has just seen the young
Legendary Success daughter of her friend fall into a raging river
during a terrible storm, and realizes that without
This level signifies that the seemingly impossible help the child will surely drown. Ishi is a fairly
has been achieved, and that the results seem almost good swimmer, having a Ranking of 4 in that
magical. Successes of this kind are what legends are Skill, and decides to leap into the water to attempt
made of, so they should be rewarded generously. to save the girls life. The GM rules swimming
Should you score such a success, you should be given under these circumstances is Almost Impossible,
rewards which you did not even dream possible. thus imposing a 5 penalty! Ishis player, having
no Action Dice left after the imposed penalty, is
Example: Vashamsah the artisan decides that allowed to roll a single d6 to make the harrowing
she wants to carve a statue of the goddess Krilrah swim. As luck would have it, her player rolls a 6,
out of a single giant sapphire (this assumes, of and against impossible odds she is barely able to
course, that she has such materials). The GM drag the frightened child back to shore safely.
decides that such a feat will require months of
work and rules it a Very Difficult action, assigning Unskilled Roll
a 3 dice penalty. Vashamsahs player scores an
unbelievable 12 successes! The GM rules that the Some Skills, at the discretion of the GM, may
statue becomes the envy of artists throughout be considered general enough to be performed by
the world. It is highly sought after by powerful someone who does not possess it. The Unskilled
lords for their own collections. Its eventually Roll is what you use in these cases. All Unskilled
enshrined in a specially built temple and ascribed Rolls use one half (1/2) of the linked (or most
divine powers. Vashamsah has defined beauty in appropriate) Characteristic (rounded up) as the
her generation, and her place in art history is Action Dice you may use to perform that Skill.
assured!
Tasks performed using the Unskilled Roll, however,

36
should be relatively simple, and have no Difficulty Roll may be called for when trying to catch a falling
Modifiers assigned to them. Tasks that are deemed object. In the case of Opposed Rolls, you would
Challenging or higher would not be able to simply use your appropriate Characteristic as your
be performed using the Unskilled Roll, unless Action Dice, and your opponent would use theirs.
permitted by the GM. Example: Having been discovered in a tall
Example: Mushka attempts to juggle three tower by guards, the assassin Sahidrah and his
balls in an effort to entertain his young ward. accomplices attempt to escape. As a guard rushes
the room they are in, Sahidrah tries to hold the

Chapter II: The Basics


Mushka has no Ranking in Performing or any
other appropriate Skill, but he only desires to door closed while his partners lower a rope ladder
attempt an incredibly simple act of juggling. The to the courtyard. The GM rules that Sahidrahs
GM allows him to use an Unskilled Roll. Since player must make a Characteristic Roll based on
juggling would normally be linked to Dexterity, Strength, matching his Ranking of 5 dice against
and Mushka has a Ranking of 5 in Dexterity, he that of the guard pushing against the other side.
will get 3d6 (5 2 = 2.5 which rounds to 3) with The guard will need to roll more successes than
which to attempt this very simple task. If Mushka Sahidrah in order to push through the door.
had tried any fancy tricks that wouldve been
deemed Challenging by the GM, he would not Perception Roll
have been able to perform the task at all. Zoics may possess a variety of special animal
A few Skills, such as Surgery or Crystalsmithing, senses, but they also have the five standard
are considered so specialized that they will not give perceptual senses as well. Of all the types of
you an Unskilled Roll. If you do not possess these Characteristic Rolls that you will be asked to make,
Skills, you will not be able to perform any tasks Perception Rolls will be among the most common.
that require them. Perception Rolls are made whenever your character
needs to sense or detect something that is not
Crippled Penalty Roll immediately obvious. A Perception Roll can be
This rule is really more of a modifier on your used to spot ambushes, to take in the fine details
Action Dice. If one of your Characteristics are of a room, to notice a small or partially obscured
ever lowered due to injury or illness, and you object, to detect unusual sounds, etc. Many combats
attempt to use a Skill that is linked to the crippled will usually begin, in fact, with the GM requiring
Characteristic, you receive a Crippled Penalty a Perception Roll to determine if your character is
modifier. When this occurs, you must reduce the able to react effectively.
number of Action Dice in your Skill by the same The Perception Modifier Table lists some
amount that your linked Characteristic is currently bonuses and penalties that could be applied
reduced. The resulting number will be considered to your Perception Action Dice under various
your final Ranking. If the resulting number is 0, circumstances. GMs should feel free to extrapolate
you would use the 0 Default Roll. additional Modifiers based on the table below.
Example: Akari is recovering from
being poisoned, and as a result her Dexterity
Characteristic has been temporarily reduced
by 2, bringing her original Dexterity Ranking PERCEPTION MODIFIERS
down from 4 to 2. Akari decides that she wants Night 2 Dice Sight
to carve a small statuette for her friend Mushka
(despite her condition) in appreciation of his Thick Fog 4 Dice Sight
having saved her life. Akaris Dexterity Penalty of Pitch Black 6 Dice Sight
2 is applied to her Artistry Skill Ranking of 6
(because her Artistry Skill of sculpting is linked to Moving Target +2 Dice Sight
her Dexterity). Thus, she will have 4 Action Dice
(6 2 = 4) with which to perform that task. Shout +1 Dice Hearing
Whisper 2 Dice Hearing
Characteristic Roll
In situations that do not require the use of any Noisy Room 4 Dice Hearing
particular Skill or Ability, the GM may ask you to Firearm Combat 6 Dice Hearing
make a roll based on one of your Characteristics.
In these cases, you would get to roll as many Action Zoic Musk +4 Dice Scent
Dice as the appropriate Characteristics Ranking. Strong Breeze 2 Dice Scent
This usually occurs when a Characteristic needs to
be used in a very general way. For example, a Wit Powerful Spice 2 Dice Taste
Roll could be used when attempting to remember Bland Food +2 Dice Taste
an obscure piece of information, or a Dexterity

Basic Compendium
37
Chapter II: The Basics

Time
Measurement
In the SHARD RPG, there
are two different types of time
measurement: Narrative Time
and Action Time.
BOOK ONE

Narrative Time is not


precise and flows to fit the
scene that the GM is setting
up. Two minutes or two
days are interchangeable in
Narrative Time, the only thing
that matters is how the story
progresses. For example, if
your character were traveling
on a ship toward a distant
land, the GM would not give
you a second-by-second play
of the voyage. Instead, he
would use Narrative Time,
and say something like: After
several weeks of grueling
sea travel, you arrive at your
destination. He may choose
to highlight certain days
of the voyage for dramatic
reasons, but there would be
no need to detail the entire
journey.
Action Time, by contrast,
is very precise and is used
when describing action scenes such as combat Multiple Actions
or chases. The base unit of time measurement in It is possible to perform more than one action
Action Time is the Combat Round. This unit of in a Combat Round. As explained in the Combat
measure is approximately six seconds long. There section of the rules, there are some limitations
are as many Combat Rounds in an action scene as imposed upon the number of actions you can take.
are needed to conclude that scene. After the action Modifiers may also be applied to your Action Dice.
scene is concluded, the time would revert back to Multiple actions are taken either one at a time as
Narrative Time. individual dice rolls, or in certain cases are bundled
together as a single dice roll. Remember that a
Skill Performance Time Combat Round lasts only six seconds of in-game
Each action that you attempt will take a time, so the type of actions the player chooses to
different amount of time depending on the action take must reasonably fit into that time frame.
you described and the Skill being used. Picking a If any of your Action Dice are ever lowered
lock will take far less time than crafting a sword, below a single d6 due to various modifiers, you
for example. The Skills in the Skill List may have would use the 0 Default Roll. If you fail an action
a general performance time indicated along with while performing multiple actions, the GM may
their descriptions. These are guidelines for the GM still allow you to attempt the rest, but this would
to help decide how much time an action involving depend on the situation. If you Fumble an action
that Skill would take to perform. It is important while performing multiple actions bundled together,
to remember, however, that highly motivated all actions used as a part of that bundled set are
characters can sometimes do amazing things within considered lost. Additionally, you would only be
a very short time frame. able to perform defensive maneuvers for the rest of
the Combat Round in which you Fumbled.

38
Extra Time Rushing an Action
You may take extra time to perform an action There will be occasions where you will not be able
if you wish. Doing so will increase your number of to spend the minimum time required (as assigned
Action Dice and potentially improve your chances by the GM) for the performance of a Skill. When
of success. As stated earlier, each Skill requires a this happens, you may choose to rush your action.
different minimum amount of time to perform, so Rushing your action means that you are not taking
GMs must use common sense when assigning an as much care as you normally would with a particular

Chapter II: The Basics


extra time bonus. Consult the Skill List and judge task. You can halve the amount of time needed to
what the general performance time is for that Skill. perform a task but you acquire a 1 penalty to your
This will give you a range of time in which a Skill Action Dice for every halving you do.
could be performed without resorting to Rushing Example: Akaris player has been told by
(see below). the GM that making a crystal necklace for her
For actions whose performance time normally mistress will take her one hour. Akaris Crystal
falls within about 6 seconds (the length of a Craft Skill has a Ranking of 5, which means she
Combat Round), use the Time Bonus Table to assign would normally roll five Action Dice to craft
the necklace. Akaris player decides that she
a bonus. does not have an hour to spare (the gift is a last
minute decision), and declares that she wants
TIME BONUS TABLE to craft the necklace in fifteen minutes. Since
this is one quarter (1/4) the total amount of
Time Taken Bonus Assigned time (1 hour 2 2 = 15 minutes) required by
1 Combat Round +1 Dice the GM, Akaris player will take a 2 penalty to
her Action Dice for Crystal Craft, thus giving
6 Combat Rounds +2 Dice her 3 dice.
3 Minutes +3 Dice Once your Action Dice for any given task have
18 Minutes +4 Dice been reduced to 1, you may no longer continue to
halve the time required to perform that particular
2 Hours +5 Dice task. Few Skills (except for certain Combat Skills)
12 Hours +6 Dice should ever be able to be performed in one second,
3 Days +7 Dice whether they have taken a rushing penalty or not.
This is another one of those instances where GMs
18 Days +8 Dice will simply have to use their best judgement.

For Skills that require more than one Combat Other Modifiers
Round to perform, multiply what the GM considers There are a few other optional modifiers that
the minimum amount of time needed to perform a GM may wish to introduce into the game. These
that task by six in order to get the additional optional rules may make the performance of Skills
amount of time necessary to gain a +1 dice bonus. more realistic, but they will also slow down play. In
Continue to multiply that new number by six cases where expediency is called for, GMs should
in order to come up with each successive time dispense with these rules and simply do whatever
increment required for an additional +1 bonus to would be most dramatic or fun.
your Action Dice.
Example: Upgin the Weapons Master wants Assistance
to fashion a simple crystal dagger for his student. You can get other characters to help you in the
The GM rules that doing so will require at least performance of certain Skills, thereby increasing
one hours worth of hard work. Upgins player
decides he wants to take extra time on this task, your chance of success. Many craftspeople will
telling the GM that he wants to strive for a +3 often have assistants or apprentices to help them
bonus to his Action Dice. The GM multiplies carry out complicated tasks. There are two different
the hour Upgin needed to perform his task by rules that apply to assistance.
six three different times (1 x 6 x 6 x 6 = 9 days)
in order to get the amount of time needed to Collaboration
acquire the +3 bonus to his roll. This form of assistance requires that your
Note that it is possible for you to get both a helper(s) have an equal or greater Ranking than
penalty for successive attempts (after an initial failure) yourself with the Skill being used. Every 2 successes
and a bonus for taking extra time. In this case, simply (rounded down) that a collaborator scores on his
subtract the penalty from the bonus and apply the Action Dice adds 1 success to your total Success
result to your Action Dice to get your final number. Level (any applicable penalties are still assigned
normally by the GM). Additionally, the time

Basic Compendium
39
Chapter II: The Basics
required to perform the action is halved for every whom has at least half of Toryus total Ranking
collaborator who works on the project with you. in their crafting skill. The GM declares this task
Thus, eight days would be reduced to four days for to be Challenging and assigns penalty of 1 die,
the 1st collaborator, two days for the 2nd, one day and further decides that it would normally take
for the 3rd, etc. Toryu four days to finish the bowl. The GM rolls
Toryus supporters Action Dice, which result in
The danger of Collaboration is that should one two of the supporters Fumbling and two of them
of your collaborators Fumble (assuming the GM succeeding. Due to the successes, Toryu receives
is using that optional rule), your entire project is a +2 bonus to his Action Dice and his time is
BOOK ONE

considered ruined, and will need to be started all reduced to three days. However, the two Fumbles
over again. If the collaborators simply fail, then no give Toryu a penalty of 2 dice, canceling out the
bonus is gained and no time is saved. bonus. The time required, however, is unaffected
by the Fumbles, so it remains three days. Toryu
Example: Akari is trying to craft a crown for decides to have a serious talk with some of his
her lord. Since Akari feels that this item is very lazy assistants.
important, she wants someone to collaborate
on the project with her. Akari asks Vashamsah Complementary Skills
(whose Ranking is greater than her own) if she
will assist her in the construction of the crown, Some Skills (such as Knowledge Skills) and
and Vashamsah agrees. The GM has declared Characteristics may be considered complementary
that this task will be Difficult and assigns a to others and may potentially boost your Success
penalty of 2 dice, further declaring that it Level with those Skills or Characteristic Rolls.
would take two weeks to complete. Akaris Complementary Skills may only be used if you
player rolls her dice and scores 4 successes (a score a Partial Success Level or higher with the
Good Success). However, Vashamsah scores related Skill or Characteristic. The modifiers are
4 successes of her own, which raises Akaris similar to Collaboration: every 2 successes (rounded
total success level by 2 (4 2 = 2). Akari, with down) that you score on your Action Dice with a
Vashamsahs help, has now scored an Excellent
Success, and has brought the time required Complementary Skill adds 1 success to your total
to craft the crown down to one week. Had Success Level with the related basic Skill (any
Vashamsah Fumbled, then the crown would applicable penalties are still assigned normally by
have been ruined. the GM).
Usually, only one Complementary Skill may
Support be used for any given roll, but the GM may wish
The second form of assistance requires a to make an exception in certain cases. Further,
supporting helper whose Skill Ranking cannot as with Collaboration, if you happen to Fumble
be less than half of yours. For every supporting (assuming the GM is using that optional rule) your
assistant you have, you get a bonus of +1 to your Complementary Skill Roll, you automatically fail at
Action Dice up to a maximum of a +6 (more than the related Skill. A simple failed Complementary
six assistants working on the same project at the Skill Roll would have no effect.
same time can just as easily become a nightmare). Example: Dr. Sanjiv is attempting to treat
Further, every two supporters decreases the time his ailing lord, who has been poisoned by an
needed to perform the action by one quarter (1/4) assassin. Due to the strength and rarity of the
its total time (i.e. eight days becomes six days, six poison, the GM declares the task to be Difficult
becomes four and a half days, etc.). Unlike with and assigns a penalty of 2 dice to Sanjivs
collaboration, supporters do not completely ruin medical skill Action Dice. He rolls his medical
your project with a Fumble, but they can possibly skill Action Dice and scores only 1 success. Sanjiv
have an adverse effect on it. decides to try and use a Complementary Skill, his
knowledge of poisons and venoms, to boost his
The GM (or supporting players) rolls Action Success Level. He rolls his knowledge skill Action
Dice for each of the supporters helping on the Dice and scores 6 successes. That will add +3 to
project. If any of them fail, then that supporter is his final Success Level, bringing it from Partial
disqualified for purposes of giving you a bonus, to Good. Sanjiv is able to save his lords life. Had
either to your Action Dice or to the time saved. If, Sanjiv Fumbled his Complementary Skill Roll,
on the other hand, a supporter Fumbles, they give however, his lord would have succumbed to
you a penalty of 1 to your Action Dice. Supporter the poison and perished, despite Sanjiv having
scored a Partial Success with his medical skill.
Fumbles, however, do not add to the time required
to perform the task. Subtract any penalties from
the bonuses in order to get your final modifier. Role-Playing Bonuses
Example: Toryu is trying to fashion a special The GM can assign role-playing bonuses to your
prayer bowl to use for his magical rituals. He Action Dice if you dramatize the performance of
gathers four supporters to help him, each of a skill particularly well, acting it out or describing

40
it in colorful terms. Whether it is to describe the movies, or comics. SHARDs unique setting lends
crafting of a fine crystal blade, or to describe a itself to many different types of adventures, but a few
particularly flashy attack, this sort of play adds suggestions of some campaign types are listed below,
immensely to the atmosphere of the game. The same along with some references to movies, TV shows, or
is true when you are acting out the performance of novels that feature those types of adventures.
a skill, whether it is to convince someone you are In the supplemental book, the World Guide, you
innocent, or to perform a poetic piece to a crowd. will find more information on Drdnah, including

Chapter II: The Basics


Roleplaying bonuses can range anywhere descriptions of its various countries, cultures, creatures,
from a +1d6 to a +3d6 (or more) depending on and many other elements related to the setting. Before
what the GM felt the description or portrayal was creating your own campaign, it would be advisable to
worth. This sort of effort should be rewarded and read through this information to familiarize yourself
encouraged, as it makes the game more fun for with this unique world.
everyone involved. While not every player will be
a natural ham, or have the acting and voice talents Serving a Lord
of a Hollywood star, each should have some way of
contributing to the overall role-playing atmosphere This type of campaign focuses on the complex
of the game. Even the most timid of players can relationships and intrigues of Houses and Lines,
give a detailed description. the principle social units of Drdni culture. This
campaign type generally features scenarios in which
the players are the vassals and functionaries of an
Travel aryah, the leader of a noble house, or a great aryah,
Drdnah is a large and expansive world, the leader of a powerful clan, or perhaps members
one which you will likely wish to explore. The of the noble family itself. Characters in this type of
map included in this book features a scale in the campaign would carry out special missions assigned
lower left corner. It indicates the number of days it to them by their lord or lady, missions they would
would take to travel by skyship across the distance be honor-bound to carry out. These assignments
displayed within the scale. Traveling by skyship is could include protecting important members of
the fastest form of travel across Drdnah, and is their House from their enemies, conducting spying
the comparison for all other modes of travel. and assassination missions, acting as envoys to
other factions, or engaging in intrigues to advance
A journey that takes about one day by skyship their own position or the position of their House.
would take about two days by wing or by water Examples include Dune, The Tudors, Excalibur, and
vessel, about four days by mounted land beast, and Shogun.
about seven days on foot. It is important to note that
the flow of the story, at the GMs discretion, may
increase (or decrease) the general amount of travel Free Traders and Corsairs
time for dramatic effect. This campaign features characters that are
Skills and Abilities that relate to travel are members of a ships crew, adventuring across
covered later in the rules under Character Creation. Drdnahs many oceans and seas, or sailing
Though sometimes the GM may simply decide to upon the fateful winds of the upper airs. Such
assume travel occurs without a hitch, a roll (or several characters might consider themselves free traders,
rolls) of some movement-based Skill or Ability may engaging primarily in honest business that often
sometimes be required to determine how successfully gives way to more shady dealings and action-filled
a journey is made. Unforeseen trouble may be complications. Or perhaps they are bloodthirsty
indicated by poor dice rolls, whereas an exceptional Crystal Corsairs who prey on merchant ships and
roll might mean a much faster journey. clash with military vessels sent to destroy them.
In campaigns of this type, adventure and intrigue
can be found in almost any port of call, and could
Campaign Types feature smuggling, heroic rescues, battles with
pirates, and of course the acquisition of treasure
In the SHARD RPG, there are many different and booty. Examples include Pirates of the Caribbean,
types of settings and stories that you can experience. Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and Firefly.
As GMs begin considering the types of adventures they
wish to run for their players, they will want to create
the backstory for a specific type of campaign, as well as Secret Societies
the overall storyline that will tie together all the various In a world steeped in political intrigue, where
plots and subplots into a cohesive overall saga. religion governs the lives of the populace and the
Inspiration for campaign storylines can come status quo is zealously guarded, there are always
from a variety of places, including your favorite novels, secret societies that form whose agendas can

Basic Compendium
41
Chapter II: The Basics
range anywhere from bringing about a new age of but who are thrust by fate onto a path that leads
enlightenment or societal reform, to the toppling them to glory and respect. The backdrop of such
of a corrupt regime or ruler. Members of such a campaign is usually some great calamity or event
secret societies must always be willing to act in the that galvanizes the characters into action, and forces
societys best interests. These characters will be them to abandon their simple lives and save the
called upon to perform services that continually day. Examples would include Star Wars, The Hobbit,
test their loyalty and resolve in regards to the goals Willow, and Stardust.
of their organization. Such adventures may include
BOOK ONE

acts of espionage, quests for important artifacts, Explorers of the Past


attempts to infiltrate enemy strongholds for
purposes of information gathering or to liberate a There will always be those who quest for
political or religious prisoner. And all this must be knowledge and who seek the mysteries of the
accomplished, of course, while maintaining ones unknown. Such adventurers embark upon journeys
cover and keeping the existence of the secret society of discovery that are rife with danger, ancient
a secret. Examples include Torchwood, Murder By treasures, and forbidden secrets. Drdnahs
Decree, The Da Vinci Code, and Men in Black. past is full of such secrets. Hidden away in the
furthest jungles and highest mountain peaks are
the crumbling remains of lost civilizations and
War Has Come evidence of terrible truths thought long forgotten.
In this campaign, the threat of imminent war For those intrepid souls who would brave the wild
looms over the nation in which the characters reaches and savage dangers of remote locations,
live, whether due to civil unrest, imperialistic there is much more than old bones to unearth in
expansion into another country, or the approach the forbidden places where the Devah first walked
of conquering armies from an opposing realm. upon the world. Examples include Raiders of the
Characters in such a campaign might be common Lost Ark, King Solomons Mines, Atlantis, and Journey
soldiers, or the officers who lead them, or perhaps to the Center of the Earth.
even simple civilians caught between the opposing
forces and struggling to stay alive in a war-torn land. Outcast Travelers
Typical adventures might consist of carrying out
military campaigns, espionage or reconnaissance This type of campaign features societal outcasts
missions into enemy territory, the conscription of and gypsies who band together to make their
additional troops, the sacking of enemy cities, or lives on the road, traveling from place to place in
the pacification of conquered villages and towns. caravans of brightly colored wagons or upon river-
Examples include Sharpes Rifles, Band of Brothers, barges. Characters are skilled entertainers, dancers,
Platoon, and Rome. musicians, and fortune-tellers, but are often blamed
for misfortunes and crimes that occur when they
are near. The proud Drdni gypsies claim to be
Thieves and Assassins descended from ancient warriors who ruled long
This type of campaign focuses on the seedy before the Wars of Twilight, though few believe
underbelly of society, and features the secretive these tales. Gypsy clans could be nothing more
lives and questionable pursuits of those who live than a gang of opportunistic thieves, or they could
outside the law. Characters could range from be dedicated demon-hunters whose mission it is to
the lowliest cutpurse to a master thief or world- eliminate supernatural threats wherever they are
renowned assassin. Campaigns might focus on the found. Regardless, they are usually not wanted in
adventures of a Thieves Guild, or the clashes of most communities, and are always persecuted by
rival underworld gangs, or on the sinister activities local authorities and priests who consider their
of a group of deadly assassins. The rewards are the strange beliefs to be heretical. Examples include
treasures of hapless victims, or the grim honor of King of the Gypsies, The Hunchback of Notre Dame,
being the harbinger of death. Examples include Carnivle, and The Riches.
Oliver Twist, Thieves World, The Wire, and The
Professional. Survivors of Destruction
This campaign assumes that the normal setting
Peasants to Heroes of Drdnah has experienced a violent upheaval
Simple farmers who rise to become great heroes or some sort of calamity. The devastation could be
that change the world are the stuff of legends. This local or world-wide. Characters are forced to fight
is the classic Heros Journey, and is a feature for their very survival in an environment that has
of many memorable tales. This campaign could apparently gone mad. In such a world, laws and
center on individuals who have been born into traditions are often forsaken, and life becomes a
a lower caste or a situation of diminished status, series of life-threatening encounters. It could be the

42
result of a devastating plague that sweeps across stories, interact with your characters, solve your
the lands, or a meteor that brings about drastic puzzles, face your challenges, and overcome your
climatological change, or perhaps a dimensional obstacles. Without the GM, there is no game. But
rift that opens to the swirling Hells of Narkah. being a good GM is a definite skill, and it takes hard
Whatever the cause, it is up to the characters to work and practice. Good game mastering requires
discover a way to reverse the damage that has been swift thinking, a flair for the dramatic, an eye for
done, or to pave the way to a brighter and safer the cinematic, a good sense of timing, a talent for
future. Examples include Dawn of the Dead, The establishing mood, a great sense of fair play, and an

Chapter II: The Basics


Day After Tomorrow, The Road Warrior, and War of overwhelming desire for entertainment.
the Worlds. The GM is not the players opponent; quite
the contrary, the GM is on the same team as the
Being a Gamemaster players. The GM and the players are co-creators of
a shared drama; without cooperation and trust,
An important distinction between role-playing the experience is likely to be unsatisfactory. Unlike
games like SHARD and other types of games is the traditional games, there are no winners and losers
inclusion of a Gamemaster (GM), a person who in SHARD. Everyones goal should be to have a great
acts as a host, storyteller, and referee for the game. time, and the result should be many memorable
Unlike traditional tabletop games such as CLUE adventures (and the desire for more). A good GM
or MONOPOLY, which feature a rigid set of rules listens to the players feedback, and incorporates it
and fixed events, role-playing is free-form and uses in future scenarios. During play, the GM monitors
the rules as a framework to help the GM and the the pacing of the game, responding to the needs
players create an entertaining, interactive story. and interests of the players and seeing to it that
In many ways, a role-playing game is similar to the action moves along at a pace that the players
a TV show. The GM serves as the show-runner (the are comfortable with. If the players want more
writer/director), and the players assume the roles romance, adventure, mystery, or suspense, its up
of the central characters of the show. The main to the GM to find ways to work those elements
difference is that the show is mostly improvisational. into the game.
Even though the GM creates the setting and central Finally, dont let the action, creativity, and
conflict that the players will experience as well as drama of the game get bogged down by the rules.
the numerous subplots and supporting characters The rules presented in SHARD are simple guidelines
that will help establish and define the principal designed to help make creating interactive stories
characters and their relationships, it is the players easier. If theyre getting in the way, change them
who are the stars of the show, and their actions to suit your needs, or ignore them altogether. Even
are unscripted and incredibly unpredictable. But though the task of running a game may be hard
thats part of what makes it so enjoyable. work, it shouldnt feel at all like hard work. Above
Deciding to be a GM is a big responsibility, all else, running a game of SHARD should be a
but its also a great deal of fun. As a GM, youll be great deal of fun, and if you find that it is, then
the one that creates the setting that the players will youre clearly doing it right.
return to time and again. They will experience your

Basic Compendium
43
III. Character Creation

Savanth perched in the temple rafters, fifteen feet above the mosaic floor. His tail clung fast around a
painted beam. A ring of sentries gathered below, their muskets converging on him. He sighed. From experience
he knew even a tamarin like him couldnt scamper to a window before they stuffed him full of shot. And the
ceiling was plaster over lumber, with stone shingles on the outside. Hed have to be a Gajah to knock an exit
through that. Maybe it was time to negotiate.
You have this all wrong, Savanth, said the abbess as she stepped inside the temple doors. The lank old
jnah was a painted wolf, her dark snout and tall, round ears thrusting from her hood like an accusation.
Were not the enemy of House Varsham. We dont want to dishonor you.
Youre giving me a second chance? How kind, for a priestess.
After what you did in the reliquary? The Great Mother would strike me dead if I tolerated such
desecration. But Im a reasonable person. You neednt take a grudge to your grave. She smiled. Her fangs were
the color of tea.
Savanth imagined musket shots punching through his body. Escape it is, then. No means presented itself,
but he sensed something out of place. There: a shallow recess in the plaster of the ceiling. He crept forward on
the rafter. Whoever carved this knew it couldnt be seen from the ground. And a symbol was painted inside.
Savanth felt a chill: I know this glyph. Its the code of the Pashmat Assassins. It means safe passage. Theres
an exit here, if I can find it.
He chuckled. For once the Pashmats might save him instead of targeting him. After a few seconds he
spotted a collection of loose nails in the ceiling. If he pulled them free, the weight of the shingles above would
collapse the wooden planks. He could make it out to the roof. Hed be far from safe, but it was a start. My
dear abbess, he said aloud, I quite enjoy my grudge. I think Ill take it with me.

44
Overview need to choose an appropriate Profession, which
in turn will inform you what Skills your character
Now that youre familiar with the basics of will need in order to occupy that role in society.
the SHARD RPG system, its time to talk about Over 220 Profession Templates are available for you
creating a character. There are many decisions that to choose from.

Chapter III: Character Creation


need to be made, so you should spend some time The fifth step is to select your characters
thinking about the kind of character youd like Advantages and Drawbacks. Advantages are
to play. Imagine you were going to create a major social perks such as wealth, a patron, and your
character for a TV show, and you needed to sell caste. Drawbacks are physical, mental, or social
this character to a producer. How would you pitch disadvantages that might afflict your character. It
the character? What sorts of things would you talk is important to note that Drawbacks are optional
about and emphasize? What would the highlights and whereas they provide you with more points to
be? spend on your other Attributes they also give the
Character creation should be imaginative and GM weaknesses that will be exploited during the
a great deal of fun. Heck, its a game in and of course of the game.
itself. We will guide you through it step-by-step in The sixth and final step is to wrap it all together.
order to make the process simple and enjoyable. Come up with a backstory for your character. How
Everything you will need to create your character did he come to be in his present situation? Is he
will be found in this chapter. Before you begin, it related to any of the other players characters? How
might be helpful to photocopy the Character Sheet does your character like to dress and speak? Is he
thats been included in this book. outgoing or shy? Does he like to spend his time
The SHARD RPG is a point-based system, in quiet meditation or does he spend his evenings
meaning that you are given a certain number of in gambling dens? These are important choices as
Character Points that you will use to purchase all theyll help you role-play your character, which will
your characters Attributes, each of which has in turn increase everyones enjoyment.
a point cost associated with it. There is math
involved, but it is simple addition and subtraction.
If you consider yourself to be math challenged Power Level
then a calculator might also come in handy. Before you create your character, the GM will
The first step in character creation is to come need to determine the Power Level of his campaign
up with the character concept. Depending on the and assign the corresponding Character Points that
type of campaign the GM has chosen to run, youll you will use to buy your Attributes. There are four
need to find a character that fits into that setting. different Power Levels that a GM may choose. Each
Are you an honor guard assigned to protect the of these levels represents a slightly different style of
lord of a great house? Or are you an assassin used play. If the GM wanted to feature characters who
to eliminate your lords enemies? Perhaps youre were capable of superheroic deeds, then a higher
a performer traveling with a troupe that wanders Power Level would be appropriate. If, on the other
from city to city? hand, the GM wanted to feature characters who
were just beginning their adventuring careers, then
The second step is to determine what sort a lower Power Level would work best. Consult the
of Zoic youd like to play. What kind of animal Point System Table to see what each Power Level
interests you? Are you drawn to a particular offers in terms of points and limits.
animals appearance? Or is there some other
quality that you admire or find intriguing? Animal Its important to note that due to certain
Templates are available that will help you select the inherent animal traits, a few Zoics may exceed some
appropriate animal abilities and traits. of the limits imposed by a particular Power Level.
An elephant, for example, may have a Strength
The third step is to assign Rankings to your Ranking in the Talented range even though he
Characteristics and Animal Abilities. These are was beginning as a Low Power Level character.
inherent traits that define your characters physical His other Attributes, however, should still meet
and mental ability. These will be dictated, to some the limits set by the Power Level. The GM should
extent, by the animal youve chosen to play. For carefully review every character and determine if
example, elephants will be strong and tough, they are appropriate to the Power Level he wishes
whereas gazelles will be agile and fast. to run. Every Zoic may not be appropriate for every
The fourth step is to select your characters Power Level.
Talents, Profession, and Skills. Talents are special Another important point is that the Attribute
innate abilities such as a natural immunity to limits set by Power Level apply only during character
poison or a inborn aptitude for magic. Based on creation. Once the campaign begins, players are
the character youve decided to play, youll also

45
Chapter III: Character Creation
allowed to spend points on their Attributes and raise one or more Power Levels. A Mixed Power Level could
them above the limits of the Power Level (with the have one or two characters start out at Low Power Level,
GMs permission). Low Power Level characters, after all, a few others as Talented or Heroic, and some perhaps
wont always remain at that Power Level. As characters even in the Legendary category. This combination is
adventure and gain experience, they will become better common in many works of popular fantasy such as The
at what they do. Low Power Level characters may Lord of the Rings. In that tale, the hobbits were Low Power
eventually become Heroic or even Legendary Power characters, Gimli was Talented, Aragorn was Heroic,
Level characters if they adventure long enough. and Gandalf the White was a Legendary character.
BOOK ONE

This level requires mature players, as not all of the


Low Power Level characters will start out equally as powerful. Players can
This level assumes that the characters are a little occasionally be competitive, so if a GM has too many
weaker than the average hero. They might be young or of these types of players then the Mixed Power Level
simply inexperienced, but in either case they are usually may not work. If a GM uses the Mixed Power Level, it is
just starting out on their adventuring careers. Examples important to make sure that all of the players get equal
of characters at this level would be Bilbo Baggins and air time and that the higher point characters do not
Harry Potter. overshadow their less experienced comrades. Everyone
should have a significant impact on the course of the
Talented Power Level campaign. After all, in The Lord of the Rings it was the
Low Power Level characters that actually destroyed the
This level is for standard heroes who possess a Ring and saved Middle-Earth. Similarly, you dont have
variety of different skills and are considered competent to be ultra-powerful to be a hero and save the day on
adventurers. Even though talented heroes are not Drdnah.
capable of superhuman feats, they still deal with
plenty of extraordinary situations. Examples of such
characters would be Captain Jack Sparrow and the Maximum Attribute Ranking
Three Musketeers. Each Power Level has a suggested cap on a
characters Attribute Rankings. This limits the
Heroic Power Level number of Action Dice a player can initially use and
generally keeps the Success Levels in synch with the
At this level, characters boast skills and abilities that appropriate Power Level. Remember, the more dice a
few others possess. These are highly experienced heroes player has, the more Successes theyre likely to score. It
who are often called upon in times of great need. They makes sense that Legendary characters be able to score
are generally viewed by the rest of society as amazing very high Success Levels, whereas Talented characters
individuals. Many popular fantasy adventure heroes should score more moderate Success Levels.
would fall into this category. Examples would include
Conan the Barbarian and Robin Hood.
Base Character Points
Legendary Power Level Character Points are what you spend to buy
all of your characters Attributes: Characteristics,
This level features superhuman characters capable Animal Abilities, Skill, Talents, and Advantages. The
of unbelievable feats who are renown throughout the Power Level determines the number of Character
world. Some might be considered divine messengers Points you initially receive. These numbers are merely
or perhaps even gods themselves. Examples of such suggestions, however. If the numbers are insufficient to
characters would be Elric of Melnibon and Paul- create characters that fit a GMs particular campaign,
MuadDib Atreides. they should be tweaked either up or down until the
appropriate number of Base Character Points has been
Mixed Power Level reached. We encourage you to play around with them.
It is possible for a GM to assign a level that combines

POINT SYSTEM TABLE


Power Level Maximum Attribute Base Character Points Maximum Drawback
Ranking Points
Low 4 100 15
Talented 6 150 30
Heroic 8 200 45
Legendary 12 250 60

46
Maximum Drawback Points players are all on the same team. This holds true for
a group of thieves all working together, or a troupe of
It is possible for you to get additional Character travelling performers, or the crew of a skyship, or a
Points to create your character by taking one or band of refugees fleeing a war-torn country.
more Drawbacks. You should be careful, however,

Chapter III: Character Creation


not to cripple your character with too many of these
disadvantages. Each Power Level has a recommended Step 2: Pick Your
cap on the number of Character Points you can get
from Drawbacks. You are not obligated to take any Animal Template
Drawbacks; they are purely optional. The fantasy world of the SHARD RPG is populated
solely by anthropomorphic animals called Zoics. You
Step 1: Character can choose to be any mammal, bird, amphibian or
reptile you wish. Cetaceans (whales, dolphins), fish, or
Concept any prehistoric animals (dinosaurs, saber tooth cats) are
not allowed as they do not currently exist in the setting.
Once the GM decides on the Power Level and the The people of Drdnah refer to themselves as jnah,
type of campaign he wishes to run, you should decide which means people. Their animal species is referred
what sort of character you wish to play. Think about to as their jenu, which means form. A jnah would
your favorite characters from fantasy novels, movies, never refer to themselves as an animal. In fact, that is
or TV shows. Does fighting ability and flashing generally viewed as an insult. The word suthra, which
swordplay appeal to you? Or do you prefer characters means animal, is used by all jnah to refer to the
who rely more on their wits and stealth to defeat native fauna of Drdnah.
their enemies? Or does the idea of summoning and
controlling alien demons from another dimension Since youve already thought about the type of Zoic
seem more your speed? youd like to play, you should locate that specific animal
type in the Animal Templates. These templates are
The GM should provide you with a list of designed to help you build your Zoic quickly and easily.
the types of characters that will be available in his Every trait that your chosen animal should possess is
campaign. Consult with him and your fellow players listed in its Animal Template, which includes minimum
to decide who will take what roles. Whereas an entire Characteristics, Animal Abilities, and any Talents or
party of fighters or spellcasters could work, its often Drawbacks that might apply. Mammals are grouped into
a better idea to make sure your group is diverse and a racial category called Vajrah, birds are known as Paksin,
able to deal with a variety of different situations. This and reptiles and amphibians are known as Sarpah. See
will also give you more of an opportunity to shine the section entitled Animal Templates beginning on page
when your unique skills are required to save the day. 49 for a detailed description of the templates.
You should also be thinking about the type of
animal that would best fit into the role you wish to
play. Here you have an opportunity to play to or against
type. Its clear to see why someone would want to play
a tiger warrior, a weasel thief, or a bat sorcerer; those
animal types seem to suit those roles. But what about
a lion healer, or a mouse warrior, or a gorilla thief?
Playing those sorts of characters can be a refreshing
change and a lot of fun. Its important, however, to
make sure the animal type youre choosing fits the
GMs campaign. As always, he has the final say on
what sorts of characters will be allowed in his game.
Another important consideration is to decide
what your relationship to the other players will be. Its
fine for the group to be strangers. In fact, this is often
the default choice for many campaigns, especially
since its fun to learn about your fellow players in the
game as you get to know their characters. However,
its not a bad idea to have some sort of pre-existing
relationships with your fellow players. Are all of you
members of the same house serving the same great
lord? These sorts of campaigns can be a great deal
of fun as it immediately establishes a strong bond
between the players. After all, you and the other

Basic Compendium
47
Chapter III: Character Creation
After youve purchased your Animal Template and Once youve purchased your Profession, you can
have written the information contained in the template still buy additional Skills. There are no limits on the
down on your character sheet, youre ready for the next purchase of Skills. You can have as many of them as
step. you can afford to buy, as long as they fit your character
concept. See the section entitled Professions on page 116
Step 3: Rank Your and Skills on page 147 for a detailed description of each
Profession Template and Skill.
Characteristics and
BOOK ONE

Step 5: Determine
Animal Abilities
Once youve purchased an Animal Template, youll Your Advantages and
be given a Ranking in all of your Zoics Characteristics.
You have the option of leaving those Rankings where Drawbacks
they are, or you can raise the Rankings to better suit Advantages are social perks that your character
your character concept. Remember that each of your has acquired through various means throughout his
characters Attributes will be linked to one (or more) life. Having access to wealth or valuable contacts, or
of your Characteristics (meaning it will take its base possessing a wise master who can aid you in times of
Ranking from those Characteristics), so pay close need are examples of Advantages. Your caste, a very
attention to how you spend your points on them. important aspect of your character in SHARD, is also
Once the game has begun, it becomes difficult (and purchased as an Advantage, so make sure you buy the
expensive) to buy up your Characteristics. Make sure you appropriate caste for your chosen profession. See the
assign the Ranking you want (or as close as you can get) section entitled Advantages beginning on page 184 for
given your available points and Power Level restrictions. a detailed description of each Advantage.
See the section entitled Characteristics beginning on page Drawbacks are physical, mental, or social
99 for a detailed description of each Characteristic. disadvantages that might afflict your character. After
The Animal Template will also give you several all, the most interesting characters in movies and
Animal Abilities. These are the inherent traits of your literature are defined as much by their weaknesses as
chosen animal type such as wings, claws, tough hide, by their strengths. Being hunted by a vengeful enemy,
or night vision. These traits will usually also be linked or afflicted with an addiction, or being the victim
to one of your Characteristics and can similarly have of a terrible curse are all examples of Drawbacks.
their Ranking raised beyond their initial score. See the Drawbacks give you more Character Points to spend,
section entitled Animal Abilities beginning on page 101 which can allow you to build a slightly more powerful
for a detailed description of each Animal Ability. character.
But buyer beware: Drawbacks define weaknesses
Step 4: Choose Your that the GM will exploit during the campaign. For this
reason, Drawbacks are purely optional. That said, they
Talents, Profession, and can also be a great deal of fun as they will give the GM
ideas for scenarios and adventures. If youre uncertain
Skills how a Drawback might affect you in the game, simply
consult with the GM and get his take on it. See the
Talents are unusual innate attributes that further section entitled Drawbacks beginning on page 191 for
define your character. Being ambidextrous, immune a detailed description of every available Drawback.
to certain poisons, or possessing magical ability are all
examples of Talents. Most Talents add a number of
Action Dice to an appropriate Skill or Animal Ability. Step 6: Create Your
The Animal Templates include Talents that your Zoic
would possess. See the section entitled Talents on page Backstory
111 for a detailed description of each Talent Now that all of your characters game Attributes
Skills represent any sort of learned ability or special have been purchased and your points spent, all that
training your character might have received during is left is to tie it all together. Come up with a detailed
his career. The ability to use weapons, craft items, backstory that explains how you got where you are.
pick locks, move silently, and speak languages are all What is your characters relationship to the non-player
examples of Skills. Like Animal Abilities, Skills are also characters (NPCs) in the campaign? What is your
linked to one of your Characteristics and can similarly characters relationship to the other player characters
be raised above that Characteristic. Numerous Profession (PCs)? What was your childhood like? Were you an
Templates have been provided that will help you select orphan? Have you been exiled from another realm? Are
the Skills appropriate to your chosen profession. you on the run? Or are you looking for love? What about

48
your personality? Are you friendly? Secretive? Do you dice rolls. Story Points should mainly be used to alter
have some personal goal youre working toward? Are the story in subtle ways that add to the enjoyment of
you a practical joker? Are you devout? Superstitious? the game for everyone.
Answers to all of these questions will make role-playing
your character much more enjoyable.
Animal Templates

Chapter III: Character Creation


Its important when creating your character and
his backstory to keep in mind the type of game the GM Building a Zoic is as easy as locating the appropriate
wants to run. Make sure your choices complement the Animal Template. Many of the Animal Templates
campaign and the other PCs. Remember, fun is the cover a general type of animal (great cats, canines, birds
name of the game, but that includes everyone. Whereas of prey, etc.) and will list specific animal types (tigers,
adversarial character relationships can provide a lot of wolves, hawks, cobras, etc.) under the template heading.
drama, you have to be careful not to let them become If you desire to play an animal that is not specifically
personal. After all, its only a game. Discuss your ideas listed in the Animal Templates, simply find a template
with the GM and the other players, that way youll be that closely resembles the animal you wish to play, and
more likely to be on the same page. check with the GM to make sure this template can be
used for your specific animal. Each template has a cost
in Character Points. That cost is what you will have to
Story Points subtract from your total number of Character Points.
After youve created your character and the Once you have paid the cost, you will get all the Animal
campaign has begun, youll still be able to increase Abilities, minimum Characteristics, and Talents that are
your characters Attributes and even add new ones. listed in the template.
This reflects your characters ability to learn, develop, In certain cases, the GM might allow you to select a
and grow, and its made possible with the use of Story template but subtract the cost of either an Animal Ability
Points. Generally, the GM awards Story Points to each or Characteristic points. For example, if you wanted to
character after every session of play, although some play a hawk Zoic who was born lame and unable to fly,
may choose to award them at the end of a story arc, or an elephant Zoic who was sickly and weak, you would
which could consist of several play sessions. deduct the cost of Flight or a few points of Strength and
A typical Story Point award ranges between 1-3 Vigor from the total point cost of the template.
points per session, depending on how challenging Adding chimerical Animal Abilities to a template,
the GM deemed the adventure. Bonuses of +1-2 such as Flight to a lion Zoics template, should generally
Story Points can be awarded to players for excellent be avoided. Such additions should only be allowed under
roleplaying, particularly creative problem-solving, or very special circumstances and only with the express
other contributions that greatly increased the enjoyment permission of the GM. Such mutations are possible but
of the game for everyone. Additionally, GMs might they are extremely rare. Further, such chimeras would be
wish to award a Story Completion Bonus of +1-3 Story considered abominations and ostracized from ordinary
Points after the conclusion of a major story arc. society.
Story Points can be used in a few ways. First and Every Animal Template also lists the Maximum
foremost, they function exactly like Character Points Characteristic Ranking that Zoic can achieve as well as
and are used to increase or purchase Attributes a range of Characteristic Rankings for an average adult
(Characteristics, Animal Abilities, Talents, Skills, and Zoic of that type. Even though most of the templates
Advantages). These points are often called Experience cover a very wide range, a few will possess remarkable
Points in other systems. Unlike ordinary Experience natural ability. Because of this, GMs should carefully
Points, however, Story Points can allow you to alter review all characters to see if that Zoic will fit with the
events in the campaign, thus their name. They can be campaign they have in mind. Below is an explanation of
spent to save your character from imminent death, or the various Animal Template fields.
allow a crucial roll of Action Dice to result in automatic
success, or even allow minor story changes at certain Point Cost
pivotal moments that would propel the story forward This is the total cost in Character Points of the
in a heroic, humorous, or otherwise cinematic way. Animal Template. Simply subtract this cost from your
Story Points should not be used to gain successes base number of Character Points, and then fill in
on Action Dice on a point-per-point basis. If you are the base Characteristic minimums, Animal Abilities,
using the optional Fumble Rule, Story Points could be Talents, and Drawbacks (if any) in the appropriate
used to negate a single Fumbled dice roll, turning it spaces on your character sheet.
into a simple failed action. But GMs should be careful
not to allow Story Points to become magic reset or easy Description
buttons. That is not their purpose. Players should, in
general, succeed or fail based on their own merits and This briefly describes the Zoic, including general
attitude, demeanor, and disposition. Keep in mind

Basic Compendium
49
BOOK ONE Chapter III: Character Creation

that this describes the typical Zoic of this type. You template next to the Characteristic so you can compare
are of course free to role-play your Zoic however you your character to a typical Zoic of that type. Zoics may
wish. This description will simply give you some idea not exceed the Maximum Characteristic Ranking given
of how the rest of Drdni society generally views this in their template.
particular Zoic.
Animals that preferred a certain type of habitat Lifespan
will generally be drawn to professions that place their Zoics have either short, average, or long lifespans.
Zoic counterparts in those habitats. For example, Short lifespans are 40 years, average lifespans 80 years, and
marine animals such as seals, manatees, otters, seagulls, long lifespans 160 years. All Zoics are typically considered
pelicans, sea turtles, and crocodiles are more likely to be to have reached maturity by the age of thirteen. Zoics
sailors, fishermen, pearl divers, or river boatmen than younger than this are viewed as children and could be
other types of Zoics. eligible to take a Social Drawback (juvenile).
This also holds true for animals that exhibited a It is also possible for very young or incredibly
certain type of behavior. Thus, predatory species such aged Zoics to take Physical Drawbacks to reflect either
as tigers, wolves, hawks, and komodo dragons are more underdeveloped traits or infirmities. As a result of healthy
likely to be soldiers than non-predatory Zoics. In general, living or through magical means some Zoics can live longer
if an animal is known for a specific behavioral trait than their average lifespan but this is rare. In general, a
(stubbornness, aggressiveness, skittishness, etc.) chances Zoic in the final twenty five percent of its lifespan would be
are its Zoic will similarly be known for that trait. There considered an elder in Drdni society.
are always exceptions to the rule, of course, but dont be
surprised if everyone expects your wolverine Zoic to be Height Range
short-tempered and quarrelsome.
This shows the Zoics adult height range. If your
Zoic is a juvenile (see above), it is possible to go below
Characteristics this range. Going above the range, however, should
These are the base Rankings of your Zoics only happen with special permission from the GM.
Characteristics. If you wish, you can raise your
Characteristics above the base numbers by simply paying Weight Range
more Character Points. Characteristics have different
costs depending on whether they are considered Combat This lists your Zoics adult weight range. Choosing
or Non-Combat (see Characteristics beginning on page 99 a weight below or above this range would indicate either
for the proper costs). a very skinny or very fat Zoic. In such cases, it might be
appropriate to take a Physical Drawback to reflect that
Using those same values for Characteristic costs, condition.
you may also lower a Characteristic below the base
number and use those Character Points for other Animal Abilities
Attributes. Make sure youre getting the correct number
of Character Points back if you lower one of your This field lists the Animal Abilities that a Zoic of this
Characteristics. There are average ranges listed on the type will typically possess, as well as the Characteristic
(if any) to which it is linked. These links, written in

50
parentheses, will help you determine the number of Maximum Characteristic Rankings. This is not a cost
Action Dice youll roll whenever you use the ability. the player must pay, it is simply a guideline to building
Additionally, some templates will list Animal balanced templates. A Zoics Maximum Characteristic
Abilities in parentheses along with the name of a Ranking should not exceed 12. GMs should keep in
specific type of Zoic. These are abilities that a Zoic of mind that there is a different cost associated with Combat

Chapter III: Character Creation


that particular type would normally possess, but whose and Non-Combat Characteristics (see Characteristics on
costs have not been included in the template. Players page 99 for a full explanation of their cost).
who wish to create the type of Zoic mentioned in Minimum Rankings for each of the nine
parentheses should add the costs of those additional Characteristics would also need to be assigned. Every
Animal Abilities to their template. Animal Template has a cost of 36 Character Points
Example: Eric decides he wants to build a polar assigned to its Minimum Characteristic Rankings,
bear Zoic. He consults the Animal Template for which are assigned by the GM. These points are factored
a large bear. That particular template lists a polar into the total cost of the template. Racial Characteristic
bear entry in parentheses, and includes the Animal averages should be approximated by comparing the
Abilities Hold Breath and Swimming. Eric must new template to similar Animal Templates. Average
add the costs of both of those Animal Abilities to the Characteristic Ranges should cover no more than a 3
total cost of the bear template in order for his polar point spread.
bear Zoic to possess those abilities.
The same procedure would then be done
Racial Talents with Animal Abilities and Talents. The GM would
add whatever Animal Ability or Talent he deemed
This lists the Talents (if any) that the Zoic will appropriate for that Zoic and add the cost of those
typically possess. The subsection titled Suggested Talents Attributes to the cost of the template. Finally, if the
will sometimes list optional Talents that a GM might GM felt that some Racial Drawbacks were required,
wish to include, but whose costs have not been factored hed include them in the template as well and then
into the cost of the template. GMs should feel free to add subtract those points from the total cost of the template.
these or any additional Talents they feel are appropriate The final cost is what the player would pay in order to
for the Zoic by simply adding the cost of those new buy that template.
Talents to the total cost of the Animal Template.
Example: A GM decides to build a wolf Zoic
Animal Template. He starts by assigning 36 Character
Racial Drawbacks Points to the Minimum Characteristic Rankings
This field lists the Drawbacks, as well as their for the wolf. He assigns the following Minimum
values, that the Zoic should normally take. The GM Characteristics: Strength 4, Vigor 3, Agility 3, Dexterity
can allow you to drop a particular Drawback with 2, Essence 1, Perception 3, Wit 2, Will 2, Presence 3.
This cost of 36 points is added to the cost of the Animal
proper justification. The number of Character Points Template. Next he assigns 132 Character Points to
youd normally receive for the Drawback has already the Maximum Characteristic Rankings for the wolf.
been reflected in the cost of the Animal Template. If He assigns the following Maximum Characteristics:
you drop a Drawback, the cost of the template would Strength 9, Vigor 10, Agility 9, Dexterity 9, Essence
go up by the corresponding number of points. 10, Perception 10, Wit 10, Will 8, Presence 10. This
As with Talents, there is a subsection titled Suggested cost of 132 points, however, is NOT added to the
Drawbacks that will sometimes list optional Drawbacks cost of the Animal Template, its simply a way to
keep templates balanced. After this, the GM adds the
that might be appropriate for the Zoic, but whose costs following Animal Abilities: Body Armor, Distance
were not factored into the total cost of the template. Running, Keen Hearing, Natural Weaponry (claws
If players wish to take any or all of the Drawbacks and teeth), Night Vision, and Tracking Scent all at
listed in this subsection, they simply need to deduct base level for a total of 22 Character Points. This total
the Character Point value of the Drawback from the is added to the cost of the Animal Template. The
overall cost of the template (see the Drawback Severity GM then decides to add one level each of the Talents
Table on page 192 for the proper general values). Empathy and Heightened Awareness for a cost of
10 points. This total is also added to the cost of the
Creating Templates Animal Template. Finally, the GM decides to include
the Physical Drawback: Night-Time Colorblindness,
Even though they cover a wide variety, not every which deducts 3 Character Points from the total cost
animal is represented in the Animal Templates. GMs of the Animal Template. The wolf Zoic template
may therefore wish to create additional templates. The is now complete. Any player who wishes to play a
important thing to shoot for is for every template to be wolf Zoic must pay 65 Character Points in order to
balanced in terms of Character Points. purchase that particular Animal Template.
All Animal Templates assign Characteristic For even more details and suggestions concerning
Maxima for each of the Zoics nine Characteristics. this process, including a blank Animal Template for you
Every template has a total of 132 Character Points in to use, please see pages 326-329 in the Appendices.

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Chapter III: Character Creation

Paksin

The Paksin are a noble and proud people. Although their numbers are concentrated
in the realms of Rkbar and Amnol, they can be found living in every nation of
Drdnah. The Paksin nobility of the western amns have a reputation for arrogance,
believing themselves better than other jnah because of their ability to fly. Paksin
living in other parts of the world have learned to temper this arrogance in an effort
to achieve amiable relations with non-Paksin. Dar-Purm has a large population
of seabirds, many of which pursue military careers. Preferring lofty perches and high
places, many Paksin communities can be found in the upper reaches of great trees or
rocky aeries, such as the great Fortress of Mar-Jaheen built into the northern spires of
the Khunamani Mountains.

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Sarpah

Sarpah live primarily in the warmer northern climes of Drdnah, their cultures
having flourished in the lush, verdant jungles. Their peoples, however, can be found
as far south as Magr where some Sarpah enjoy the dryer, cooler climate. The rest of
the world distrusts many of the northern Sarpah nations. Despite the fact that over
a thousand years have passed since the Twilight Wars, non-Sarpah nations have
not forgotten the horrors that swept down from the north during that terrible age.
Neither do they forgive the Sarpahs worship of Nagamssa, who is known by non-
Sarpah as Amasrah, the Mother of Demons.

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Vajrah

The most prolific of the three races, Vajrah dominate over half of the realms
of the world. From the great Gajah of Hthiyar, who strive to abolish slavery for
all of jnahkind, to the reclusive bats of Klinrh, who keep their sorceries locked
away from prying eyes, the Vajrah of Drdnah are numerous and varied. While
being heavily populated, it has only been in the last several hundred years that the
central and eastern Vajrah nations have risen to prominence. The Amn of Sustrm,
whose ruling class of feline jnah conquered the former Paksin-ruled provinces
during the Twilight Wars, is most extreme example of Vajrah military expansion
and ambition.

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Characteristics For a further understanding of what the
different Characteristics represent, here is a
All characters have nine Characteristics: description of each:
Strength, Vigor, Agility, Dexterity, Essence,
Perception, Wit, Will, and Presence. These traits Strength

Chapter III: Character Creation


define your Zoics inherent physical and mental
abilities. Characteristics have a Ranking that The characters overall muscle power. It is used
ranges from 1 to 12, with 1 representing minimal to determine how much damage your character
natural ability and 12 being the maximum a Zoic can inflict in melee combat, and how much he can
can achieve. During character creation, the cost lift and throw. Warriors and wrestlers would likely
of raising a Characteristics Ranking by 1 is 2 have a high Strength.
Character Points for a Combat Characteristic, and The Strength Table shows the amount of weight
1 Character Point for a Non-Combat Characteristic. a character can deadlift and carry for a few steps. In
Combat Characteristics are Strength, Vigor, order to determine how far a character can throw
Agility, Dexterity, and Essence. Non-Combat an object, simply subtract the Strength required
Characteristics are Perception, Wit, Will, and to lift the object from the characters Strength
Presence. Characteristic and multiply whatever is left by 3
Characteristics must not exceed the Zoics yards. This assumes a standing throw. The distance
Maximum Characteristic Ranking given in the should be doubled for a running throw.
Animal Template, nor should they exceed the Example: A muskox Zoic with a 10 Strength
Maximum Attribute Ranking allowed by the Power wants to throw a wooden cart. According to the
Level except with the GMs permission. The only Strength Table, it takes a 6 Strength just to lift the
cart. That leaves 4 Strength left over, which when
exception is if the Animal Template allows a higher multiplied by 3 yards gives a total of 12 yards.
Minimum Ranking for the Characteristic than the Thats the distance that the muskox Zoic could
Power Level would normally allow. Examples of
this would be an elephants Strength or a rabbits
Agility. The GM, however, has the final say in all STRENGTH TABLE
cases.
Lift
Once the campaign has begun, you may Ranking Capacity Example
increase your Characteristics by spending Story
(lbs)
Points. After character creation, you may only
raise a Characteristic one point at a time, and the 0 20 Cask
cost in Story Points is equal to the current value
of that Characteristic. So if you had a Strength 1 50 Chest
Ranking of 6 and wished to raise it to 7, youd have
to pay 6 Story Points in order to do that. Raising Barrel
Characteristics during the campaign should only 2 70 (Empty)
be allowed with a good role-playing justification,
such as continuous study in order to increase Wit, 3 100 Hay Bale
or rigorous physical training to increase Strength or
Vigor. You may never raise a Characteristic beyond 4 150 Rickshaw
the Maximum Characteristic Ranking indicated
on your Animal Template. 5 200 Table
Raising a Characteristic once the campaign
has begun has a significant effect on your other 6 300 Cart
Attributes. Raising a Characteristic by one point also
raises the maximum possible value of any Talent or 7 400 Barrel (Full)
Advantage linked to that Characteristic. The actual
Ranking of the Talent or Advantage, however, does 8 600 Rowboat
not increase automatically. If you want to raise the
Ranking of the Talent or Advantage by an equal 9 800 Sm. Wagon
number, then youd have to spend additional Story
Points. This is not the case with Animal Abilities 10 1200 Sailboat
and Skills. Raising a Characteristic by one point
actually raises the Ranking of the linked Animal 11 1600 Lg. Wagon
Ability or Skill by an equal number. Please note that
at no time may any Skill, Animal Ability, Talent, or 12 2400 Carriage
Advantage have a value greater than 12.

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Chapter III: Character Creation
throw the cart. If the Zoic performed a running Essence Cost: 2 Character Points for every 1 point
throw, he could hurl the cart an impressive 24 of Essence at character creation; afterwards, the cost in
yards. Story Points to raise Essence by 1 point is the current
These throwing distances are for objects that Essence Ranking.
were not meant to be thrown. Distances for thrown
weapons, such as knives, javelins, spears, etc., are Perception
listed with those weapons in the Combat chapter. The degree to which the character is aware of
BOOK ONE

Strength Cost: 2 Character Points for every 1 his immediate surroundings and how quickly he
point of Strength at character creation; afterwards, can process that sensory information. Its used to
the cost in Story Points to raise Strength by 1 point determine your characters Action Dice for any
is the current Strength Ranking. task that requires the use of his senses or to detect
ambushes and surprise attacks. Hunters and honor
Vigor guards should have excellent Perception.
The characters health, endurance, and Perception Cost: 1 Character Point for every 1
toughness. It helps determines how easily your point of Perception at character creation; afterwards,
character is damaged in combat, how resistant he is the cost in Story Points to raise Perception by 1
to disease, or how long he can exert himself. Long point is the current Perception Ranking.
distance runners and swimmers would have a high
Vigor. Wit
Vigor Cost: 2 Character Points for every 1 This measures a characters capacity for
point of Vigor at character creation; afterwards, the knowledge, his ability to recollect facts, and his
cost in Story Points to raise Vigor by 1 point is the overall mental acuity. It represents a combination
current Vigor Ranking. of common sense as well as education. Its used to
determine your characters Action Dice for any tasks
Agility that requires a use of intelligence and reasoning
The characters speed, nimbleness, and reaction ability. Teachers and philosophers should have a
time. It is used to determine your characters Action high Wit.
Dice in melee combat, or with any tasks which Wit Cost: 1 Character Point for every 1 point
require litheness, bodily grace, or reaction time. of Wit at character creation; afterwards, the cost in
Acrobats, dancers, and contortionists would have Story Points to raise Wit by 1 point is the current
a high Agility. Wit Ranking.
Agility Cost: 2 Character Points for every 1
point of Agility at character creation; afterwards, Will
the cost in Story Points to raise Agility by 1 point is This represents a characters willpower and
the current Agility Ranking. sense of self. It is used to determine your characters
Action Dice for any task that tests his nerve,
Dexterity determination, or his ability to resist any type of
The characters hand-eye coordination and fine suffering or hardship. Military leaders and spies
motor skills. It is used to determine your characters would possess strong Wills.
Action Dice in any sort of ranged combat, or with Will Cost: 1 Character Point for every 1 point
any tasks that require fine manipulation ability. of Will at character creation; afterwards, the cost in
Doctors, artisans, and musicians should have a Story Points to raise Will by 1 point is the current
high Dexterity. Will Ranking.
Dexterity Cost: 2 Character Points for every 1
point of Dexterity at character creation; afterwards, Presence
the cost in Story Points to raise Dexterity by 1 point A combination of physical beauty, charm,
is the current Dexterity Ranking. personality, and bearing. It is used to determine
your characters Action Dice for any tasks that
Essence require him to impress, intimidate, or otherwise
This attribute represents a characters spiritual and emotionally affect others around him. Actors and
magical strength, his ability to affect the Dream Realm, ambassadors would likely have a high Presence.
and to resist mystical attacks. It is used to determine Presence Cost: 1 Character Point for every 1
your characters Action Dice with magical rituals and point of Presence at character creation; afterwards,
his effectiveness at manipulating arcane energies. the cost in Story Points to raise Presence by 1 point
Sirhibasi and mngai should have a high Essence. is the current Presence Ranking.

100
Animal Abilities
The best thing about being a Zoic is getting
all those cool abilities: claws, wings, spines, special
senses, venom. Thats half the fun of playing

Chapter III: Character Creation


an anthropomorphic animal character. Animal
Abilities are a Zoics innate animal traits. The
Ranking assigned to your Animal Ability represents
the number of Action Dice you will use when
attempting to use that ability. This section allows
you to familiarize yourself with the Animal Abilities
included in your template. You can adjust your
abilitys Ranking if you wish, purchase additional
abilities if your GM deems it appropriate, or possibly
even buy off an ability if allowed.
The Animal Abilities Table on the following
page lists all the abilities, their type, their cost in
Character Points (initial cost/cost to raise the
Ranking by 1 point), and the Characteristic to
which the ability is linked. Remember, the number
of Action Dice you get to use for your Animal
Abilities is initially equal to the Ranking of the
linked Characteristic. Therefore, if your Zoic had
Natural Weaponry, which is linked to Agility, and
your Agility score was 6, youd get 6 Action Dice
whenever you used your Natural Weaponry.
You can choose to either keep your Animal
Abilities at their base value or buy them up using
additional Character Points. With the exception of
Aquatic, Body Armor, Protective Lids, and Venom,
the cost of raising an Animal Ability is 2 Character
Points per 1 level of increase. Neither Aquatic nor
Protective Lids has a value to raise, and the value of
Body Armor and Venom is raised at a higher cost
(detailed in the abilities descriptions).
If you feel that the Animal Abilities included
in your Animal Template do not adequately reflect
the Zoic you wish to play, you should discuss that
with the GM who may allow you to purchase
additional abilities. Likewise, if you wanted to buy
off or reduce some of the abilities in your template
to better fit your backstory, perhaps because of
an injury or birth defect, or simply because you
never developed an ability to the level listed on the
Animal Template, you could also discuss that with
your GM. If an Animal Ability is bought off or
reduced to a lower level, you would simply deduct
the cost of the ability from your Animal Template
and would add those points to your remaining
Character Points to use as you see fit.
As mentioned earlier, adding chimerical
abilities to a Zoic (such as flight to a lion) should
almost never be done. These chimeras do exist
in Drdnah but they are extremely rare and are
considered blasphemous abominations. These
characters would never be tolerated in ordinary
society, and would likely be killed.

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Chapter III: Character Creation

ANIMAL ABILITIES TABLE


Animal Ability Type Cost Characteristic Link
Aquatic Adaptive 3/0 N/A
Blinding Attack Offensive 3/2 Dexterity
BOOK ONE

Body Armor Defensive 5/5 N/A


Body Pouch Other 2/2 N/A
Bounding Movement 3/2 Agility
Change Color Defensive 3/2 Will
Clinging Movement 3/2 Strength
Digging Movement 3/2 Strength
Discriminatory Taste Sensory 3/2 Perception
Distance Running Movement 3/2 Vigor
Dual Focal Point Sensory 3/2 Perception
Echo Location Sensory 3/2 Perception
Extensile Tongue Other 3/2 Dexterity
Far Sight Sensory 3/2 Perception
Flight Movement 5/2 Agility
Gliding Movement 3/2 Agility
Gnawing Teeth Other 3/2 Strength
Great Leap Movement 3/2 Strength
Hibernation Adaptive 2/2 Vigor
Hold Breath Adaptive 2/2 Vigor
Hovering Movement 2/2 Vigor
Keen Hearing Sensory 3/2 Perception
Musk Spray Defensive 5/2 Dexterity
Natural Weaponry Offensive 5/2 Agility
Night Vision Sensory 3/2 Perception
Prehensile Limb Other 3/2 Dexterity
Protective Lids Adaptive 3/0 N/A
Silent Flight Movement 2/2 Agility
Spines Defensive 5/2 Agility
Sprint Movement 3/2 Vigor
Swimming Movement 3/2 Agility
Thermal Regulation Adaptive 2/2 Vigor
Thermal Sensing Sensory 3/2 Perception
Tracking Scent Sensory 3/2 Perception
Venom Offensive 5/8/10 N/A
Water Storage Adaptive 2/2 Vigor
Wide Peripheral Sensory 3/2 Perception

102
Raising Animal Abilities The cost for each Armor Point of Body Armor is
5 Character Points. The value of natural Body Armor
Once the game begins, you may increase can be raised within the limits established in the Armor
your Animal Abilities by expending Story Points. Point table. The cost of raising Body Armor 1 point
Generally, the cost of raising an Animal Ability is is always 5 Character Points. This ability has no dice

Chapter III: Character Creation


2 Story Points per 1 level of increase, but there are associated with its use.
a few exceptions. Please consult the Animal Abilities
Table for the exact cost. Animal Abilities may not The table below shows the Armor Point range
have a value greater than 12. recommended for various animals, though the animal
template you have chosen should provide specifics.
Animal Ability Descriptions Under no circumstances should a Zoic ever be allowed
to exceed the Armor Point limitations established in
Aquatic (n/a) this table. GMs should carefully monitor the purchase
of Body Armor as it can result in very tough combat
This Animal Ability requires the Zoic to characters.
have already purchased Hold Breath. Aquatic is
a modifier to Hold Breath rather than an actual
adaptive power in and of itself. Aquatic Zoics can
triple the amount of time they are able to hold their Animal Type Armor Points
breaths using the Hold Breath Animal Ability (see Alligator/Crocodile 2-4
Hold Breath for details). Unless allowed by the GM, Bear 1-3
only truly aquatic animals (those that can hold their Cape Buffalo 2-3
breath for 15 minutes or more) should be allowed to Elephant 2-4
purchase this ability. This includes such animals as
sea turtles, frogs, salamanders, sea snakes, penguins, Pangolin/Armadillo 2-4
cormorants, seals, and walruses. This Animal Ability Rhino 3-5
has neither a value to be raised nor dice associated Tiger/Lion 1-2
with its use. Turtle 3-6
Aquatic Cost: 3 Character Points. Walrus/Seal 1-2

Blinding Attack (Dexterity) Body Armor Cost: 5 Character Points for
A Zoic with this ability can briefly blind an every 1 point of Body Armor.
opponent. This ability covers a wide variety of different
animal attacks, such as the blood squirting ability of Body Pouch (n/a)
horned toads, or the spitting ability of camels, or the A Zoic with this Animal Ability has a natural
ability of spitting cobras (who would also have the pouch of some kind somewhere on its body. These
Venom Animal Ability). However, it could also be could include cheek, belly, or throat pouches (to
used to simulate a quick whip attack with a tail, or name some common ones). The character may store
perhaps a flurry of wing feathers to the face. objects in the pouch such as food, crystals, weapons,
An opponents eyes must be specifically targeted or other such items.
at a 2 penalty to the Blinding Attack Action Dice. Every level in this ability allows a characters
If the attack is successful, the target is blinded for a pouch to store up to 4 cubic inches or up to 5 pounds
number of actions equal to the number of successes of weight. Body pouches should not be able to store
rolled on the Action Dice, unless the target has some much more than 2 cubic feet of space or much more
form of eye or facial defense such as Protective Lids than 30 pounds, whichever is smaller.
or a face plate (for the effects of blindness see Blind Body Pouch Cost: 2 Character Points for every
Fighting, page 223). level of Body Pouch.
Blinding Attack Cost: 3 Character Points for the
initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional Bounding (Agility)
level of Blinding Attack. This movement ability allows a Zoic to travel by
performing a series of long leaps. Every level in this
Body Armor (n/a) ability allows the Zoic to travel 20 feet per Round.
Zoics with Body Armor have a tough hide, thick Furthermore, every level allows the Zoic to leap 1 foot
fur, or a shell that naturally helps protect them from of height or 3 feet of length without effort. Thus, a Zoic
physical attacks. For every Armor Point of Body Armor, with 5 levels of Bounding is capable of traveling 100
characters deduct one level from any damage taken. It feet per Round and would be able to clear any obstacles
is possible for natural Body Armor to soak up enough less than 5 feet in height or 15 feet in length. Bounding
damage so that no levels of damage are suffered at all. follows the same rules as standard Running as far as

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Vigor limitations for time are concerned (see General Zoic may continuously dig for as many minutes as
Movement in the Combat chapter, pages 221-222). their Vigor Ranking, after which the Zoic must rest
Bounding Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial for an equal number of minutes.
ability; 2 Character Points for ever additional level of A Partial Success means the Digging rate is halved,
Bounding. whereas a failure means the Zoic has hit an impassable
substance. A Fumble could mean the Zoic has
Change Color (Will) unearthed something potentially dangerous, caused a
BOOK ONE

This is the classic chameleon power, the ability for a cave-in, or otherwise failed beyond expectation.
Zoic to change its skin color to match its surroundings. Digging Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
This ability allows Zoics to change both the color and the ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level
simple pattern of their skin. If someone is attempting to of Digging.
see a Zoic that is using the Change Color ability, they
must make an Opposed Roll using whatever Perception Discriminatory Taste (Perception)
ability is appropriate against the targets Change Color A Zoic with this ability possesses an incredibly acute
ability. If the searcher scores more successes, then the sense of taste, and is able to detect and differentiate
target is detected, otherwise the target remains unseen. among many various substances in or on food, drink,
Depending on the surroundings the Zoic is or clothing (as well as a variety of other surfaces).
attempting blend into, the GM may assign penalties In addition, the character can taste the air for the
or bonuses to the Change Color Action Dice. The presence of various forms of jnah, suthra, or flora that
Zoic must use the Change Color ability prior to being may give off smells too subtle for a nose to detect.
seen because once someone knows the Zoic is there This ability is very useful when employed in
the ability has no effect (you cannot vanish into the conjunction with some of the various Knowledge
woodwork with this ability), though the skins color still Skills. Zoics with Discriminatory Taste do not take the
changes. normal penalties assigned to taste Perception Rolls (see
Change Color Cost: 3 Character Points for the Perception Roll, page 37) for strong or overpowering flavors
initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional and would even gain bonuses when trying to detect weak
level of Change Color. or faint flavors.
Discriminatory Taste Cost: 3 Character Points
Clinging (Strength) for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every
A Zoic with this ability can cling to the surface additional level of Discriminatory Taste.
of walls, ceilings, trees, etc., for extended periods of
time. Adjustments for surface type (vine-covered tree Distance Running (Vigor)
trunks as opposed to slime-coated smooth walls, for A Zoic with this ability can run for a prolonged
example) or atmospheric conditions (gusts of wind, period of time at the Running rate for standard
torrential downpours, etc.) should be factored in when movement distance (see General Movement in the
determining if a Zoic can successfully use this ability. Combat chapter, page 221-222). A distance runner can
GMs may wish to add a bonus or a penalty ranging maintain this standard running pace for an hour for
from 1-3 Action Dice depending on the situation. ever level in Distance Running. Thus, a Zoic with a
While clinging to a surface, a character may move Distance Running Ranking of 6 would be able to run
at the normal rate per Round. A Partial Success for 6 hours without resting. Once this time has elapsed,
means that the Zoic cannot find enough handholds characters must rest for an equal number of hours
or footholds to move at all, but remains clinging to the before they can continue using Distance Running. A
surface. No successes indicate the Zoic is incapable of Zoic with this ability can cover long distances on foot in
holding on to the desired surface, which could result half the time it would normally take a walking traveler
in a damaging fall. to cover the same distance.
Clinging Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial Distance Running Cost: 3 Character Points
ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level of for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every
Clinging. additional level of Discriminatory Taste.
Digging (Strength) Dual Focal Point (Perception)
Zoics with Digging can move large quantities of Zoics with this Animal Ability can move their eyes
earth in a relatively short amount of time with their around independent of one another in order to look
hands, feet, or teeth. For each success scored on their in two directions at once. These Zoics have the ability
Action Dice, a Zoic may move enough earth to allow to process two separate images at the same time using
its body (fitting length-wise in the tunnel) to move one each eye individually. The classic example of this, of
foot forward in the desired direction each minute. A course, is the chameleon.

104
Extensile Tongue (Dexterity)
Zoics with Extensile Tongue have the ability
to flick their tongues from their mouths and use
the sticky tip to grab small objects. The grabbing
range is equal to the Zoics height plus a number

Chapter III: Character Creation


of feet equal to the number of successes rolled
(rounded in the characters favor) on the Zoics
Action Dice.
A Zoic may attempt to lash out at the eyes
of an opponent in order to momentarily blind
them a number of actions equal to the number
of successes rolled on the Action Dice, unless the
target has some form of eye or facial defense such
as Protective Lids or a face plate (for the effects of
blindness see Blind Fighting, page 223). The Zoics
tongue, however, is highly susceptible to damage
and could be disabled or even severed during these
types of attacks (see the Maneuver Location Table for
penalties on attacks aimed at the head).
Extensile Tongue Cost: 3 Character Points
for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every
additional level of Extensile Tongue.

With this ability, the Zoic has a much wider field Far Sight (Perception)
of vision (up to 360 degrees in some cases) and may This ability allows a Zoic to see objects in great
use its Action Dice in Dual Focal Point as a Perception detail from long distances. A Zoic may make a
Roll to counter surprise attempts or to keep an eye Perception Roll using their Far Sight Action Dice
down a corridor while simultaneously observing the to clearly see any object up to a mile away with no
actions occurring in an adjacent room. penalties to their Perception Rolls (see Perception Roll,
Dual Focal Point Cost: 3 Character Points for the page 37). Moving objects are especially easy to spot
initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional at such distances with this ability, even exceptionally
level of Dual Focal Point. small ones. Inclement weather conditions as well as
distances greater than a mile should call for penalties
Echo Location (Perception) to the Action Dice as deemed appropriate by the
GM.
A Zoic with Echo Location emits a high-pitched
sound that bounces off surrounding objects and Far Sight Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
returns to the Zoic. This allows the Zoic to pinpoint ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level
the locations and identify the shapes of objects and of Far Sight.
obstacles in total darkness or when blinded (for the
effects of blindness see Blind Fighting, page 223). Flight (Agility)
Whereas this allows the Zoic to navigate and even Zoics with Flight possess wings of some sort
fight under such conditions, it does not allow the and have the ability to fly. Every level in this ability
Zoic to perceive any fine details such as color or allows the Zoic to travel 30 feet per Round. Flight
texture. The classic example of echo locators are only requires a Flight Skill Roll if it is a Contested
bats. Action (made under adverse conditions such as
Zoics with Echo Location (or Keen Hearing) through thick fog or during a storm, or while being
are able to make a Perception Roll using their attacked). Difficulty modifiers could also apply in
Echo Location (or Keen Hearing) Action Dice to such conditions. Strong winds could incur a penalty
detect the high-pitched sounds emitted by other of 1 or 2 to a characters Action Dice, whereas
echo locators. This can only be done if the target flying through a severe storm could result in a penalty
echo locator is using the Echo Location ability, of of 4 or 5.
course. Flying Zoics are capable of hovering in place for
Echo Location Cost: 3 Character Points for a very brief period of time. For every success scored
the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every on their Flight Action Dice, flying Zoics can hover
additional level of Echo Location. for an equal number of Combat Rounds before they
need to make a full move or risk having to land. Zoics

Basic Compendium
105
Chapter III: Character Creation
who wish to hover for longer periods of time should this damage occurs over an extended period of time,
purchase the Animal Ability Hovering. Flight follows making it less applicable to combat situations.
the same rules for Running as far as Vigor limitations Assuming that the GM rules a substance is capable
are concerned. Flying Zoics, however, may rest without of being gnawed, the character may gnaw through
needing to land by using thermals and updrafts to 1 cubic inch of the substance per success rolled per
glide and remain aloft. Round. Please note that a Zoic may not gnaw their
When comparing the skills of one flyer against way out of situations that should instead require
BOOK ONE

another, such as in a race or flying chases, merely digging or tunneling, in which case a Zoic could use
compare the successes of the Flight Rolls against one Digging if he possessed that Animal Ability.
another. If racing is the issue, the flier with the most Gnawing Teeth Cost: 3 Character Points for the
successes wins. In cases of pursuit, the flight continues initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional
until the GM decides, given the successes of each flier level of Gnawing Teeth.
over the number of Rounds the chase lasts, that the
target has either gotten away from his pursuer or the Great Leap (Strength)
pursuer has caught up to his target.
Zoics with this ability have legs and bodies suited
Flight Cost: 5 Character Points for the initial to incredibly powerful single jumps from either a
ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level standing position or from a full run or sprint. A
of Flight. Great Leap Roll is only required when the distance
being leaped is more than 10 feet. A 1 penalty is
Gliding (Agility) applied to the Action Dice for every additional ten
These Zoics have the ability to glide through use of feet after that. So for a 20 foot leap the Zoic would
flaps of skin that stretch from their arms to their legs. suffer a 1 penalty, 2 for a 30 feet leap, 3 for a
By leaping off a location that is high off the ground, a 40 foot leap, etc. Taking a running or sprinting start
character may cover a good distance through gliding. allows the character to actually add of their Agility
Every level in this ability allows the Zoic to travel 10 to their Action Dice and may offset any penalties
feet per Round. However, the glider must also drop 5 that might have been incurred, providing that there
feet of altitude every Round unless there is some sort is actually room to run. A Zoic making a vertical leap
of updraft to keep the Zoic aloft. A gliding Zoic can would halve the distances indicated above.
only gain altitude through the use of such updrafts Great Leap Cost: 3 Character Points for the
and wind currents. initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional
Rolling higher than two successes means that level of Great Leap.
the character was lucky enough to catch an updraft
(assuming there is one to catch) and may achieve an Hibernation (Vigor)
altitude just as high or higher than the starting point. Zoics with this Animal Ability are able to
A Partial Success indicates that the character loses the hibernate if they need to. Most Zoics with this
required altitude that Round. A Fumble indicates the ability will usually not have to rely upon it to
character has fallen to the ground incurring half the survive (in other words, most are able to live in a
standard falling damage. The GM should take into nice, warm place for the duration of a prolonged
account prevailing atmospheric and wind conditions winter). It is never necessary to hibernate unless
(storms, thermals, downdrafts, etc.) to determine any food is in such short supply that it becomes
bonuses or penalties that may apply to the Gliding necessary to conserve resources.
Action Dice.
Having this ability means that the Zoic may
Gliding Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial choose to enter a deep state of torpor in which the
ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level heart-rate, breathing, metabolism, and other bodily
of Gliding. functions slow down to such an extent that the
character will seem dead at first glance. A Zoic can
Gnawing Teeth (Strength) remain in this state for a number of weeks equal
Large, strong incisors allow the Zoic to chew to three times the number of successes rolled on
through things like rope, bamboo, wood, some chitin, their Hibernation Action Dice, as long as they are
hardened earth such as bricks, soft stones such as basalt in a somewhat sheltered location (a burrow, cave,
or limestone, and even body parts. Gnawing Teeth lean-to, tent, etc.) that keeps the elements at bay.
does not provide a Zoic the means to attack using a Zoics who are hibernating must awaken every
bite; the Zoic would have to buy Natural Weaponry 14 days in order to eat a little and perform other
in order to do that. However, once a foe is bitten or necessary bodily functions, but will otherwise use
if a target is incapacitated or bound, Gnawing Teeth up no meaningful resources (except a small amount
can cause damage equal to the successes rolled on of air) and may re-enter hibernation without any
the Gnawing Teeth Action Dice. It is assumed that further rolls. Such Zoics can survive long periods

106
of freezing cold or drought, famine, etc., that Perception Rolls (see Perception Roll, page 37) for such
would otherwise kill non-hibernating Zoics. situations. This ability is especially useful when trying
Hibernation Cost: 2 Character Points for to eavesdrop on private conversations in a noisy or
the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every distant location. It even allows Zoics to detect sounds
additional level of Hibernation. through walls or barriers less than a foot thick. They

Chapter III: Character Creation


are also able to detect and identify the source of a
Hold Breath (Vigor) distant sound (assuming theyve heard the sound
before) that others without this ability could not
Zoics with this ability may hold their breath even hope to hear. Additionally, Zoics with Keen
for a number of minutes equal to their Hold Hearing can hear the high-pitched sounds made by
Breath Ranking plus any successes rolled on their echo locators and can pin-point their location with a
Action Dice when the ability is used. Only after successful use of this ability.
these minutes have elapsed do characters begin
to suffer the effects of damage from drowning or As a general rule of thumb, if the targets are close
asphyxiation if they are unable to reach breathable enough that their mouths could be seen moving then
air. Until then, characters holding their breath the Zoic with this ability has the potential to hear the
may perform any underwater action allowed by sound as well. Distances longer than this could apply
the GM without worrying about catching a breath, penalties to the Action Dice. Other modifiers might
including swimming, combat, labor, etc. This be favorable gusts of wind that help carry sound to
ability is naturally quite useful underwater but can the Zoic, or particularly good acoustics (such as in a
also be used in instances where characters desire cave or a large domed structure).
to hold their breaths to escape poisonous fumes or Keen Hearing Cost: 3 Character Points for the
gases or to avoid breathing in scorching air. initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional
Hold Breath Cost: 2 Character Points for level of Keen Hearing.
the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every
additional level of Hold Breath. Musk Spray (Dexterity)
A Zoic with this ability can spray a strong,
Hovering (Vigor) odorous musk that can be used to fend off assailants
This is one of two Animal Abilities that require or to mark objects or places. The spray has a range in
the Zoic to have already purchased Flight. Hovering is yards equal to the Zoics Ranking in the Musk Spray
a modifier to Flight rather than an actual travel power ability. The spray can be used in succession a number
in and of itself. All Zoics with Flight have the ability of times equal to the Zoics Vigor before the reserves
to hover for several seconds (see Flight for details). of musk must be replenished at the rate of one use
Hovering allows the flying Zoic to perform this skill per hour. It is possible to affect multiple targets with
for several minutes at a time. Unless allowed by the the spray as long as the targets are grouped fairly close
GM, only Hummingbird Zoics should be allowed to together. As a rule of thumb, the maximum number
purchase this ability. of targets that can be affected should be equal to the
number of successes rolled on the Action Dice. Musk
Zoics with this ability may choose to hover by Spray is not a selective attack, so if allies are in close
rolling their Hovering Action Dice, counting their combat with targeted foes, they will be affected by the
total successes and adding that number to their Musk Spray as well.
Hovering Ranking. The final total is the number of
minutes the Zoic may hover in place before it must The musk will effectively Stun a target, which
rest for a full minute. Hovering of this sort is achieved means the target will lose a number of actions equal to
through the flapping of the Zoics wings and not the successes rolled on the Musk Spray Action Dice.
by the use of wind currents and updrafts. The GM Some of the targets senses will also be impaired for an
should take into account prevailing atmospheric equal number of actions. Targets suffer a penalty to all
and wind conditions to determine any bonuses or regular sight and scent-based Perception Rolls equal to
penalties that may apply either to the Action Dice or the number of successes rolled on the Action Dice. Note
to the amount of time the Zoic can hover. that certain senses, such as Echo Location and Thermal
Sensing, will not be affected by Musk Spray. A successful
Hovering Cost: 2 Character Points for the initial Vigor Roll will decrease the number of actions affected
ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level by half (rounding in the targets favor). All targets of
of Hovering. the musk will stink for a number of days equal to the
Keen Hearing (Perception) Ranking of Musk Spray unless bathed thoroughly in
some mixture that might neutralize the smell.
A Zoic with this ability can hear distant, faint,
low or high-pitched sounds, and can pick out distinct There is a social stigma attached to the use
sounds from noisy environments. These Zoics do of Musk Spray. Almost all Zoics find the musk
not take the normal penalties assigned to hearing incredibly offensive, not to mention that the means

Basic Compendium
107
Chapter III: Character Creation
of administering the musk is considered quite rude in temporarily blinded by sudden bright lights.
many cultures. A Zoic with Musk Spray will soon find Night Vision Cost: 3 Character Points for the
itself exiled to the wilds if they use this Animal Ability initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional
without constraint. Because of the debilitating effects level of Night Vision.
of Musk Spray, however, many Zoics who possess this
ability find themselves recruited as elite guards who Prehensile Limb (Dexterity)
specialize in crowd control or as assassins.
These Zoics have the ability to use their trunks or
BOOK ONE

Musk Spray Cost: 5 Character Points for the tails as manipulative limbs specifically adapted for seizing,
initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional grasping, or holding. A successful use of this Animal
level of Musk Spray. Ability assumes that the Zoic is able to manipulate objects
as if they were using their own hand.
Natural Weaponry (Agility)
The higher the Ranking in the ability, the more
Zoics with Natural Weaponry have horns, claws, finesse and control the Zoic is assumed to have. A low
teeth, tusks, fangs, or tails that they can use to inflict Ranking would allow the Zoic to perform very basic
additional damage when involved in unarmed melee feats of manipulation, such as clutching a stick. A high
combat. When this ability is purchased, the Zoic must Ranking would allow the Zoic much finer manipulation,
define the type of natural weapon (or weapons) it such as wielding a calligraphy brush or a lock-pick, or even
possesses. The Animal Templates will give the specific firing a weapon. Attacks made using Prehensile Limb
Natural Weapons applicable to that type of Zoic. incur a dice penalty of 2 unless the attacker has the
This ability is used in the same way as any Ambidexterity Talent. As with any ability, the number of
Combat Skill. Action Dice are rolled and the number successes rolled on the Action Dice are the best indicators
of successes dictates the level of damage suffered by of the degree of accuracy when using Prehensile Limb.
the target. See the Standard Weapon Ratings Table for Prehensile Limb Cost: 3 Character Points for the
the Natural Weaponry damage, which is based on the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional
strength of the Zoic. Natural Weaponry attacks may level of Prehensile Limb.
be used with attacks of other kinds within a Combat
Round as desired, providing the use of such attacks is Protective Lids (n/a)
appropriate.
Zoics with this ability have some sort of protective
Natural Weaponry Cost: 5 Character Points covering for their eyes. These are either inner lids
for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every (called nictitating membranes) common among
additional level of Natural Weaponry. amphibians, raptors, dromedaries, or marine animals,
or they could also represent the hard, clear covering
Night Vision (Perception)
A Zoic with Night Vision can see at night
or in very dim lighting as though it was an
overcast day. These Zoics do not take the normal
penalties assigned to sight Perception Rolls (see
Perception Roll, page 37) for night or darkness. This
assumes, however, that there is some residual
light available. A Zoic with Night Vision cannot
see in the absolute absence of light, such as in a
cave beyond the suns reflective or direct reach
(for the effects of blindness see Blind Fighting, page
223). The GM may choose to impose penalties,
however, on attempts at tasks such as reading or
other detail oriented visual perception feats using
Night Vision.
Zoics that may posses this ability include
nocturnal animals such as: fruit bats, flying
squirrels, bush babies, tarsiers, geckos, owls,
felines, crocodiles and alligators, opossums,
various shore-birds such as cranes and herons,
canines to some extent, frogs and toads.
Generally, any animal with exceptionally large
eyes, vertical-slit pupils, or specialized pupils that
can be dilated at will, has some degree of Night
Vision. Zoics with this Animal Ability may be

108
that protects the eyes of snakes. Protective Lids shield attack ability. If the Zoic is attacked, however, he
the Zoics eyes from environmental conditions such may defend using his Spines ability to attempt to
as water, strong winds, sand, or any other condition impale his attacker. The attacker must make an
that would normally irritate the eyes and cause Opposed Roll using whatever Action Dice he used
temporary blindness (for the effects of blindness see to attack. If the attacker rolls more successes, then

Chapter III: Character Creation


Blind Fighting, page 223). These Zoics take no penalties he manages to avoid the Spines. If the defending
to their Perception Rolls in such conditions. This spiny Zoic rolls more successes, then the attacker
does not mean, however, that they can see through has been impaled. The amount of damage and the
obstructions such as clouds, dust storms, or thick fog. number of spines suffered by the attacker is equal
Zoics with Protective Lids are immune to any blinding to the successes the defending Zoic scored above
attacks whose effects are negated by the lids. the attackers. Zoics using Spines as a defense must
Not all animals that would normally have have Actions available in order to use them in this
nictitating membranes need to purchase this ability. manner.
Zoics who do not purchase Protective Lids never really Spines and quills are usually barbed and so
developed the ability, thus forcing them to endure designed to hamper attempts at removing them.
having to close or continuously blink their eyes when Doing so will cause an additional point of Subdue
exposed to visual irritants. A roll of Action Dice is not Damage for each spine removed. Spines left in the
required to enact this Animal Ability; it is considered skin will cause inflammation and may eventually
to be an automatic response. This ability has no value cause serious infection.
to be raised. Spines Cost: 5 Character Points for the initial
Protective Lids Cost: 3 Character Points. ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level
of Spines.
Silent Flight (Agility)
This is second of two Animal Abilities that Sprint (Vigor)
require the Zoic to have already purchased Flight A Zoic with Sprint is able to run faster than
(although this ability can also be used with normal Vigor would allow for short periods of time.
Gliding). Like Hovering, Silent Flight is a modifier A Sprinting Zoic can run at a revised standard rate
to a movement ability rather than an actual travel of 30 feet plus their Ranking in their Sprint ability
power in and of itself. Zoics with this ability can fly multiplied by 6, for a number of Combat Rounds
or glide silently through the air. (6 seconds) equal to their Vigor. After that limit
Zoics can use this ability to sneak up on is reached, the Zoic will need to rest for a number
opponents or fly by undetected. If someone is of Combat Rounds equal to their Vigor before
attempting to hear a silent flyer, they must make an performing another Sprint. If the Zoic sprints for
Opposed Roll using whatever hearing Perception fewer Rounds, then they only need to rest an equal
ability is appropriate against the flyers Silent Flight number of Combat Rounds before Sprinting again.
ability. If the listener scores more successes, then the Sprinters, however, cannot Sprint indefinitely. As a
flyer is detected, otherwise the listener is unaware standard rule, a Zoic can only Sprint and rest a total
of the flyers presence (assuming the listener could number of times equal to their Vigor before they
not detect the flyer with another sense). must rest for a few hours.
Silent Flight Cost: 2 Character Points for When two Zoics with Sprint are racing, the
the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every racer with the most successes in Sprint wins. The
additional level of Silent Flight. GM, however, might wish to have the racers make
several rolls of their Action Dice and total the results
Spines (Agility) to reflect a longer race. If a Zoic with Sprint races
another without the Sprint ability, the distance
These Zoics possess sharp quills or scales that covered by the sprinting Zoic will still be 3 times
they can use to ward away would-be assailants. greater than the Zoics without Sprint despite the
Though these spines cannot be hurled, they will number of successes rolled by either Zoic.
pull easily away from the body of the Zoic if thrust
into the flesh of a victim or penetrable object, Sprint Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
remaining in the target and causing an amount ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level
of Fatal damage equal to the successes rolled on of Sprint.
the Spines Action Dice, minus the targets armor,
if any. The number of successes also indicates the Swimming (Agility)
number of spines imbedded in the target. Zoics with this ability were born with a natural
Zoics can use this ability to either attack or affinity for the water and are able to swim with
defend. If used offensively, the Zoic simply uses ease. Every level in this ability allows the Zoic to
the Action Dice in Spines as he would any other travel 10 feet per Round. The Zoic can swim for

Basic Compendium
109
Chapter III: Character Creation
a number of Combat Rounds equal to their Vigor hunting skills, and can give the Zoic information such
before needing to rest an equal number of Rounds. as the time someone or something was in a certain
A Swimming Roll will generally be required area, if the individual was wounded, etc. Since this
when performing potentially risky or dangerous ability relies so much on scent, the GM should assign
maneuvers while swimming or when swimming in bonuses for very powerful scents or penalties for
contest against another Zoic. factors such as time elapsed, strong winds, or the target
Swimming Cost: 3 Character Points for the crossing bodies of water.
BOOK ONE

initial ability; 2 Character Points for every additional Tracking Scent Cost: 3 Character Points for
level of Swimming. the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every
additional level of Tracking Scent.
Thermal Regulation (Vigor)
These Zoics have the ability to regulate their body Venom (n/a)
temperature in order to protect themselves from the A Zoic with Venom has the ability to generate
adverse effects of extreme climates. Steamy jungles, a deadly biological toxin. This toxic agent must be
blistering deserts, or freezing mountain winds have delivered to the target in some way, either insinuated
less of an effect on Zoics with Thermal Regulation. through the use of Natural Weaponry or a hand-
Examples of such adaptations would be the ears of an held weapon, or through skin-to-skin contact, or by
elephant, or the specially adapted layer of insulating having the target ingest the toxin, which could occur
fat found in some bears, seals, and walruses. Zoics if the venomous Zoic is bitten. The types of Venom
should roll this ability to determine if they are able to available are: Psychoactive, Paralytic, Necrotic, or
counteract any penalties they would normally suffer Systemic. Further, the first, second, and third levels
due to adverse temperatures. Every success rolled will of Venom are classified as Mild, the fourth and fifth
negate a 1 penalty to any of the Zoics Action Dice levels are classified as Strong, and the sixth level is
due to the extreme climate. classified as Potent. These various toxins will cause the
Thermal Regulation Cost: 2 Character Points effects listed in the Poison Effects Table listed on pages
for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every 241-242. A Zoics particular Venom and its delivery
additional level of Thermal Regulation. method is specified in its Animal Template.
The Zoics Ranking in Venom represents the
Thermal Sensing (Perception) strength of the particular toxin. A Zoic with 3 levels
A Zoic with Thermal Sensing can detect the heat in Venom (which would cost a total of 15 points)
from warm-blooded creatures. Zoics with this ability can cause 3 points of Fatal damage per Round for
are able to target warm-blooded opponents even if a total of 3 Rounds. A Zoic that wanted to have a
they are blinded or in complete darkness (for the level 6 Venom would need to spend a total of 41
effects of blindness see Blind Fighting, page 223). If a Character Points. No Zoic may purchase more than
Zoic only scores a Partial Success, he can use half of 6 levels of Venom. The number of effects from the
his Action Dice to attack the sensed target. Two or Poison Effects Table are based on the classification
more successes means that the Zoic can use all his of the Zoics Venom (Mild, Strong, Potent). A
Action Dice to attack. GMs may assign penalties or Partial Success on the attack to deliver the toxin
bonuses to the Thermal Sensing dice for various indicates that the venom does no damage and has
environmental conditions. It might be easier to no additional effects.
sense an opponents heat while in a colder climate, Zoics with this ability may also choose to extract
whereas it would be more difficult to do so in a their own toxin so that it may be used later in
blistering desert. various ways, such as to coat weapons for themselves
Thermal Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial or others. However, venom drawn from Zoics (or any
ability; 2 Character Points for every additional level other living creature or plant) will remain effective for
of Thermal Sensing. only a few days. Characters with specific knowledge
of poisons and venoms can preserve those toxins if
Tracking Scent (Perception) they make a successful Skill Roll using whatever Skill
A Zoic with this ability can detect and identify the is appropriate.
scent of an individual, creature, or object (assuming Venom Cost: 5 Character Points per level for
the object gives off some sort of scent), and can track the first three levels of Venom (1-3); 8 Character
that target with a successful Perception Roll using his Points per level for the next two levels (4-5); 10
Tracking Scent Action Dice. This ability also allows Character Points for the final level (6).
the character to scent the air for the presence of jnah,
suthra, or flora that may give off smells too subtle for Water Storage (Vigor)
untrained noses to pick up. This ability is very useful This ability allows the Zoic to go for long periods
when employed in conjunction with tracking and of time with little or no water without feeling the

110
effects of dehydration. When water is available, a Peripheral Vision Action Dice to make any Perception
Zoic with Water Storage need only drink enough Rolls using this ability. Further, these Zoics will tend
to replace what is missing from the body due to the to notice unusual or interesting details before other
efficiency with which water is stored internally. The Zoics who do not possess this ability.
Zoic also has the ability to quench its thirst with Wide Peripheral Vision Cost: 3 Character

Chapter III: Character Creation


salty or brackish water. In water-scarce climates or Points for the initial ability; 2 Character Points for
seasons, plants alone may provide the water a Zoic every additional level of Wide Peripheral Vision.
with this ability requires. The Zoic is able to resist the
effects of dehydration for a number of days equal to
the Ranking in Water Storage. No roll is required to Talents
use this ability but its value may be increased, thus Talents are considered a natural part of your
allowing a stronger resistance to dehydration. character, a gift or knack the character was born with
Water Storage Cost: 2 Character Points for that has been fostered and developed throughout
the initial ability; 2 Character Points for every the characters life. A Talent acts as a Bonus to other
additional level of Water Storage. existing Attributes. Purchasing a Talent allows you to
add a number of dice to your regular Action Dice in
Wide Peripheral Vision (Perception) certain circumstances. Some Talents give social bonuses,
This ability is possessed by Zoics whose eyes others add to certain Skills, while a few are very useful
are set wide enough on the head to allow them to in combat.
have up to a 270 degree field of view. This makes A few Animal Templates include Talents as part of
the Zoic much more difficult to sneak up on and their cost. You may, if you wish, buy up their initial value
surprise. GMs should assign bonuses between 1-3 or purchase other Talents. The Talent List table shows the
Action Dice to Zoics with Wide Peripheral Vision Characteristic Link for each Talent (if any) as well as its
when attempting to detect ambushes and surprise Character Point cost per level. A detailed description of
attacks, or when attempting to notice an enemy using each Talent is included in this section.
any form of stealth. The Zoic would use its Wide

TALENT LIST
Talent Link (maximum number of levels) Cost
Ambidexterity n/a 5
Combat Instinct n/a 10
Direction Sense (Perception) 5
Eidetic Memory (Wit) 5
Empathy (Essence) 5
Fast Reflexes (Agility) 5
Fearless (Will) 5
Heightened Awareness (Perception) 5
Immunity 3/Immunity 5
Keen Focus (Will) 5
Light Sleeper (Perception) 5
Mystic (Essence) 5
Natural Leader (Presence) 5
Natural Mimic (Perception) 5
Pain Resistance (Will) 5
Perfect Balance (Agility) 5
Serenity (Will) 5
Speed Reading n/a 5
Toughness n/a 10
Virtuoso (Wit) 5

Basic Compendium
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Chapter III: Character Creation
All Talents included in Animal Templates start to 1 level, Talented to 2 levels, Heroic to 3 levels, and
off with a Ranking of 1. You may choose to buy up the Legendary to 4 levels of Combat Instinct. GMs should
Ranking of these Talents with Character Points if you feel free to play with these limits but should be aware
wish. You could also, with the GMs permission, buy that a character with many levels of this Talent will be
off the Talent if you felt it was not appropriate for your incredibly formidable in combat.
character. Simply deduct the cost of the Talent from Combat Instinct Cost: 10 Character Points for
the total cost of the Animal Template. Costs for buying every level of Combat Instinct.
up Talents in-game, or purchasing new Talents, can be
BOOK ONE

found at the end of each Talent decription. Direction Sense (Perception)


Some Talents cannot be bought up beyond their basic A character with this Talent has an innate and
level. These Talents are: Ambidexterity, Speed Reading, uncanny sense of direction. Such a character rarely
and Toughness. Once you pay for these Talents, they give finds himself lost and can always tell where the cardinal
you their bonuses and do not offer any additional dice points lie. He is also able to tell if he is above or below
to your Action Dice. The Ranking of a Talent may never ground level.
be higher than its linked Characteristic, thus a character
with a Will Ranking of 4 may never purchase more than In situations where orientation is a factor, a player
4 levels of Keen Focus. can add his Direction Sense dice to any Action Dice
used for general navigation. This could help a character
It is important to note that if you wish your character find his way through maze-like passages, or travel
to be a spell-caster with access to Ritual Magic, you must successfully at night without the aid of the stars or
purchase the Mystic Talent. Take the time to familiarize familiar landmarks. Scouts, hunters, guides, trackers,
yourself with the uses and limitation of your chosen or miners would all benefit from Direction Sense.
Talents as they can greatly benefit your character in a
variety of situations. Direction Sense Cost: 5 Character Points for every
level of Direction Sense.
Talent Descriptions Eidetic Memory (Wit)
Ambidexterity (n/a) This Talent helps a character precisely recall
information or an event and all the details pertaining to
Characters with Ambidexterity were born with the it. Eidetic Memory dice can be used to aid Knowledge
ability to use all their limbs equally as effectively. Normally, Skills or boost other Wit-based Characteristic or Skill
when a character chooses to attack with an off hand (or Rolls that depend on the accurate recollection of
with a prehensile limb), they do so at a penalty and must specific facts or events.
deduct 2 dice from their Action Dice used for the attack.
Characters with Ambidexterity take no penalty. This is especially useful for spies who are often
called upon to acquire sensitive information. A spy
This Talent has no levels. Once the base cost has been with Eidetic Memory would have no need to steal secret
paid the character gets the full benefit of Ambidexterity. documents; he would simply need to read them and
Warriors of any kind would find this Talent incredibly hed be able to recall the details perfectly. This would
useful, especially since it is possible for a characters also apply to maps, charts, schematics, conversations, the
primary hand (limb) to be crippled in combat (see the arrangement of a room, or any other bit of information
Maneuver Location Effects section, pages 217-218). that the character with Eidetic Memory was capable of
Ambidexterity Cost: 5 Character Points for studying and understanding.
Ambidexterity. Eidetic Memory Cost: 5 Character Points for every
Combat Instinct (n/a) level of Eidetic Memory.
Characters with this Talent possess a high level of Empathy (Essence)
either natural or trained fighting ability. In combat, every Characters with this Talent have an innate ability
character has a base number of 2 Combat Actions that to sense the feelings and emotional states of other
add to the total number of actions a character may take sentient beings, even if those beings may be trying to
in any given Combat Round (for a full explanation of hide those feelings. Empathy does not make the specific
Combat Actions, see the Combat chapter). Characters reasons behind the emotions apparent, however, thus a
can increase their base number of Combat Actions by 1 character with this Talent would sense that the stranger
for every level of Combat Instinct they purchase. sitting near them was extremely nervous, scared, or
Although this Talent has no Characteristic Link to elated, but they would have no idea why.
limit its levels, GMs should carefully review characters A player could add his levels of Empathy to any
who take one or more levels of Combat Instinct. As Action Dice that would be boosted by knowing the
a general rule, Combat Instinct should be limited by emotional state of the target (Bribery, Conversation,
the campaigns Power Level. Low should be limited Diplomacy, Interrogation, Persuasion, etc.). Depending

112
on how close a performer was to his audience,
Empathy could also potentially be used to
boost an artistic performance.
Empathy Cost: 5 Character Points for
every level of Empathy.

Chapter III: Character Creation


Fast Reflexes (Agility)
This Talent represents the characters
ability to spring into action at a moments
notice. A player is able to add his levels of Fast
Reflexes to any non-combat use of Agility-
based Action Dice, providing the action would
benefit from the character reacting the fastest.
In combat, Fast Reflexes levels are always
added to the final Initiative total generated
by the player at the beginning of any Combat
Round.
Fast Reflexes Cost: 5 Character Points
for every level of Fast Reflexes.
Fearless (Will)
A character with this Talent can get
a boost to his Action Dice when facing
overwhelming odds, superior foes, or certain
death. The character is, simply put, fearless.
Examples where this might apply would be page 223). Some professions that would find this
attempting an impossible leap across a bottomless Talent incredibly useful would be spies, guards of all
chasm to rescue a comrade dangling from the other kinds, and assassins.
side. Or dashing into a burning building on the brink
of collapse to answer a cry for help. Or charging an Heightened Awareness Cost: 5 Character Points
army of elite guards in order to give your comrades a for every level of Heightened Awareness.
chance to escape.
Immunity (n/a)
The use of Fearless dice in any situation is totally at
the discretion of the GM, but it should be infrequent. Possessing this Talent means a character has
In every case, however, the odds of success should be been born with or has developed an immunity or
very slim or the feat being attempted should seem tolerance against some specific toxin, condition (such
positively suicidal in order for Fearless to apply. as environmental extremes), or disease. The particular
immunity must be specified when this Talent is
Fearless Cost: 5 Character Points for every level purchased, naming the poison type, disease, or toxic
of Fearless. substance to which the character is immune. Multiple
Immunities could be purchased if allowed by the GM.
Heightened Awareness (Perception)
Immunity has three levels, each one costs 5
Characters with this Talent are incredibly alert Character Points. For 5 points, the character is
and aware of the world around them. Heightened completely immune to any Mild toxin of a single
Awareness gives the character a better chance to notice type: Psychoactive, Paralytic, Necrotic, Systemic.
unusual events and react to them more swiftly. Levels Further, toxins of the same type that are classified as
of this Talent could add to Observation and Perception Strong or Potent are reduced in effect by one level.
Rolls (including Animal Ability special senses) required Thus, a Strong venom becomes Mild, and a Potent
by the GM to detect ambushes, surprise attacks, and venom becomes Strong. For 10 points, the character
enemies using stealth, or to help a character notice is immune to all Mild and Strong toxins of any single
something unusual or out of the ordinary, such as an type. Further, Potent venoms are reduced to Mild for
odd sound or smell, or a subtle change to a familiar purposes of effect. And finally for 15 points, a character
environment. is completely immune to any toxin of any single type.
In combat, GMs might allow a character to use In addition, a character may add 1 die for every level of
Heightened Awareness to help offset some of the Immunity to his Action Dice to resist any of the side
penalties associated with fighting in the dark or while effects of a more potent variety of the toxin to which he
blinded (for the effects of blindness see Blind Fighting, is immune. All damage caused by the toxin is reduced

Basic Compendium
113
Chapter III: Character Creation
by 1 for every level of the characters Immunity value. Ritual Skill for their characters. However, a beginning
As far as diseases and conditions go, 5 points will player at Low Power Level could choose to buy this
make the character completely immune to any single Talent and make it a hidden one, purchasing Magic
disease or condition. 10 points will grant the character Rituals later in the game as the character developed.
immunity to the most common diseases. And finally, Unlike other Talents, levels of Mystic may only be
15 points will make the character completely immune used as a bonus to Opposed Rolls, not as a boost to
to all diseases. Other substances characters might ordinary Magic Ritual Skill Rolls. This bonus, however,
BOOK ONE

develop immunities to could include: alcohol (15 applies to any use of magical Action Dice whenever
points would mean the character could never become they are being used to resist an opponents attack,
intoxicated), bacterial infections, viruses, fungal growths, overcome his defenses, or control a summoned entity.
or poisonous fumes. Whereas two sorcerers might possess an equal Ranking
Immunity Cost: 5 Character Points for every level in their Magic Ritual Skill, it would be the sorcerer
of Immunity up to a maximum of 3 levels. Immunity with more levels of Mystic Talent who would have
can be purchased multiple times. the definite advantage. Additionally, it is your Mystic
Talent that determines how many Magic Rituals you
Keen Focus (Will) are able to learn. Sorcerers may know 1 Magic Ritual
for every 2 levels of Mystic Talent they possess (for a full
This Talent allows a character to acutely focus his explanation of magic and Magic Rituals see the Ritual
concentration on a specific task in order to improve his Magic chapter).
chances at success. Keen Focus has a number of uses.
It could boost a characters Action Dice involved in Mystic Cost: 5 Character Points for every level of
any form of research or magical study. This is especially Mystic.
useful for spell-casters, who will often have a variety
of magic rituals at their disposal. Artisans, artists, and Natural Leader (Presence)
performers could also use Keen Focus to boost their Characters with this Talent are natural born leaders,
creative and performance Skills. able to inspire confidence and earn the loyalty of those
In combat, Keen Focus is most useful when dealing who follow them. Levels of this Talent may be added to
with ranged weapons. Any attacks that require a steady any Skills that are used to inspire or rally followers, or
aim could potentially be boosted by levels of this Talent. to give orders and commands, particularly in combat or
When combined with the bonuses from the Time Bonus other stressful situations. Skills such as Conversation,
Table (see Extra Time, page 39), Keen Focus can be a very Intimidation, Oratory, Persuasion, and Tactics could all
effective aid to most forms of ranged combat. potentially benefit from this Talent.
Keen Focus Cost: 5 Character Points for every If using the special Mass Combat or Ship To Ship
level of Keen Focus. Combat rules, GMs could allow a player to use his levels
of Natural Leader to boost Combat Action Dice that
Light Sleeper (Perception) would be affected by the player giving orders to a crew
or a group of soldiers (see Simplified & Mass Combat and
This Talent grants a character the proverbial ability Ship To Ship Combat in the Combat chapter for a full
to sleep with one eye open. A character with Light explanation of those rules).
Sleeper is rarely surprised when asleep and can instantly
awaken and react to any situation as if hed never been Natural Leader: 5 Character Points for every level
asleep at all. Characters with this Talent can add their of Natural Leader.
Light Sleeper dice to any Perception-based Action Dice
when attempting to detect a foe entering the room Natural Mimic (Perception)
where they are sleeping, even if the foe is using stealth. Characters with this Talent have the innate ability
Further, if the character wishes, he may pretend to to observe and duplicate the personality, mannerisms,
remain asleep in order to gain bonuses in combat for speech patterns, and accents of other beings. Natural
a surprise attack against the intruders. Guards would Mimics are also able to duplicate the sounds of non-living
find this Talent very useful. things such as chimes, bells, or musical instruments.
Light Sleeper Cost: 5 Character Points for every Natural Mimics would even have an advantage in any
level of Light Sleeper. Skill that required a perfect duplication of a pattern or
script. Skills that could possibly be boosted by this Talent
Mystic (Essence) would be Acting, Artistry, Disguise, Forgery, Oratory,
Performance, and Streetwise, but only in instances
This Talent is required if the character is to possess where mimicking another individual, instrument,
any Skills in the arts of magic, whether as fully trained or document is the goal or would clearly increase the
sirhibasi or mngai, or simply as someone with magic chances of success.
potential who has yet to discover their gift. Players who
purchase this Talent will need to also purchase the Magic Natural Mimic: 5 Character Points for every level
of Natural Mimic.

114
Pain Resistance (Will) Speed Reading (n/a)
Characters with this Talent are able to endure This Talent allows a character to read and process
excruciating amounts of pain and severe discomfort information at an amazing rate. A character with
either as a result of years of training and conditioning Speed Reading can read and absorb information at
or simply as a result of an incredibly tough constitution. 10 times the normal rate. Therefore a document that

Chapter III: Character Creation


A character can add his levels of Pain Resistance to would normally require someone 10 minutes to read
any Action Dice used to resist the effects of torture or and fully absorb could be read and understood by a
interrogation. character with Speed Reading in a single minute. This
In combat, Pain Resistance boosts a characters ability Talent has no levels and may only be purchased once.
to overcome the effects of a disabled or broken limb. It is important to note that Speed Reading combined
With enough levels, a character can completely negate with Eidetic Memory would be an especially effective
the dice penalty normally assigned to a characters Vigor tool for spies. Scholars and sorcerers would also find
Roll when attempting to resist the effects of a disabled or this Talent incredibly useful.
broken limb. Pain Resistance can also reduce the effects Speed Reading Cost: 5 Character Points for Speed
of Stun, lowering the number of Actions lost due to Reading.
pain by 1 for ever level of Pain Resistance (see Maneuver
Location Effects, pages 217-218). Spies, honor guards, and Toughness (n/a)
assassins would all benefit from this Talent. Characters with this Talent are able to withstand
Pain Resistance Cost: 5 Character Points for every greater amounts of damage and punishment in
level of Pain Resistance. combat. Toughness is really only appropriate for battle-
hardened warriors or incredibly resilient characters. As
Perfect Balance (Agility) a result, a player may only purchase this Talent if the
This Talent gives the character an amazing sense sum total of his characters Strength, Vigor, and Will is
of balance. A character is able to add his levels of equal to or greater than 12. Further, GMs might wish
Perfect Balance to any Skill or combat ability when his to limit Toughness to campaigns whose Power Level is
sense of balance is a crucial factor. Examples would Talented or higher.
include boosting a characters combat Action Dice Toughness increases a characters Stamina.
when fighting along a thin ledge or while perched Normally, a characters Stamina score is derived from
precariously atop a ladder. the following formula: 2 x (Vigor + Will). Characters
Perfect Balance would also add to any Agility-based with Toughness, however, use the following modified
Skills or Characteristic Rolls when the character was formula: 3 x (Vigor + Will). This Talent has no levels
engaged in an activity that similarly required balance, and may only be purchased once.
such as racing across a tightrope, or attempting acrobatic As noted above, this Talent is really only appropriate
maneuvers in the rigging of a ship. GMs could even for battle-hardened, incredibly tough characters. It
allow the character to perform simple acts of perfect should not simply be a way of increasing a characters
balance, such as walking leisurely across a tightrope Stamina. Untrained warriors, such as artists, sorcerers,
unhindered, without requiring a roll of Action Dice. scholars, and priests would normally never possess
Perfect Balance Cost: 5 Character Points for every Toughness. The only exception would be if Toughness
level of Perfect Balance. were included as part of a Zoics Animal Template.
Toughness Cost: 10 Character Points for
Serenity (Will) Toughness.
This Talent represents a characters ability
to maintain a zen-like state of calm even in the Virtuoso (Wit)
face of incredibly stressful or emotionally volatile A character with this Talent is considered a
circumstances. A character may add his levels of consummate artist, born with a natural artistic gift, be
Serenity to any Skill that would be boosted by a it with imagery, music, dancing, words, etc. Levels of
calming, soothing presence. Skills such as Bargain, Virtuoso may be used to augment Artistry, Performance,
Conversation, Diplomacy, Oratory, and Persuasion and possibly even a few Profession Skills (at the GMs
could all benefit from Serenity, but only in situations discretion) in any instance where the characters unique
where the character was attempting to calm an understanding of the artistic endeavor could possibly
antagonistic individual, diffuse an emotionally tense raise it to the level of the sublime. Master artists are
situation, or reassure a panicked crowd. Leaders, likely to notice a performance or piece of art produced
clergymen, and diplomats would all benefit from by a character with Virtuoso as having been the work
Serenity. of an artist with truly amazing potential.
Serenity Cost: 5 Character Points for every level Virtuoso Cost: 5 Character Points for every level
of Serenity. of Virtuoso.

Basic Compendium
115
BOOK ONE Chapter III: Character Creation

Professions how those classes should interact with each other.


These are the four different official castes: Holy
Every character in SHARD has a role to play. Who Caste, High Caste, Trade Caste, Low Caste. There
you are is partially defined by what you do. Honor are also Outcastes, members of society who have
guards protect their charges. Assassins eliminate their been deemed unworthy of membership in any of
lords enemies. Seers see the past or future and serve the other castes. If you choose to be either Holy,
as advisors. Think about the sorts of things youd High, or Trade Caste, you must pay points for that
enjoy doing in the game. Would you like to engage caste as an Advantage (see Advantages, begining on
in a lot of combat? Or would you prefer using stealth page 184). Choosing to be from the Low Caste costs
and your wits? Would you like to use healing magic? no points. Should you wish to be an Outcaste, you
Or would you prefer to summon and bind demons would take that as a Social Drawback (see Drawbacks,
from other dimensions? Answering these questions begining on page 191) due to the societal restrictions
will determine your characters profession. such an individual would have to observe.
The profession you choose will be dictated, at A caste is something your character is born into
least in part, by your caste. Most societies in the world and it usually never changes. Normally your caste
of Drdnah observe some form of caste system would be the same as your parents. Your children,
(explained below). The GM should inform you what in turn, would be born into your caste. There is,
type of campaign he intends to run and if there are any however, some mobility between castes. A powerful
limitations concerning caste or professions. A typical lord or ruler can grant someone the status of High
campaign that takes place within the social structure Caste for heroic deeds or exemplary service to a
of a noble house will have a wide variety of choices, noble Line or House. Likewise, a high-ranking
whereas a campaign that focuses on a ring of thieves priest or religious council can bestow the status of
or a group of sorcerers might have fewer professions Holy Caste on individuals deemed worthy of such
to choose from. an honor. It is even possible to buy your way into
the Trade Caste by making sufficient donations
Caste to an influential trade or merchants guild. And
The Drdnah caste system places everyone in a member of any caste can be made an Outcaste
society into fairly rigid social classes. It also defines through acts of treachery and betrayal.

116
A further description of each caste is given their status, however, charity toward Outcastes is
below: considered good karma, so the other castes make
Holy Caste (3 point Advantage): This is the efforts to help them whenever they can. That said,
highest caste, which is comprised of the most members of other castes generally do not mingle
learned and wise members of society. Its ranks are with Outcastes, as it is considered distasteful

Chapter III: Character Creation


filled with priests, monks, nuns, and gurus, as well and inappropriate. While there is no law against
as various legal and scholarly professions, such as it, a higher caste individual who mingled freely
judges, lawyers, scholars, architects, and teachers. with Outcastes would be considered bizarre and
Holy Caste members also occupy the positions of perhaps a bit touched in the head.
chefs due to the fact that Holy and High Caste The politics of the caste system can be rather
members prefer to eat food prepared by someone complicated. Even though there is a ranking to the
of equal or higher caste. A Holy Caste member is castes, no one caste is considered more important
addressed as Enlightened One or Revered One than another. Each plays a crucial role in society
due to the great respect this individual is accorded and are equally important in maintaining social
in society. order and harmony. The higher castes are given
High Caste (2 point Advantage): This is the the responsibility of caring for the castes below
second highest caste and is comprised of nobles, them. Holy Caste members see it as their god-
warriors, sorcerers, and the highly skilled artisans given charge to give every caste the benefit of
who specialize in crafting firearms and training their wisdom and learning. Likewise, High Caste
suthra weapons and armor. The privileged members warriors see it as their duty to protect and defend
of this caste may wield firearms, explosives, and those who cannot defend themselves. These sacred
suthra weapons and armor, something that even responsibilities, after all, were given to the jnah by
Holy Caste members need special dispensation the Great Mother and Father. Every caste member
in order to do. Members of this caste are called understands that without their cooperation and
Sunborn because they are believed to be blessed support, society would fall into chaos and ruin,
at birth by the light of both suns. and that would be an affront to the Devah.
Trade Caste (1 point Advantage): This is the Caste members who abuse or mistreat lower
third highest caste and is comprised of merchants, caste individuals are considered offensive and
artisans, and skilled craftsmen. Trade Caste a dishonor to the Devah. It is not unusual for
members may not wield firearms nor use suthra a Holy or High Caste member to take it upon
weapons and armor, but are usually wealthy enough themselves to correct any individual they find
to hire warriors to protect their interests. Members engaging in such dishonorable behavior. The
of this caste are the mercantile backbone of society, important thing to remember is that the caste
and as such are some of the wealthiest individuals system is not about superiority, it is a way that the
around. They often act as moneylenders to High denizens of Drdnah have chosen to maintain
Caste nobles, an arrangement that can insure order and harmony in their society. It is believed
the protection of a powerful warrior lord and that a higher caste individual who mistreats the
therefore benefit a merchants interests. Low Caste less fortunate will end up spending their next
individuals address Trade Caste members as sir lifetime as an Outcaste. After all, the Devah are
or madam. nothing if not just.
Low Caste (No Cost): This is the lowest Profession Templates
official caste, which is comprised of farmers
and all unskilled laborers - the majority of most As with the Animal Templates, Profession
populations. Although limited to simple weaponry, Templates are designed to make creating a character
Low Caste members are often drafted by nobles to much easier. Select the template that best fits the
serve as peasant levies that are usually armed with type of character you want to play, pay the cost of
spears and axes. Low Caste members, however, are the template, and you get all of the Skills listed in
forbidden by law to use firearms or suthra weapons the template. If one of the Skills doesnt fit your
and armor, and can pay with their lives for breaking character conception, then simply remove that
such laws. Skill and deduct its cost (listed beside it) from the
template.
Outcaste (See Drawbacks): Not really an
official caste as such, Outcastes are the lowest Players should feel free to purchase additional
members of society: escaped slaves, beggars, Skills to fully round out their characters, but the
dishonored members of other castes, criminals, etc. Profession Template is a great way to get you started.
Given their unfortunate social status, Outcastes Using a combination of the Animal Templates and
often perform jobs that nobody else wants such the Profession Templates, you can create a SHARD
as the handling of waste and refuse. Despite character in a very short period of time.

Basic Compendium
117
Chapter III: Character Creation
Profession Templates are organized by caste. Outcaste Professions
Based on the type of game the GM intends to run,
you should make a selection from the corresponding In general, these professions represent a broad
caste category. Some professions may not be range of pastimes, both legal and illegal, and though
appropriate for the GMs campaign. Members of most are occupied by those who have been born
different castes mingle freely so characters from all into this role as an Outcaste, it should be noted that
castes could potentially be members of the same any of these professions may represent the current
adventuring party. The only exception to this would occupation of a Dishonored former member of
BOOK ONE

be Outcastes, who would need a good justification to any caste, from Low Caste to Holy Caste. Such
mingle with the other four castes. Certainly if the GM individuals, depending on the dishonorable acts
were running a campaign that featured underworld or terrible crimes they may have committed that
figures, then everyone would have a reason to play caused them to be cast out of their former station,
Outcastes. As usual, the GM will tell you what is and might be treated as entirely untouchable and
is not appropriate for his game. cursed by the Devah, and may even be killed on
sight if recognized by those who might have cause
When reading through the various templates, to despise them for what they have done.
youll notice that similar professions exist under
different castes. This reflects the fact that some Beggar A base individual who is no longer
trades are found at all levels of society. Though many willing or capable of performing services for
professions are suited to a particular caste, a Profession rewards; beggars instead merely sit upon street
Template is really nothing more than a collection of corners displaying either their laziness or their
infirmities in the hopes of handouts from the
Skills. If you feel that a particular skill set (or even generous.
a profession title) should be assigned to a higher or Social Standing: Low Range
lower caste, simply select that Profession Template Initial Skills: Persuasion: 3, Profession: 2
and buy whatever Caste Advantage you desire. For (beggar), Streetwise: 3
example, even though the captain of a ship may be Character Point Cost: 8
listed under High Caste, a player could choose to
be the captain of a simple merchants vessel instead, Clothes Washer A person who handles and
and so would purchase the Trade Caste Advantage. touches clothing soiled by wear, cleans them
Likewise, a player wanting to be the crystal master of a by hand, and then throws them into a rinsing
prominent House (normally a Trade Caste profession) basin to be rinsed and removed for drying by
someone of a higher caste (usually a peasant
may choose to purchase the High Caste Advantage if servant). Clothes Washers are paid either with
they wanted to play a noble character that happened food or in a small currency of daln.
to have a passion for that profession. Social Standing: Mid Range
If you want to play a profession that is not listed Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (fabrics), 2
in the Profession Templates, then its a simple matter (mending), Profession: 2 (washer)
of creating your own. Go through the list of Skills Character Point Cost: 6
on page 149 and select whatever Skills
you think are appropriate for your new
Profession Template. Add the costs of all
those Skills together to get the final cost
of the template. Thats all there is to it.
Any new templates should always get the
approval of the GM.
GMs are also encouraged to create new
Profession Templates that are tailored to
their own campaigns. A military-oriented
campaign, for example, might call for all
sorts of specialized military Profession
Templates. A campaign focusing on the
adventures of a caravan might likewise
need some specialized templates. Use
the templates listed below as guidelines.
Just remember that taking a Profession
Template should not be mandatory.
An experienced player should be free
to create exactly the sort of character he
wants as long as it fits the GMs campaign
requirements.

118
Corpse Handler Any individual tasked with Social Standing: Mid Range
physically touching corpses of any kind (with Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment:
the exception of gutting and cleaning prey 3, Knowledge: 2 (popular goods),
suthra for food). Corpse Handlers are often Profession: 2 (fence), 2 (front
seen attending funerals and working alongside operation), Streetwise: 3

Chapter III: Character Creation


the officiating priests. They often assist in Character Point Cost: 15
tending the funerary pyres and cleaning up
afterwards, and are paid either with food or in Pirate A Sea-going bandit who preys upon
a small currency of daln. hapless ships and coastal towns.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: High Range
Initial Skills: Artillery Combat: 5,
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (fire craft), 2 Climbing: 3, Driving: 3 (nautical vessels),
(funeral customs), Profession: 2 (corpse Knowledge: 2 (water vessels), 2 (weather
handler) lore), Melee Combat: 5, Profession: 2
Character Point Cost: 6 (pirate), Streetwise: 3
Character Point Cost: 25
Criminal The criminal element can be found
anywhere from the largest city to most remote Smuggler A traveller who specializes in
of wastelands, preying upon the unsuspecting smuggling stolen or illegal goods.
and the weak. Individuals in this profession Social Standing: Mid Range
represent the seedy underbelly of society, and Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Bargain: 3,
are considered Outcaste by the laws of most Knowledge: 2 (trade routes), Language:
lands, regardless of what they may have once 2 (choose additional), Profession: 2
been before entering into a life of crime. (smuggler), Streetwise: 3
Character Point Cost: 15
Bandit A brigand, highway robber, forest or
desert raider, etc. Swindler A con-artist, shill, or other
Social Standing: Mid Range professional liar, who seeks to rob their victims
Initial Skills: Intimidation: 3, Knowledge: through use of witty banter, confusion, and
2 (chosen region), Melee Combat: 5, fabricated stories of deception used to build
Profession: 2 (bandit), Streetwise: 3, misplaced trust that will, sooner or later, lead
Survival: 3 to loss for the victim, and ill-gotten gains for
Character Point Cost: 18 the swindler.
Social Standing: Low Range
Black-Marketeer A criminal who sells illegal Initial Skills: Acting: 3, Conversation: 3,
substances of any kind (drugs, poisons, etc.). Profession: 2 (swindler), Persuasion: 3,
Social Standing: Mid Range Streetwise: 3
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment: 3, Character Point Cost: 14
Knowledge: 2 (illicit goods), Profession: 2
(black-marketeer), Streetwise: 3 Thief A cutpurse or pickpocket using stealth,
Character Point Cost: 13 misdirection, and guile to rob their victims.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Burglar A criminal who stealthily breaks into Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Knowledge:
homes and palaces to steal valuables. 2 (garments), Profession: 2 (thief), Sleight
Social Standing: Mid Range of Hand: 3, Stealth: 3, Streetwise: 3
Initial Skills: Climbing: 3, Concealment: Character Point Cost: 16
3, Knowledge: 2 (wealthy jnah), Lock
Picking: 3, Profession: 2 (burglar), Thug A cutthroat, murderer, or hired goon.
Stealth: 3, Streetwise: 3 Social Standing: Low Range
Character Point Cost: 19 Initial Skills: Intimidation: 3, Melee
Combat: 5, Profession: 2 (thug),
Crystal Corsair A skyship pirate who sails the Shadowing: 3, Streetwise: 3
upper airs in search of wealthy prey. Character Point Cost: 16
Social Standing: High Range
Initial Skills: Artillery Combat: 5, Escaped Slave Someone fleeing their owner
Climbing: 3, Driving: 3 (aerial vessels), or master, having been a slave most of their
Knowledge: 2 (skyships), 2 (weather lore), lives (as opposed to those captured in raids).
Melee Combat: 5, Profession: 2 (crystal Recently captured slaves can often regain their
corsair), Streetwise: 3 status if they return to the country of their
Character Point Cost: 25 birth, while life-long slaves have no caste status,
and are viewed merely as property.
Fence A criminal who specializes in selling Social Standing: Low Range
stolen goods, sometimes using a front Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge:
operation that appears legal. 2 (slave hierarchy), 2 (house keeping),

Basic Compendium
119
Chapter III: Character Creation
Profession: 2 (slave
occupation)
Character Point Cost: 9

Forager (of garbage or in the wilderness)


An Outcaste who attempts to
survive by foraging through the
trash of others either in the streets
BOOK ONE

or in city dumps, or one who has


chosen to forsake the city to live off
the land like an unkempt hermit in
the wilds. Either way, those of caste
consider the Foragers way of life
unclean.
Social Standing: Low Range
Initial Skills: Concealment: 3,
Knowledge: 2 (foraging sites),
Profession: 2 (forager)
Character Point Cost: 7

Leech (Outcaste Herbalist, Midwife, Healer, Mage, Profession: 2 (renderer)


Seer, or Summoner Sirhibas) An Outcaste who Character Point Cost: 8
has developed a talent for herbalism, healing,
and perhaps magic. Such an individual might Street Sweeper Within ones house the
be known as a wise-person or midwife, and environment is pure and clean but outside
would be sought after by other Outcaste the door, where all common people walk the
for their skills. Outcaste workers of magic, streets, it is unclean and full of dirt and filth. It
however, usually hide their skills out of fear of is the task of the Street Sweepers to remove the
persecution, since many believe Outcaste magic trash, refuse, and grime of a thousand feet that
to be of an impure or unholy nature. litter outdoor paths. They are blessed with food
Social Standing: High Range or money for their services.
Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Knowledge: Social Standing: Mid Range
2 (surgery), 2 (cooking), 2 (divination), 2 Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (home city
(herbal lore), 2 (horticulture), 2 (legends), area), Profession: 2 (street sweeper),
2 (local custom), 2 (medicine lore), Streetwise: 3
Profession: 2 (leech) Character Point Cost: 7
Character Point Cost: 21

Mucker A vulgar laborer whose chief task is to Low Caste Professions


clean up the bodily wastes of people or suthra.
Servants who must handle things such as Crafter A peasant who has made a trade of
chamber pots and other such waste receptacles working with a particular resource to craft
take great pains not to touch them. Not so for goods that are traded within their community.
the muckers, who work ankle-deep in chinti Particularly skilled individuals might be lucky
stalls and clean out the sewers and waste enough to catch the eye of a merchant or lord,
ditches of larger cities by hand. The scent of but they generally ply their trade amongst the
their unclean trade surrounds them. They are people of their own area or village for crystal
paid either with food or in a small currency of coin or barter.
daln.
Social Standing: Low Range Amber Worker A peasant crafter who works
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (laborers), primarily with the thick saps siphoned from
Profession: 2 (mucker) the Ambertrees of Drdnah. The Amber saps
Character Point Cost: 4 harden as they touch the air, and are shaped
and molded into various decorative and
Renderer Those who are tasked with the utilitarian objects.
processing of intestines and other unclean Social Standing: Mid Range
waste by-products of slain suthra (thus leaving Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (Amber), 2 (wax-
the edible meat behind), and to derive from working), Profession: 2 (Amber worker)
them the raw substances that may be used later Character Point Cost: 6
for different products such as tallow for wax,
gut strings and cords, and chitin for crafting. Basket Weaver A peasant crafter who works
Social Standing: High Range with various reeds and grasses to create baskets,
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (butcher), 2 woven mats, and any number of rattan-like
(suthra lore), 2 (suthra preparation), crafts. The materials are picked from nearby
sources and dried till perfect for working.

120
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: High Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (rope work), 2 Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (crystal lore),
(plant lore), Profession: 2 (basket weaver) 2 (glasswork), 2 (jewelry), Profession: 2
Character Point Cost: 6 (crystal carver)
Character Point Cost: 8
Brick Maker A peasant who makes bricks

Chapter III: Character Creation


using several different methods (some are Dye Maker A peasant crafter whose specialty
sun-dried, while others are fired in a kiln and is the making and using of colorful dyes and
colored or glazed in various ways). As part of his inks. These are used to give vibrancy and
profession a brick maker would have a general beauty to plain cloth, suthra leather, woven
knowledge of the mineral properties and reeds, etc.
qualities of mud and clay (which determines Social Standing: Mid Range
color, temperature qualities, toughness, etc.), Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (dye making), 2
as well as a basic understanding of the various (herbal lore), Profession: 2 (dye maker)
grasses sometimes used in the mixtures. Character Point Cost: 6
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (fire craft), Leather Worker A peasant crafter whose
Profession: 2 (brick maker) skills revolve around the crafting of goods from
Character Point Cost: 4 suthra leather. Such leather is harvested from
the various softer tissues of the bodies of the
Charcoal Maker Sometimes called a charcoal insects of Drdnah.
burner. A peasant who makes charcoal bricks Social Standing: Mid Range
and wafers by slowly and painstakingly burning Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (suthra leather),
down a variety of different woods using special 2 (suthra lore), Profession: 2 (leather
techniques involving meticulous stacking, fire- worker)
craft, and burying the logs to burn over time Character Point Cost: 6
under tall domes of hollow earth. So important
is it to remain awake during this process, lest Pottery Worker A peasant crafter who
the product turn completely to ash, that many commonly works with various clays and muds
charcoal makers sit upon one-legged stools to to fabricate pottery and other sculptures both
insure they will fall over if they succumb to decorative and utilitarian.
sleep. Social Standing: Mid Range
Social Standing: Mid Range Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (pottery), 2
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (wood), 2 (fire (mineral lore), Profession: 2 (pottery
craft), Profession: 2 (charcoal maker) worker)
Character Point Cost: 6 Character Point Cost: 6

Chitin Worker A peasant crafter who Seamstress A peasant who sews simple
works primarily with the chitin (hard shell) garments or does the basic mending of more
harvested from various suthra. The chitin elaborate garments.
insect shell is cut, carved and sculpted for Social Standing: Mid Range
use as decoration, jewelry, tools, weapons, Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (fashion),
utensils, etc. 2 (tailor), 2 (weaving), Profession: 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (seamstress)
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (chitin craft), 2 Character Point Cost: 8
(suthra lore), Profession: 2 (chitin worker)
Character Point Cost: 6 Stone Cutter A peasant crafter whose main
materials are the numerous types and qualities
Cloth Maker A peasant crafter responsible of local stone. Stone Cutter works will range
for the weaving and making of the fine threads from simple statuary and carvings, to fitted
and cloth used for rugs, tapestries, and clothing stones for building. They are often employed
of all kinds. Such works are usually rustic and by the Trade Caste masons for work on city
somewhat crude, befitting their caste, though buildings, palaces, and temples.
rare talents can be found. Social Standing: High Range
Social Standing: Mid Range Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (stone craft), 2
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (tailor), 2 (architecture), Profession: 2 (stone cutter)
(weaving), Profession: 2 (cloth maker) Character Point Cost: 6
Character Point Cost: 6
Wood Worker A peasant crafter who uses
Crystal Carver A peasant crafter who works woods of various sorts and colors to create
primarily with the various Drdni crystals. their works, from carvings to carts to the beams
Such crystals are dug from the earth, picked and boards for cottages. Such items are often
from sides of mountains, or plucked from the both functional as well as beautiful, and the
upper airs. wood worker handpicks the woods harvested

Basic Compendium
121
Chapter III: Character Creation
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (herbal lore),
2 (horticulture), 2 (weather lore),
Profession: 2 (farmer)
Character Point Cost: 8

Fisher A peasant who makes a living by catching


the various fishes and smaller creatures that
BOOK ONE

dwell in the seas, lakes, rivers, and streams near


them, sometimes from a boat but often from
the shore. Such jnah trade and sell their catch
to locals and nearby merchants.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (local waters),
2 (weather lore), Profession: 2 (fisher),
Survival: 3, Swimming: 3
Character Point Cost: 12

Guide A peasant who has learned the lay of


the land and serves as a guide to other jnah
travellers.
Social Standing: High Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (region - players
choice), 2 (local customs), Navigation: 3
(land), Profession: 2 (guide)
Character Point Cost: 9

Herbalist A peasant who collects (or even


for their creation. grows) rare herbs and plants, and sells those
Social Standing: Mid Range ingredients to apothecaries and alchemists.
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (carpentry), 2 Social Standing: High Range
(wheelwright), 2 (wood lore), Profession: Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (herbal lore),
2 (wood worker) 2 (horticulture), 2 (medical lore),
Character Point Cost: 8 Profession: 2 (herbalist), Survival: 3
Character Point Cost: 11
Crystal Hunter A peasant who specializes
in finding deposits of valuable minerals and Hunter A peasant that makes a living by hunting
crystals in the wilderness and either selling wild suthra in the surrounding area of land.
that information to crystal traders or gathering These peasants carefully avoid touching with
the crystals and selling those directly (like the their hands the unclean parts of the animal
blood diamond scavengers of Africa). when dressing their kill, and often leave such
Social Standing: High Range remnants in the wild before returning with
Initial Skills: Concealment: 2, Knowledge: their catch.
2 (crystal lore), Navigation: 3 (land), Social Standing: Mid Range
Profession: 2 (crystal hunter), Survival: 3 Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Knowledge:
Character Point Cost: 13 2 (local hunting area), 2 (suthra lore),
2 (weather lore), Profession: 2 (hunter),
Elder A peasant community leader or hetjnah. Stealth: 3, Tracking: 3
The person to whom others in the community Character Point Cost: 17
will come for rulings and decisions concerning
community issues and dealing with higher-caste Laborer A peasant who, having never been
outsiders. trained in any particular skill, seeks work as a
Social Standing: High Range general, unskilled laborer following the whims
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Oratory: 3, and needs of others. Laborers are looked down
Knowledge: 2 (cultural traditions), 2 upon to some extent, yet often toil heavily
(local politics), 2 (religion), Profession: 2 under the suns for rich merchants and lords.
(elder) Social Standing: Low Range
Character Point Cost: 14 Initial Skills: Profession: 2 (laborer)
Character Point Cost: 2
Farmer A peasant who plows, plants, and
tills so as to create crops for the good of the Miner A peasant who labors in a mine, excavating
community. Such goods are primarily for the and toiling beneath the heavy burdens that
feeding of family as well as for barter within the must be exhumed and removed for processing.
community, though excess is sometimes sold or These mines can either be of the strip-mine
traded to merchants at market.

122
variety like vast quarry pits, or the deeper many peasants enjoy sheltered lives as servants,
tunnels and chambers of crystal mountain though they are sometimes looked down upon
mines. by others of their caste.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: Low Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (mineral lore), Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2

Chapter III: Character Creation


2 (underground structure), Profession: (place of employment), Profession: 2
2 (miner) (servant)
Character Point Cost: 6 Character Point Cost: 7

Mourner A peasant who works as a professional Street Vendor A peasant who sells, from
mourner at funerals, adept at the showmanship various hand-carts, display poles, hastily-placed
and histrionics of wailing, lamentation, and rugs, temporary covered tables, backpacks, and
forced tears. Professional mourners have been even small canal-boats, the various foods, small
known to sew their own clothes to be easily toys, jewelry, trinkets, candies, tobaccos, and
torn and ripped apart during displays of grief. other treats made by Trade Caste merchants,
Social Standing: High Range or even simple items that they themselves
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (funeral make. Most of them are employed by Trade
customs), Performance: 2 (dramatizing), Caste merchants.
Profession: 2 (mourner) Social Standing: Mid Range
Character Point Cost: 6 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(popular goods), Profession: 2 (street
Palanquin Bearer A peasant who carries vendor)
palanquins throughout a city. Such Character Point Cost: 7
individuals often work for Trade Caste
merchants who build the palanquins and Suthra Herder A peasant handler of tamed
gather the clientele. suthra, the native insects of Drdnah, either
Social Standing: High Range in herds or individually, for the various uses
Initial Skills: Athletics: 3, Knowledge: associated with domesticated livestock. Herders
2 (local working area), Profession: 2 may tend these suthra for themselves or others
(palanquin bearer) for livelihood and profit.
Character Point Cost: 7 Social Standing: Low Range
Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (suthra lore),
Pearl Diver A peasant who dives for pearls 2 (breed suthra), Profession: 2 (suthra
and other precious undersea stones, including herder), Survival: 3, Tracking: 3
valuable corals, easy-to-harvest underwater Character Point Cost: 12
crystal formations, and even treasures from
sunken wrecks and ruins. Trapper A peasant hunter who specializes in
Social Standing: High Range using traps and capturing live prey.
Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Social Standing: High Range
Knowledge: 2 (local waters), 2 (suthra Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Knowledge:
lore), Profession: 2 (pearl diver), 2 (local hunting area), 2 (suthra lore),
Swimming: 3 Profession: 2 (trapper), Tracking: 3,
Character Point Cost: 12 Trapping
Character Point Cost: 15
Rickshaw Driver A peasant who pulls a
one or two-man wheeled cart (rickshaw) for Vermin Catcher A peasant who catches
patrons in a village or city. Such individuals vermin insects upon city streets, in homes,
often work for themselves. and sometimes in sewers, either with traps or
Social Standing: High Range with the use of trained suthra that have been
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Driving: taught to hunt and kill vermin suthra for their
3 (land vehicles), Knowledge: 2 (local owners.
working area), Profession: 2 (rickshaw Social Standing: Low Range
driver), Streetwise: 3 Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Knowledge:
Character Point Cost: 13 2 (local area), 2 (suthra lore), Profession:
2 (vermin hunter), Suthra Use: 5,
Servant A peasant chosen to work for someone Tracking: 3, Trapping: 3
of higher caste, usually within the home or Character Point Cost: 20
place of business. Servants are usually trained
for specific tasks and often undergo oaths of Wise One (Low Caste Doctor, Midwife, Healer,
loyalty for the master they serve, especially Mage, Seer, or Summoner Sirhibas) A peasant
those serving a House. While living within a who has learned the arts of herbalism, holistic
House they must abide by their rules and may medicine, and possibly a smattering of magic.
live or die at the whim of the aryah. The laws of Many upper-caste individuals are suspicious
the magistrate will not intercede. Despite this, of peasant magic, so peasants with such skills

Basic Compendium
123
Chapter III: Character Creation
tend to be secretive concerning their abilities. Bowyer A Trade Caste maker of bows and
Social Standing: High Range crossbows of all or specific varieties and the
Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (medicine), Dress crystal-, chitin-, and Amber-tipped arrows
Wound: 3, Knowledge: 2 (fasting), 2 and bolts used by them. Bows made by such
(brewing), 2 (world cultures), 2 (incense an individual might be used by peasants,
maker), 2 (medicine craft), 2 (divination), merchants, and lords alike, each being hand-
2 (herbal lore), 2 (legends), 2 (surgery), made to suit a new potential owner.
2 (cultural traditions), 2 (weather lore), Social Standing: Mid Range
BOOK ONE

Profession: 2 (wise one) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2


Character Point Cost: 30 (wood lore), 2 (chitin lore), 2 (crystal
lore), 2 (archery weapon lore), 2 (suthra
lore), Missile Combat: 5, Weaponsmith:
Trade Caste Professions 3 (missile)
Character Point Cost: 21
Apothecary A member of the Trade Caste
skilled in the ways of holistic medicine and Carpenter A skilled artisan who makes,
herbalism, capable of crafting simple medicines, finishes, and repairs wooden objects, structures,
performing basic surgical procedures, and and even vehicles. Such an individual, for
creating all manner of poultices, unguents, and larger projects might employ Low Caste
salves with various (supposed) properties. crafters of wood, stone, etc., to complement
Social Standing: High Range the endeavor.
Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (medicine), Dress Social Standing: Mid Range
Wound: 3, Knowledge: 2 (medical lore), Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge:
2 (herbal lore), 2 (jenu lore), 2 (cultural 2 (wood lore), 2 (architecture), 2
traditions), Surgery: 3, Profession: 2 (carpentry), Profession: 2 (carpenter)
(apothecary) Character Point Cost: 11
Character Point Cost: 19
Cartographer An artisan skilled in the art or
Artisan Any individual within the Trade Caste, technique of making maps and charts. Such
known specifically for one main craft, who both individuals would be called upon to chart
creates and sells objects made of a particular caravan routes, prevailing trade winds, political
resource or material. Such individuals are borders, terrain, etc.
sought after for their particular skills by Social Standing: Mid Range
merchants within their own caste, as well as Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illustration),
Sunborn and Mngai. Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (cartography),
2 (geography), 2 (politics), Research: 3,
Amber Artisan An artisan who works Profession: 2 (cartographer)
primarily with the thick saps siphoned from Character Point Cost: 16
the Ambertrees of Drdnah. The Amber saps
harden as they touch the air, and are shaped and Chandler A skilled artisan who makes candles
molded into various decorative and utilitarian of various kinds, soaps, and other wax-related
objects. Artisans of Amber are often entrusted products, and whose works can range from the
to fabricate the workings of sky crystal sheaths utilitarian to the beautifully artistic.
and other intricate workings on skyships, as Social Standing: Mid Range
well as the Amber jewelry that often adorns the Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (wax-
persons of nobles and priests. working), 2 (suthra lore), 2 (herbal lore),
Social Standing: Mid Range Profession: 2 (chandler)
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Character Point Cost: 11
(Amber lore), 2 (jewelry), 2 (wax-working),
Profession: 2 (Amber artisan) Chitin Artisan An artisan who works
Character Point Cost: 11 primarily with the chitin (hard shell) harvested
from various suthra. The chitin insect shell is
Armourer Trade artisans whose chief task is cut, carved and sculpted for use as decoration,
the creation of various types of armor made from jewelry, tools, weapons, utensils, etc. Especially
various materials. Trade Caste artisans are not skilled individuals might receive commissions
allowed, however, to work with or use living suthra from Sunborn or Mngai, or may personally
armor, according to the laws of the caste system. serve within a House (under the Crystal
Social Standing: High Range Master).
Initial Skills: Armourer: 3, Bargain: 3, Social Standing: Mid Range
Knowledge: 2 (armor lore), 2 (Amber Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
lore), 2 (chitin lore), 2 (crystal lore), 2 (chitin lore), 2 (suthra lore), Profession: 2
(jenu lore), Melee Combat: 5, Profession: (chitin artisan)
2 (armourer) Character Point Cost: 9
Character Point Cost: 23

124
Cobbler A skilled artisan who makes and Social Standing: Mid Range
repairs sandals, shoes, and boots. Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (herbal lore), 2 (horticulture), 2 (cultural
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 traditions), Profession: 2 (florist)
(leather craft), 2 (jenu lore), Profession: 2 Character Point Cost: 11

Chapter III: Character Creation


(cobbler)
Character Point Cost: 9 Furrier A skilled artisan who makes, sells,
and repairs furs and furred garments made
Cooper A skilled artisan who makes casks and from the furry leathers harvested from the soft
barrels of all shapes and sizes. tissues of a variety of giant Drdni moths and
Social Standing: Mid Range caterpillars.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Social Standing: Mid Range
(carpentry), 2 (wood lore), Profession: 2 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(cooper) (fashion), 2 (suthra lore), 2 (leather
Character Point Cost: 9 working), Profession: 2 (furrier)
Character Point Cost: 11
Crystal Artisan An artisan who works
primarily with the various Drdni crystals. Glassblower Trade artisans having the various
Peasant laborers working in mines (or other skills necessary to artfully create, sculpt, and blow
dangerous locations) would harvest the glass into various colors, shapes, and functional
crystals, from which the Crystal Artisans objects used daily on Drdnah. Everything
take their pick, choosing only the best for from ornaments, glassware, and windowpanes
their workings of fine sculpture, jewelry, are formed by their skillful hands, and their
architectural ornaments, mosaics, and even works are often highly prized depending on the
the intricate mechanical workings of skyships artistry invested into each piece.
and other archaic machines. Especially skilled Social Standing: Mid Range
individuals might receive commissions from Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Sunborn or Mngai, or may personally serve (glasswork), 2 (jeweler), 2 (art), 2 (mineral
within a House (under the Crystal Master). lore), Profession: 2 (glassblower)
Social Standing: High Range Character Point Cost: 13
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(glasswork), 2 (jeweler), 2 (wax-working), Incense Maker An artisan skilled in the
2 (crystal lore), Profession: 2 (crystal making of the various basic and rare incenses
artisan) commonly used on Drdnah. Incense being
Character Point Cost: 13 such a standard item from the simplest of
households to the mightiest of temples, Incense
Dyer An artisan whose specialty is the making Makers skills are always in high demand, and
and using of colorful dyes and inks. These are the recipes for their aromas often treasured
used to give vibrancy and beauty to plain cloth, family secrets.
suthra leather, woven reeds, and the more Social Standing: High Range
expensive cloths and silks used and worn by Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
those of higher caste. (herbal lore), 2 (mineral lore), 2 (ritual
Social Standing: Mid Range lore), 2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (incense maker)
(fashion), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (mineral lore), Character Point Cost: 13
Profession: 2 (dyer)
Character Point Cost: 11 Jeweler An artisan who uses a variety of different
materials, including crystal, Amber, stone, glass,
Fletcher A skilled artisan who makes arrows in a even wood and ceramics, to create jewelry and
wide variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate jewel-encrusted decorations and objects of art for
many different uses. There are war arrows, those of wealth and high caste. Though Jewelers
fishing arrows, rope-cutting arrows, flaming may have specific knowledge of the crafting of
arrows, hunting arrows, large bolts for ballista, certain materials, their main ability is their artful
and many other styles. way of combining individual worked elements
Social Standing: Mid Range into a delicate and beautiful whole.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Social Standing: High Range
(chitin lore), 2 (crystal lore), 2 (Amber Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge:
lore), 2 (archery weapon lore), Missile 2 (jewelry), 2 (art), 2 (crystal lore), 2
Combat: 5, Profession: 2 (fletcher), (fashion), Profession: 2 (jeweler)
Weaponsmith: 3 (missile) Character Point Cost: 13
Character Point Cost: 21
Leather Artisan An artisan whose skills
Florist A skilled artisan who specializes in revolve around the crafting of goods from
floral arrangements for festivals and funerals. suthra leather. Such leather is harvested from

Basic Compendium
125
Chapter III: Character Creation
the various softer tissues of the native insects of Perfumer A skilled artisan who makes and
Drdnah. Such individuals often intricately sells perfumes and scented oils of various
work saddles for the riding chinti of lords, kinds. Perfumers tend to be knowledgeable
belts, pouches, and even articles of clothing. concerning the delicate noses, strong musks,
Social Standing: Low Range and keen senses of a wide variety of jnah.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Social Standing: Mid Range
(suthra leather), 2 (art), 2 (fashion), Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Profession: 2 (leather crafter) (herbal lore), 2 (jenu lore), 2 (suthra lore),
Character Point Cost: 11
BOOK ONE

Profession: 2 (perfumer)
Character Point Cost: 11
Lens Maker An artisan who makes lenses of
crystal or glass for spyglasses and spectacles, Potter An artisan who creates a variety of
grinding them down to exact specifications pottery ware, such as vases, pots, bowls, or
depending on their use. plates, shaped from moist clay, hardened by
Social Standing: Low Range heat, and often adorned with colorful glazes
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 and patterns. A particularly skilled potter
(glasswork), 2 (mineral lore), 2 might even be able to create purely sculptural
(mathematics), Profession: 2 (lens maker) elements, though it becomes even more
Character Point Cost: 11 difficult to assure an elaborate pieces survival
while being fired in the kiln.
Locksmith A skilled artisan who makes Social Standing: Mid Range
and repairs locks and keys out of a variety of Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art),
materials, and can be called upon to open locks 2 (fire craft), 2 (mineral lore), Profession:
without damaging them. 2 (potter)
Social Standing: Mid Range Character Point Cost: 11
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment: 3,
Knowledge: 2 (Amber lore), 2 (crystal Rope/Net Maker An artisan skilled at the
lore), Lock Picking: 3, Profession: 2 making of all types, sizes, and strengths of ropes,
(locksmith) cords, and nets. Rope Makers products can be
Character Point Cost: 15 seen in construction sites, ships, warehouses,
homes, and even palaces, and can be made
Mason An artisan who works with the from the cheapest materials (such as hemp), to
numerous types, qualities, and colors of local the most extravagant (such as silk), depending
and even foreign stone. Their works range from on the required mixture of beauty, texture, and
simple statuary and carvings, to fitted stones strength.
for building, including the elaborate bas-reliefs Social Standing: Low Range
on many edifices. They are often employed by Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
contractors, nobles, and mngai for work on (rope work), 2 (weaving), Profession: 2
city buildings, palaces, and temples. (rope/net maker)
Social Standing: High Range Character Point Cost: 9
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(stone lore), 2 (architecture), 2 (art), Shipwright An artisan who has the correct
2 (mineral lore), 2 (mathematics), knowledge of materials, techniques, and skills
Profession: 2 (mason) to build ships, whether for sailing the seas
Character Point Cost: 15 or the skies. Shipwrights construct, fit out,
commission, and repair all types of vessels
Milliner A skilled artisan who designs, makes, from small utilitarian skiffs and pleasure craft
and sells hats of all shapes and sizes necessary through a range of competitive, commercial,
to fit the head of any jnah. and war vessels. A shipwright will often
Social Standing: Mid Range specialize in certain types of ships, and would
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: develop skills accordingly.
2 (fashion), 2 (jenu lore), 2 (cultural Social Standing: High Range
traditions), Profession: 2 (milliner) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Character Point Cost: 11 (Amber lore), 2 (rope work), 2 (skyships),
2 (water vessels), 2 (wood lore),
Paper Maker An artisan who makes and sells Profession: 2 (shipwright).
paper made from wood pulp, rags, straw, or Character Point Cost: 15
other fibrous material.
Social Standing: Mid Range Silk Maker A skilled artisan who breeds
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 various suthra who produce the finest silks
(wood lore), 2 (herbal lore), Profession: 2 and then prepares the silk to be sold to other
(paper maker) merchants.
Character Point Cost: 9 Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2

126
(suthra lore), 2 (fashion), Profession: 2 Social Standing: High Range
(silk maker), Suthra Training: 3 (aides & Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
companions) (customs), 2 (weapons), 2 (crystal lore),
Character Point Cost: 12 2 (Amber lore), 2 (chitin lore), 2 (wood
lore), 2 (wax-working), Melee Combat:
Tailor Trade artisans who have achieved

Chapter III: Character Creation


5, Profession: 2 (weapon artisan),
exceptional skill in the art of designing and Weaponsmith: 3 (bladed weapons), 3
creating clothing of various styles and varieties (blunt weapons)
to fit the form, function, and taste of their Character Point Cost: 30
clients. A tailor would know how to work with
a variety of cloth types, from cheap, rougher Weaver An artisan skilled in the creation of
weaves to expensive silks, and has a good woven goods of silk and other fibers, such as
understanding of the best ways to fit them to a thread, fabrics, rugs, tapestries, curtains, veils, sails,
wide range of body sizes and shapes. flags, etc. Raw, non-dyed thread and fabrics are
Social Standing: High Range usually their products, but they will often create
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, and work with dyed thread and yarn to create
Knowledge: 2 (fashion), 2 (jenu lore), 2 colorful tapestries, rugs, and other finished works.
(cultural traditions), Profession: 2 (tailor) Social Standing: Mid Range
Character Point Cost: 14 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(fashion), 2 (weaving), 2 (art), Profession:
Tobacconist A skilled artisan who prepares 2 (weaver)
and sells tobaccos of various kinds. These Character Point Cost: 11
merchants often employ Low Caste members
to sell their wares in the streets, carrying Wheelwright An artisan skilled in the
portable hookahs and a variety of tobaccos creation and repair of wheels for carts, wagons,
from which to choose. and carriages.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Driving: 3 (land
(herbal lore), Profession: 2 (tobacconist) vehicle), Knowledge: 2 (carpentry), 2
Character Point Cost: 7 (land vehicles), 2 (wood lore), Profession:
2 (wheelwright)
Tool Maker A skilled artisan who can make Character Point Cost: 14
tools of various kinds, and for all manner of
vocations. Their skill is concentrated not only Wood Artisan An artisan who uses woods
in the function of the tool, but in its long- of various sorts and colors to create works
lasting quality. ranging from artistic carvings and palanquins
Social Standing: Mid Range to the beams and boards for homes and palaces.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Such items are often both functional as well as
(Amber lore), 2 (chitin lore), 2 (wood beautiful, and the artisan handpicks the woods
lore), Profession: 2 (tool maker) harvested for their creation.
Character Point Cost: 11 Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Wainwright An artisan who builds wagons (art), 2 (architecture), 2 (carpentry), 2
and coaches of all kinds to suit a wide range of (wood lore), Profession: 2 (woodworker)
sizes, shapes, and functions, from beast drawn Character Point Cost: 13
carts and hand-wagons, to elaborate carriages.
Social Standing: High Range Artist An individual within the Trade Caste,
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Driving: 3 (land known specifically for one main artistic craft,
vehicles), Knowledge: 2 (carpentry), 2 who both creates and sells artistic products
(land vehicles), 2 (wood lore), Profession: of one kind or another. Such individuals are
2 (wainwright) sometimes sought after by merchants within
Character Point Cost: 14 their own caste, as well as Sunborn and
Mngai, for their particular skills.
Weapon Artisan An artisan whose livelihood
involves the creation of all the various weapons of Calligrapher An artist skilled in the art of
Drdnah (with the exception of Vaylah firearms, calligraphic writing and ornamental scripts
and living suthra weapons, for which there are created for the sake of beauty.
individual traditions, and missile weapons, which Social Standing: Mid Range
are made by bowyers and fletchers). Such artisans Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Artistry: 2
may have specific skills depending on the type of (illustration), 2 (calligraphy), Knowledge:
weapons they specialize in (either blades or blunt 2 (mineral lore), 2 (cultural traditions),
weapon, or perhaps, only swords), or the particular Profession: 2 (calligrapher)
materials with which they choose to work, such as Character Point Cost: 13
crystal, stone, chitin, suthra leather, or Amber.

Basic Compendium
127
Chapter III: Character Creation
Dramatist A trained writer-composer of the in the colors used on that area of skin. As such
various forms of stage plays popular in Drdnah markings are common, both as art as well as
(think Kabuki and Noh type theater). Such an identity, such an artisan is always in demand.
individual is also often a skilled choreographer, Social Standing: High Range
as well as a composer of the songs and music Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illustration), 2
needed for the performances. (tattooing), Bargain: 3, Dress Wound: 3,
Social Standing: Mid Range Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (cultural traditions),
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, 2 (fashion), 2 (jenu lore), 2 (lineages), 2
BOOK ONE

Artistry: 2 (playwriting), Knowledge: (mineral lore), Profession: 2 (tattooist)


2 (world cultures), 2 (current history), Character Point Cost: 24
2 (literature), 2 (cultural traditions),
Performance: 2 (dramatizing), Profession: Baker A member of the Trade Caste who
2 (dramatist) specializes in the making of baked goods,
Character Point Cost: 20 pastries, pies, cakes, and breads of all kinds.
A baker has intimate knowledge of the herbs,
Painter An artist skilled in mixing various grains, oats, and flours used to make all his
pigments and minerals, suthra egg and wares, as well as a carefully maintained set of
powdered chitin, oils, water, and other recipes for many different festivals and religious
substances to create paints, inks, and charcoals occasions.
of various qualities and colors, and additionally Social Standing: Mid Range
using these different media to make works of art Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
and color-related design choices for buildings (cooking), 2 (herbal lore), Profession: 2
and objects. Painters create works on canvases, (baker)
walls, ships, ceilings, signs, and various other Character Point Cost: 9
locations from low society to high.
Social Standing: Mid Range Brewer (or Vintner, Distiller) A Trade Caste
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illustration), merchant skilled in the creation of alcoholic
Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (mineral beverages of all kinds, such as fine vintages of
lore), 2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 wine from various fruits, beers brewed from
(painter) different grains, and meads made from the
Character Point Cost: 13 honeys of suthra (as well as the cultivation of all
these necessary ingredients). Such an artisans
Poet A highly skilled performer trained in the wares can be found in nearly any community,
composition of poetry and epic verse. and make for lively trade across all nations.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation: Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (brewing), 2 (distillation), 2 (herbal lore),
(literature), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (horticulture), Profession: 2 (brewer)
Performance: 2 (dramatizing), Profession: Character Point Cost: 13
2 (poet)
Character Point Cost: 16 Butcher A Trade Caste merchant who dresses
and sells the flesh of various suthra.
Sculptor An artist who shapes, molds, or Social Standing: Mid Range
fashions various materials, such as stone, clay, Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
glass, crystal, Amber, etc., to create sculptural (suthra lore), 2 (cooking), Profession: 2
works of art and design. Many sculptors often (butcher)
specialize in one material or another, and thus Character Point Cost: 9
have specific knowledge skills as a result.
Social Standing: Mid Range Confectioner A Trade Caste merchant that
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (sculpting), specializes in the making of candies and other
Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (Amber sweet and savory confections.
lore), 2 (stone lore), 2 (crystal lore), Social Standing: Mid Range
2 (jenu lore), 2 (cultural traditions), Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Profession: 2 (sculptor) (herbal lore), 2 (cooking), Profession: 2
Character Point Cost: 19 (confectioner)
Character Point Cost: 9
Tattooist An artist most gifted in the skills
required to create the many amazing and Contractor (also Foreman or Overseer) A member
variable types of more permanent Drdni body of the Trade Caste who agrees to furnish
art, including tattoos, brandings, piercings, and materials, perform services, and potentially
the implantation of crystals, jewels, and beads oversee common laborers at a specified price,
directly into, and onto scales, feathers, and especially for construction work but potentially
flesh. They even use a special type of tattoo dye for other types of labor as well. Such individuals
that causes fur, feathers or scales to grow out are usually hired by others to handle all the
smaller details of a larger project and to report

128
progress to those who hire them. the performers of a House, arranges for and
Social Standing: Mid Range organizes any entertainments or entertainers
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: from outside the House, and serves as master
2 (architecture), 2 (world cultures), of ceremonies at any special functions.
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 Social Standing: High Range

Chapter III: Character Creation


(contractor) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3,
Character Point Cost: 11 Oration: 3, Intrigue: 3, Performance: 2
(singing), 2 (dancing), 2 (dramatizing),
Cook A member of the Trade Caste skilled in Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (current history),
the arts of food preparation. Such an individual 2 (world cultures), 2 (famous jnah),
would be able to prepare food for any of the 2 (fashion), 2 (heraldry), 2 (literature),
castes except members of the Holy Caste, 2 (music), 2 (cultural traditions),
who wish to have their food prepared only by Profession: 2 (dance master)
a Chef of their own caste. Cooks might own Character Point Cost: 38
restaurants of their own or provide their services
to establishments, the houses of merchants and Engineer An artisan skilled in the creation of
lords, or even serve the military. machines of all kinds, from simple mechanical
Social Standing: Mid Range devices such as the devices that run mills, to
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 more complicated mechanical systems found
(cooking), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (suthra lore), aboard skyships or used in siege engines.
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 Social Standing: Mid Range
(cook) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Character Point Cost: 13 (mathematics), 2 (architecture), 2 (land
vehicles), 2 (water vessels), 2 (skyships),
Courtesan A Trade Caste entertainer who Profession: 2 (engineer), Research: 3
specializes in providing physical pleasure and Character Point Cost: 18
paid companionship to others (similar to a
Geisha). There are rich traditions of etiquette Entertainer Members of the Trade Caste who
and behavior for such individuals, and they are make their living by the pleasant diversion and
rarely viewed as common harlots. entertainment of others through the use of
Social Standing: Mid Range their skills. Such individuals are often in high
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, demand for occasions at nearly every level of
Conversation: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), society. Spontaneous street performances are
2 (fashion), 2 (cultural traditions), not uncommon.
2 (current history), Profession: 2
(courtesan), Seduction: 3 Acrobat A Trade Caste entertainer who
Character Point Cost: 22 specializes in tumbling, contortion, tightrope-
walking and other gymnastic feats.
Crystal Master - The Crystal Master is the Social Standing: Mid Range
chief artisan of a House who trains the other Initial Skills: Acrobatics: 5, Bargain: 3,
House artisans, is in charge of the dcor of Contortion: 3, Evade: 5, Performance: 2
the House and its surroundings, and is quite (tumbling), Profession: 2 (acrobat)
often the lord and ladys personal fashion Character Point Cost: 20
consultant. In addition, they are responsible
for any of the crystals used in the house with Dancer A Trade Caste performer who
specific functional purposes, such as would be specializes in dances of all kinds, such as
used for light, heating, gear-works, etc., and common folk dances, flamboyant dances of
the purchasing of rare crystals for the use of the noble courts, and even the intricate and
skyships owned by the House. The Crystal ritualistic dances of religious festivals.
Master would oversee the work of any shipboard Social Standing: High Range
Crystal Masters employed by a House. Initial Skills: Athletics: 3, Bargain: 3,
Social Standing: High Range Knowledge: 2 (jenu lore), 2 (music), 2
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, (cultural traditions), Performance: 2
Oratory: 3, Knowledge: 2 (crystal lore), 2 (dancing), Profession: 2 (dancer)
(architecture), 2 (art), 2 (world cultures), Character Point Cost: 16
2 (fashion), 2 (heraldry), 2 (lineages), 2
(cultural traditions), Profession: 2 (crystal Fortune-Teller A Trade Caste entertainer
master) who specializes in telling fortunes through the
Character Point Cost: 27 use of various means (tea leaves, entrails, cards,
dice, bones, etc.).
Dance Master - An individual within a House Social Standing: Mid Range
and Line who has been named by the head Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation: 3,
of the House to be in charge of any and all Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (current
cultural happenings. This individual trains history), 2 (divination), 2 (jenu lore),

Basic Compendium
129
Chapter III: Character Creation
2 (cultural traditions), Persuasion: 3,
Profession: 2 (fortune-teller)
Character Point Cost: 21

Illusionist A street magician and entertainer


who specializes in acts of prestidigitation to
baffle and amuse. This individual is NOT
believed to have actual magical powers.
Social Standing: Mid Range
BOOK ONE

Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment: 3,


Fast Draw: 5, Knowledge: 2 (garments),
Sleight of Hand: 3, Performance:
2 (prestidigitation), Profession: 2
(illusionist)
Character Point Cost: 20

Juggler An entertainer who specializes in


amusing, and sometimes even dangerous,
feats of juggling and uncanny balance with all
manner of handheld objects.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Fast Draw: 5,
Performance: 2 (juggling), Profession: 2
(juggler), Throw: 5
Character Point Cost: 17

Mummer A trained actor who specializes in the


various types of theater popular in Drdnah. Singer A performer who uses their voice to
These individuals employ elaborate masks and entertain through the singing of songs of all
costumes to perform and can also be skilled kinds. There are a variety of singing traditions
dancers, as dancing is common in Drdni plays. in the world, each related to one of many
Social Standing: Mid Range different cultural and religious concepts;
Initial Skills: Athletics: 3, Bargain: 3, songs of the field laborers, songs of warriors
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (cultural preparing for battle, songs of the pious, songs
traditions), 2 (jenu lore), Performance: 2 of travellers, songs for lovers, etc. Singers often
(dancing), 2 (dramatizing), Profession: 2 compose their own songs, and are sometimes
(mummer) hired to compose songs for others.
Character Point Cost: 18 Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
Musician An entertainer who plays any sort of (music), 2 (world cultures), 2 (cultural
musical instrument, usually based on ancient traditions), Performance: 2 (singing),
traditions, styles, and compositions. Percussion, Profession: 2 (singer)
strings, drums, and wind instruments combine Character Point Cost: 13
to make the vast array of Drdni music.
Musicians may compose their own music, and Storyteller A skilled performer who specializes
are sometimes hired to compose music for in telling dramatic or amusing tales, such
others. as stories of ancient legend and lore, tales of
Social Standing: Mid Range glorious battle, humorous and amazing stories
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: of the antics of the various Devah, etc.
2 (music), 2 (cultural traditions), Social Standing: Mid Range
Performance: 2 (music), Profession: 2 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(musician) (ancient history), 2 (current history), 2
Character Point Cost: 11 (legends), 2 (world cultures), 2 (cultural
traditions), Performance: 2 (story-telling),
Puppeteer A skilled performer who specializes Profession: 2 (storyteller)
in entertaining through the use of various Character Point Cost: 17
puppets (marionettes, shadow puppets, hand
puppets, etc.). Explorer A Trade Caste merchant who devotes
Social Standing: Mid Range his efforts and wealth to the exploration of new
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Performance: 2 lands and forgotten ruins. Such an individual
(puppetry), Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), might be a collector of tales and oddities from
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 around the world.
(puppeteer) Social Standing: Mid Range
Character Point Cost: 11 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Climbing: 3,

130
Concealment: 3, Observation: 3, lore), Suthra Training: 3 (aides &
Research: 3, Knowledge: 2 (current companions), Suthra Use: 5
history), 2 (ancient history), 2 (world Character Point Cost: 23
cultures), 2 (heraldry), 2 (cultural
traditions), 2 (cartography), 2 (region Head of Servants This Trade Caste member

Chapter III: Character Creation


- players choice), 2 (geography), 2 oversees the details of organizing the servants of
(legends), Language: 2 (second language - the house from the scullery maid to the lords
players choice), Profession: 2 (explorer) valet, working closely with the Chamberlain to
Character Point Cost: 37 make sure the House runs as efficiently and
smoothly as possible.
Fakir (Trade Caste Healer, Mage, Seer, or Summoner Social Standing: Mid Range
Sirhibas as well as potentially an utter charlatan) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3,
A Trade Caste ascetic or religious mendicant, Diplomacy: 3, Intrigue: 3, Knowledge: 2
especially one who performs feats of magic or (current history), 2 (cultural traditions), 2
endurance. They seldom allow themselves to (heraldry), 2 (lineages), 2 (region - players
be known as true sirhibasi because society choice), Profession: 2 (head of servants)
tends to distrust and frown upon sirhibasi Character Point Cost: 24
outside of the Sunborn. They often earn
their keep seeking donations from those who Hunter A member of the Trade Caste that
observe their public performances but will specializes in hunting various suthra. They
sometimes work privately with individuals. carefully avoid touching the unclean parts of
Though some Fakirs may indeed have true the animal with their hands when dressing their
powers, there are many who are also charlatans kill, and either leave such remnants in the wild
and tricksters. before returning with their catch, or eventually
Social Standing: Low Range pass their prey on to a Renderer for processing.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Oratory: 3, Social Standing: Mid Range
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment:
(divination), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (legends), 3, Knowledge: 2 (local hunting area), 2
2 (ritual lore), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (suthra lore), 2 (weather lore), Profession:
(weather lore), Profession: 2 (fakir) 2 (hunter), Stealth: 3, Tracking: 3
Character Point Cost: 22 Character Point Cost: 20

Gardener A member of the Trade Caste Masseur A member of the Trade Caste adept
who earns a living through the creation and at bringing comfort and therapy to others
maintenance of all types of gardens and other using various forms of muscular massage. This
living floral displays. Such an individual might generally refers to the rubbing or kneading of
be responsible for public parks, the flowering parts of the body to aid circulation, relax the
courtyards of businesses, or the private gardens muscles, or provide sensual stimulation. This
of lords and ladies. Gardeners are responsible ability requires use of the Masseurs basic
for creating health, harmony, balance, and the manual dexterity, specific medical knowledge,
flow of beauty within the gardens they create and and understanding of various jenu body
tend. structures.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
(art), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (horticulture), (cultural traditions), 2 (jenu lore), 2
Profession: 2 (gardener) (medical lore), Profession: 2 (masseur)
Character Point Cost: 11 Character Point Cost: 11

Groomer A Trade Caste member who specializes Mechanic A member of the Trade Caste
in the grooming and beauty needs of the various that specializes in fixing and maintaining
types of jnah. Such individuals are also often mechanical devices of all kinds, including
called upon to act as dentists, manicurists, and clockwork mechanisms, the machinery of mills,
pedicurists who treat problems with bad teeth the crystal gear-works used to operate certain
or claws. Specialized small grooming suthra, moving skyship parts, and other such large and
used to help clean teeth and trim away dead small mechanical devices.
flesh from skin conditions and nail growth, are Social Standing: Mid Range
often released to crawl across customers during Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
a grooming session. Groomers are also skilled at (architecture), 2 (land vehicles), 2 (water
non-permanent body art such as the painting and vessels), 2 (skyships), Profession: 2
dyeing of claws, fur, scales, skin, and feathers. (mechanic)
Social Standing: Mid Range Character Point Cost: 13
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illustration),
Bargain: 3, Conversation: 3, Etiquette: Merchant (Trader) A member of the Trade
3, Knowledge: 2 (fashion), 2 (jenu Caste whose occupation is the wholesale

Basic Compendium
131
Chapter III: Character Creation
purchase and retail sale of goods for profit. (brothel proprietor)
Such individuals would often be business Character Point Cost: 15
owners or shopkeepers, either established in
a set location or capable of traveling near and Gambling Den Proprietor Runs and
far to sell their wares. Merchants might deal in operates a gambling den. These can vary in
some specific type of goods or may be a general quality and reputation, but generally allow for
vendor of a variety of items. Their skills are not all manner of gaming and simple sport (such as
necessarily in the making of these things but in suthra-fighting matches). There are known to
BOOK ONE

the profitable economics of buying and selling be gambling dens of an entirely illegal nature
them. where hapless captured jnah are sometimes
Social Standing: Mid Range pitted, against their will, to fight other jnah or
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, horribly monstrous predatory suthra (such as
Knowledge: 2 (current history), 2 (world makri) to the death.
cultures), 2 (economics), 2 (politics), Social Standing: Mid Range
Persuasion: 3, Profession: 2 (merchant) Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Gaming: 3,
Character Point Cost: 19 Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), Streetwise:
3, Profession: 2 (gambling den proprietor)
Messenger - A member of the Trade Caste who Character Point Cost: 13
makes a living by hand-delivering messages or
performing errands such as carrying telegrams, Innkeeper Runs and operates an inn,
letters, or parcels. This person might even act as providing lodging, food and drink, and other
an official courier or envoy to a person, group, such services for locals and travelers.
or government and will often be the bearer of Social Standing: Mid Range
news for such entities. Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation:
Social Standing: Mid Range 3, Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world
Initial Skills: Athletics: 3, Bargain: 3, cultures), 2 (local working area),
Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (region - Profession: 2 (innkeeper)
players choice), Streetwise: 3, Profession: Character Point Cost: 15
2 (messenger)
Character Point Cost: 16 Opium Den Proprietor Runs and operates
an opium den. These establishments are also
Miller A member of the Trade Caste who owns commonly used for all sorts of clandestine
and operates a mill. Such mills, powered activity.
by either wind or water, are equipped with Social Standing: Mid Range
machinery used to grind oats or grain into Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Concealment: 3,
flour, meal, and various cereals. Conversation: 3, Knowledge: 2 (herbal
Social Standing: Mid Range lore), 2 (local working area), 2 (jenu lore),
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Streetwise: 3, Profession: 2 (opium den
(herbal lore), Profession: 2 (miller) proprietor)
Character Point Cost: 7 Character Point Cost: 20

Proprietor Members of the Trade Caste who Teahouse Proprietor Owns and operates a
own and run various dining, lodging, and teahouse. Teahouses are the restaurants and
entertainment establishments, either rural or bars of Drdnah. They do not generally
urban. provide places for people to stay (those are
inns).
Bathhouse Proprietor Runs and operates Social Standing: Mid Range
a public bathhouse (think Spirited Away), and Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation: 3,
sometimes provides food and entertainment Knowledge: 2 (herbal lore), 2 (cultural
for their guests. traditions), Profession: 2 (teahouse
Social Standing: Mid Range proprietor)
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: Character Point Cost: 12
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2
(bathhouse proprietor). Theater Proprietor Runs and operates a
Character Point Cost: 7 theater where plays, musical performances, and
other forms of entertainment are featured.
Brothel Proprietor Runs and operates Social Standing: Mid Range
a brothel. These can vary in quality and Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation:
reputation. The higher class ones are like those 3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2
in Brotherhood of the Wolf or Vidocq. (music), 2 (literature), 2 (fashion), 2
Social Standing: High Range (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 (theater
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation: proprietor)
3, Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world Character Point Cost: 18
cultures), 2 (jenu lore), Profession: 2

132
Sailor Any number of individuals within the not personally responsible for the rigging itself,
Trade Caste who have chosen to work aboard they may share some of the same knowledge as
either a water vessel or a skyship as their chosen riggers and additionally be aware of the various
profession. facts concerning the nature of sailcloth (its
uses, strengths, weaknesses, limits, etc.).

Chapter III: Character Creation


Deckhand A trade-caste sailor who, as a Social Standing: Mid Range
member of a ships crew, is called upon to Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2
perform various tasks of manual labor such as (skyships or water vessels), 2 (rope work),
swabbing the deck, operating basic equipment 2 (tailor), 2 (weaving), Profession: 2 (sail
used for moving cargo, rowing, carrying supplies, maker)
and generally lending a hand where needed and Character Point Cost: 13
performing most of the grunt work.
Social Standing: Low Range Ships Carpenter A trade-caste sailor who is
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: a competent craftsman, capable of building
2 (skyships or water vessels), Melee a ships boat or a new mast. In charge of all
Combat: 5, Profession: 2 (deckhand) repairs, Carpenters inform the captain of the
Character Point Cost: 12 state of the ships hull, masts, yards, and decks.
They sound the ships well and regularly check
Harpooner A trade-caste sailor who specializes for leakage and ensure the pumps are clean and
in harpooning large suthra. They are more in good working order. In battle, they plug shot
common on the style of vessels used to hunt large holes and make whatever repairs possible.
prey than on ordinary ships, but are often used Social Standing: Mid Range
on ships of any kind as a defense when attacked Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Melee Combat: 5,
by larger predatory suthra at sea or in the air. Knowledge: 2 (carpentry), 2 (skyships or
Social Standing: Low Range water vessels), 2 (wood lore), Profession:
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Melee Combat: 2 (ships carpenter)
5, Missile Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2 Character Point Cost: 16
(skyships or water vessels), Profession: 2
(harpooner) Ships Crystal Master The Crystal Master is
Character Point Cost: 17 the ships chief artisan, in charge of any useful
crystals that are used aboard ship, making sure
Larder Master (Cook) A trade-caste sailor who that they function accordingly and ordering
is in charge of making sure the crew is supplied repairs where they may be needed. Such
with food and drink and is responsible for the responsibilities include the maintenance of sky
ordering, stocking, and preparation of such crystals if it is a skyship, the complex gears of the
goods. crystal-works used to control the rudders, the
Social Standing: Mid Range crystal anchor and, of course, the overseeing of
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 any other artisans and carpenters in the ships
(skyships or water vessels), 2 (cooking), 2 employ. In addition, they are also responsible for
(herbal lore), Profession: 2 (larder master) the decorative and functional ornamentation
Character Point Cost: 11 traditionally found throughout the vessel.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Rigger A trade-caste sailor who is in charge Initial Skills: Knowledge: 2 (crystal lore), 2
of the arrangement of the masts, spars, ropes, (carpentry), 2 (mathematics), 2 (skyships
and sails on a sailing ship. Riggers are aware or water vessels), 2 (cultural traditions),
of all the technicalities of fitting the sails, Profession: 2 (ships crystal master)
shrouds, and ropes to the variously sized masts Character Point Cost: 12
and yards of any particular ships design, and
are often responsible for climbing through the Scrivener A trade artisan who is mainly tasked
rigging, making changes to these actively while as a professional copyist of manuscripts and
the vessel is in transit. documents, but can be a writer, journalist,
Social Standing: Mid Range public clerk, secretary, or even a notary.
Initial Skills: Athletics: 3, Bargain: 3, Though they primarily work on parchment,
Climbing: 3, Driving: 3 (aerial or nautical Scriveners sometimes inscribe wood, stone,
vessels), Melee Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2 plaster and other substances with various
(rope work), 2 (skyships or water vessels), writings and are familiar with the legalities
Profession: 2 (rigger) involving documentation and the written
Character Point Cost: 23 word in general.
Social Standing: High Range
Sail Maker A trade-caste sailor who is adept Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illumination),
with the working of silk, canvas, and other Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, Knowledge:
sailcloth used in the sewing, repair, and fitting 2 (world cultures), 2 (mineral lore), 2
of the various sails and shrouds used in the (current history), 2 (literature), 2 (cultural
rigging if a sailing ship. Though Sail Makers are traditions), Profession: 2 (scrivener),

Basic Compendium
133
Chapter III: Character Creation
Research: 3 Cannonsmith This member of the Sunborn
Character Point Cost: 23 is an artisan who builds cannons and artillery
guns for both ground warfare and ship
Suthra Breeder/Handler (Groom) A member combat.
of the Trade Caste who is employed as a breeder Social Standing: Mid Range
and caregiver for suthra to be raised as aids, Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (gunpowder),
food, pets, transport, or guardians. The Suthra Artillery Combat: 5, Evade: 5, Firearm
Handler insures that the charges are well-kept, Combat: 5, Gunsmith: 3 (artillery guns),
BOOK ONE

in good health, and are as appealing to the eye Knowledge: 2 (firearms), 2 (skyships), 2
as the suthra need to be to please their true (water vessels), 2 (mathematics), 2 (Amber
owners and those who may buy them. lore), 2 (crystal lore), 2 (wax-working),
Social Standing: Mid Range Profession: 2 (cannonsmith)
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: 2 Character Point Cost: 37
(suthra breeding), 2 (suthra lore), Suthra
Use: 5, Suthra Training: 3 (aides & Concubine This member of the Sunborn is
companions), 3 (mounts), Profession: 2 trained as a companion to other nobles. A
(suthra breeder/handler) very high-class category of courtesan, some
Character Point Cost: 20 concubines are made official consorts by lords
who fall in love with them.
Valet A member of the Trade Caste who serves Social Standing: Mid Range
as a body servant to either a rich merchant or a Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Diplomacy:
noble. Such individuals are also often trained 3, Etiquette: 3, Intrigue: 3, Knowledge:
in combat to act as bodyguards. 2 (art), 2 (fashion), 2 (world cultures), 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (famous jnah), 2 (lineages), 2 (politics),
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Etiquette: 3, Seduction: 3, Profession: 2 (concubine)
Knowledge: 2 (current history), 2 (cultural Character Point Cost: 29
traditions), 2 (politics), 2 (fashion), 2
(lineages), Melee Combat: 5, Profession: Demon Hunter A Sunborn warrior that
2 (valet) specializes in hunting down and destroying
Character Point Cost: 23 demons and other supernatural creatures.
Demon Hunters are highly valued for their
Veterinarian A member of the Trade Caste who skills, but often deemed tainted by the fell
specializes in treating sick and injured suthra. beasts they destroy. They tend to be loners and
Social Standing: Mid Range often fall victim to madness.
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Knowledge: Social Standing: Mid Range
2 (suthra lore), 2 (medical lore), 2 Initial Skills: Acrobatics: 5, Climbing:
(herbal lore), Suthra Use: 5, Surgery: 3, 3, Fast Draw: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
Profession: 2 (veterinarian) Knowledge: 2 (ancient history), 2 (current
Character Point Cost: 19 history), 2 (demon lore), 2 (geography),
2 (legends), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (weapons),
2 (magic theory), Martial Arts: 8, Missile
High Caste Professions Combat: 5, Observation: 3, Survival:
3, Stealth: 3, Throw: 5, Trapping: 3,
Assassin This member of the Sunborn is a killer Profession: 2 (demon hunter)
of other jnah and is always a member of either Character Point Cost: 66
a House or guild. Assassins generally work from
the shadows and on the orders of their leaders, Gunsmith (Vaylah Artisan) highly skilled Sunborn
whether for money, politics, or ideology. They artisan who, from a very early age, was trained
tend to keep to their own kind but are looked in the time-honored tradition of hand-crafting
upon with a sense of grim respect by most the various kinds of gunpowder weapons used
everyone who meets them. on Drdnah (known as Vaylah weapons)
Social Standing: Mid Range such as pistols, rifles, and blunderbusses. Only
Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (chemistry/ Sunborn are allowed by law to learn the craft
poisons), Acrobatics: 5, Climbing: 3, and practice the traditions necessary to create
Concealment: 3, Disguise: 3, Evade: such weapons, each piece being a work of art
5, Lock Picking: 3, Missile Combat: unto itself.
5, Martial Arts: 8, Throw: 5, Firearm Social Standing: Mid Range
Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2 (world Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (gunpowder),
cultures), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (jenu Knowledge: 2 (firearms), 2 (Amber lore),
lore), 2 (poisons), Intrigue: 3, Language: 2 (crystal lore), Gunsmith: 3 (firearms),
2 (sign language), Observation: 3, Firearm Combat: 5, Profession: 2
Suthra Use: 5, Stealth: 3, Streetwise: 3, (gunsmith)
Shadowing: 3, Profession: 2 (assassin) Character Point Cost: 19
Character Point Cost: 80

134
House Dignitary These members of the
Sunborn caste have achieved a level of talent
in their chosen profession such that the
aryah of the House to which they belong
appoints to them the position of Master of

Chapter III: Character Creation


that specialty within the House.

Arena Master - This warrior within a House


and Line has most honorably worked up
through the ranks of household warriors
to become that Houses supervisor over the
specific traditions and customs involved in
the Spiral Arena and the training of the
warriors of the household in favored forms
of hand-to-hand and weapons combat. This
individual is responsible for the support,
maintenance, function, and integrity of the
Houses own Spiral Arena and is the arbiter
of conflicts resolved within.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Duel
Dancing: 5, Etiquette: 3, Evade:
5, Intimidation: 3, Martial Arts:
8, Missile Combat: 5, Oratory: 3,
Suthra Use: 5, Tactics: 3, Throw:
5, Knowledge: 2 (current history),
2 (world cultures), 2 (heraldry), 2
(martial arts), 2 (lineage), 2 (medical
lore), 2 (politics), 2 (ritual lore -
spiral arena related), 2 (tradition), 2
(weapons), Profession: 2 (arena master) 5, Martial Arts: 8, Missile Combat: 5,
Character Point Cost: 70 Observation: 3, Oratory: 3, Suthra Use:
5, Tactics: 3, Throw: 5, Knowledge: 2
Huntmaster This Sunborn organizes the lords (current history), 2 (world cultures), 2
various hunting expeditions. He works closely (heraldry), 2 (martial arts), 2 (lineage),
with the Suthra Master to train kellndu and 2 (medical lore), 2 (politics), 2 (cultural
krtellah used for the hunt. traditions), 2 (weapons), Profession: 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (master of the honor guards)
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Melee Combat: Character Point Cost: 85
5, Missile Combat: 5, Navigation: 3
(land), Riding: 3 (land mounts), Suthra Master of the Watch A warrior within a
Use: 5, Tracking: 3, Knowledge: 2 (breed House and Line who has the task of leading the
suthra), 2 (world cultures), 2 (suthra Watch or Militia, house soldiers who are not
lore), Suthra Training: 3 (mounts), 3 considered Honor Guards themselves, merely
(aides & companions), Survival: 3, warriors and general security. The Master
Profession: 2 (huntmaster) of the Watch usually defers to the Master of
Character Point Cost: 44 the Honor Guards and is responsible for the
assigning of patrols to places and areas for the
Master of the Honor Guard A prominent security and peace of mind of the residents of
warrior within a House who is the head of the the House, and even of those who might serve
Honor Guard, thus, the head of security for the aryah outside of the walls of the House.
that House; also, usually the master of assassins Social Standing: Mid Range
and expert on poisons. This individual often Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Dress
serves as the personal Honor Guard of the Wound: 3, Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5,
Houses aryah. This individual is usually Intimidation: 3, Martial Arts: 8, Missile
responsible for the assigning of honor guards Combat or Throw: 5 (players choice),
to individuals and places, as well as helping Observation: 3, Tracking: 3, Knowledge:
to choose the representative of important 2 (current history), 2 (world cultures),
individuals for combat in the Spiral Arena. 2 (heraldry), 2 (politics), Profession: 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (master of the watch)
Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Dress Character Point Cost: 46
Wound: 3, Duel Dancing: 5, Etiquette:
3, Evade: 5, Intimidation: 3, Intrigue: Master Sorcerer (Prominent Healer, Mage, Seer,
3, Interrogation: 3, Firearm Combat: or Summoner Sirhibas) Prominent members
of a House or Line, these sirhibasi generally

Basic Compendium
135
Chapter III: Character Creation
work as the main sorcerer and medium to the trained hand-to-hand combatant who backs up
Dream and realms beyond. Sometimes called the Arena Master in the training of the warriors
Great Seers, Great Mages, etc., they spend most of the House for general purposes. Other duties
of their time doing research and performing would include the overseeing of the armory and
various rituals with the aid of more than a few arsenal of the House for the sake of training and
lesser sirhibasi, with the occasional audience defense.
with the aryah or aminar. It is they who often Social Standing: Mid Range
train the lesser sirhibasi within their House or Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Duel
BOOK ONE

even Line. Dancing: 5, Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5,


Social Standing: High Range Fastdraw: 5, Martial Arts: 8, Melee
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, 2 Magic Combat: 5, Missile Combat: 5, Throw:
Rituals: 10 (players choice), Research: 5, Oratory: 3, Tactics: 3, Gunsmith:
3, Knowledge: 2 (ancient history), 2 3 (firearms), Weaponsmith: 3 (bladed
(customs), 2 (divination), 2 (herbal weapons), 3 (blunt weapons), 3 (missile
lore), 2 (legends), 2 (lineage), 2 (magic weapons), Knowledge: 2 (current history),
theory), 2 (mathematics), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (world cultures), 2 (heraldry), 2
Profession: 2 (master sorcerer) (martial arts), 2 (military lore), 2 (cultural
Character Point Cost: 36 traditions), 2 (weapons), Profession: 2
(weapons master)
Master Torturer The Houses chief Character Point Cost: 78
interrogator who specializes in breaking
some of the toughest enemy agents (spies, Naval/Skyship Officer
assassins, etc.) This Sunborn is a twisted Admiral Also called a Jalavar (jah-lah-
form of physician who can keep victims alive VAR) on Drdnah, this sunborn officer is
for prolonged periods of time. They are also in command of a fleet of ships. Admirals are
masters of psychological torture. aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of
Social Standing: Mid Range each and every vessel within their fleets, as well
Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Etiquette: as the jnah who captain them. Many fleets
3, Alchemy: 3 (chemicals/poisons), include both sky ships and water vessels. Great
3 (medicine), Interrogation: 3, admirals know how to work with both to their
Intimidation: 3, Persuasion: 3, Research: advantage.
3, Surgery: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world Social Standing: High Range
cultures), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (medical Initial Skills: Duel Dancing: 5, Driving:
lore), 2 (poisons), Profession: 2 (master 3 (aerial vessels), 3 (nautical vessels),
torturer) Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5, Intimidation:
Character Point Cost: 37 3, Martial Arts: 8, Oratory: 3, Tactics:
3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2
Suthra Master This sunborn is the principle (cartography), 2 (geography), 2 (heraldry),
trainer and suthra handler for a House or Line. 2 (politics), 2 (skyships), 2 (cultural
Suthra Masters also oversee all of the suthra traditions), 2 (water vessels), 2 (weather
handlers and grooms within the household. lore), Profession: 2 (admiral)
A Suthra Master works closely with the Character Point Cost: 56
Huntmaster to train hunting suthra, but also
trains all other pets, mounts, and beasts of Boatswain Also called a Dhosin (DOE-sin)
burden used by the House. on Drdnah, the boatswain is a sunborn
Social Standing: Mid Range officer in charge of those who work the ships
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Riding: 3 (land), rigging, anchors, cables, and the deck crew in
3 (flying or aquatic), Suthra Use: 5, general.
Tracking: 3, Suthra Training: 3 (mounts), Social Standing: Mid Range
3 (aides & companions), 3 (weapons & Initial Skills: Climbing: 3, Driving: 3 (aerial
armor), Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), or nautical), Etiquette: 3, Intimidation:
2 (suthra lore), 2 (breed suthra), 2 3, Melee Combat: 5, Missile Combat: 5,
(kratellassi - suthra falconry), 2 (medical Firearm Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2 (rope
lore), Profession: 2 (suthra master) work), 2 (world cultures), 2 (weather
Character Point Cost: 38 lore), 2 (either skyships or water vessels),
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2
Weapons Master Sunborn warriors within a (boatswain)
House and Line who have become chief among Character Point Cost: 39
their peers in all things pertaining to weapons
and their crafting. They are also the master Captain Also called a Yadhish (yah-DEESH)
marksmen and archers of the Houses who trains on Drdnah, this sunborn officer is the one
warriors in the use of ranged weapons of all in command of the ship, and to whom all on
kinds (Vaylah, bows, crossbows, thrown blades, board, either crew or common passengers,
etc.). This individual is also usually a highly must answer.

136
Social Standing: Mid Range well as the cleaning and upkeep of the cannons
Initial Skills: Artillery Combat: 5, during moments of peace. Gunners will also
Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5, Driving: 3 (either generally be skilled in the firing of standard
aerial or nautical), Intimidation: 3, firearms.
Martial Arts: 8, Tactics: 3, Knowledge: Social Standing: Low Range

Chapter III: Character Creation


2 (cartography), 2 (geography), 2 (world Initial Skills: Evade: 5, Firearm Combat:
cultures), 2 (weather lore), 2 (either 5, Artillery Combat: 5, Knowledge:
skyships or water vessels), 2 (cultural 2 (either skyships or water vessels), 2
traditions), Profession: 2 (captain) (firearms), Profession: 2 (gunner)
Character Point Cost: 44 Character Point Cost: 21

Coxswain Also called a Dhaksin (dok- Master Gunner Also called a Hathim-Vaylah
SEEN) on Drdnah, the coxswain is the (ha-theem-VAY-lah) on Drdnah, this member
sunborn officer in charge of a ships smaller of the sunborn commands the cannonading and
boats and their crew. This individual would gunnery aboard a ship. It is the master gunners
also command any landing parties that would who interpret their captains orders to fire or
be sent in the absence of the captain. gives the command themselves, calling down
Social Standing: Mid Range into the gunnery deck to give the commands,
Initial Skills: Driving: 3 (either aerial adding their skill to the ships combat potential.
or nautical), Intimidation: 3, Martial All gunners answer to the master gunner.
Arts: 8, Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Social Standing: Mid Range
Combat: 5, Tactics: 3, Navigation: 3 Initial Skills: Evade: 5, Firearm Combat:
(either aerial or nautical), Knowledge: 5, Artillery Combat: 5, Intimidation: 3,
2 (world cultures), 2 (either skyships or Tactics: 3, Knowledge: 2 (either skyships
water vessels), 2 (cultural traditions), or water vessels), 2 (firearms), Profession:
Profession: 2 (coxswain) 2 (master gunner)
Character Point Cost: 38 Character Point Cost: 27

First Mate Also called a Pala-Mantri (pah- Navigator Also called a Farish (fah-REESH)
lah-MON-tree) on Drdnah, this sunborn on Drdnah, the Navigator is the sunborn
officer is second in command on board a ship, officer in charge of navigation on board ship,
ranking immediately beneath the captain. The using the charts maintained and stored by the
first mate delegates responsibilities throughout second mate. Navigators plot out a course for
the crew as well as takes command of the ship the captain and give the order to the pilot as to
when the captain is absent. which route the ship is to travel.
Social Standing: Mid Range Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Driving: 3 Initial Skills: Navigation: 3 (either aerial
(either aerial or nautical), Firearm or nautical), Knowledge: 2 (cartography),
Combat: 5, Intimidation: 3, Martial Arts: (geography), 2 (weather lore), 2
8, Tactics: 3, Knowledge: 2 (cartography), (either skyships or water vessels), 2
2 (geography), 2 (world cultures), 2 (mathematics), 2 (cultural traditions),
(weather lore), 2 (either skyships or Profession: 2 (navigator)
water vessels), 2 (cultural traditions), Character Point Cost: 17
Profession: 2 (first mate)
Character Point Cost: 39 Pilot Also called a Naya (NAH-ya) on Drdnah,
the pilot is the sunborn who physically steers the
Gunner Also called a Karna-Vaylah (kar-nah- vessel. Pilots follow the general course as plotted
VAY-lah) on Drdnah, the sunborn gunner by the navigator and manipulate the various
is one of potentially many on board charged steering devices that are aboard, depending on
with the loading and firing of the ships Vaylah what kind of ship theyre sailing. They may make
cannons during combat or special occasions, as sudden decisions to change direction or heading

Basic Compendium
137
Chapter III: Character Creation
based on fair and foul weather or other immediate water vessels), Profession: 2 (ships
prevailing circumstances. assistant)
Social Standing: Mid Range Character Point Cost: 11
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Driving: 3 (Either
Aerial or Nautical), Tactics: 3, Knowledge: Ships Physician This sunborn officer cares for
2 (geography), 2 (world cultures), 2 the crew, aiding and healing any sick, injured,
(weather lore), 2 (either skyships or water or dying crew members. Surgical methods of
vessels), 2 (cultural traditions), Profession: ships physicians are often regarded as crude
BOOK ONE

2 (pilot) compared to the doctors on land, but they work


Character Point Cost: 21 in difficult situations, like a combat surgeon or
field medic, to save lives otherwise lost under
Purser Also called a Karidana (kah-ree-DAH- arduous or remote circumstances. They abide
nah) on Drdnah, this sunborn is the officer by the standards and ancient traditions of
in charge of money matters on board a ship. medicine and healing on Drdnah.
The purser accounts for sailors wages as well Social Standing: Mid Range
as keeping the books for any trade or transport Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Etiquette:
done throughout the ships journeys. 3, Surgery: 3, Knowledge: 2 (jenu lore),
Social Standing: Mid Range 2 (herbal lore), 2 (medical lore), 2 (world
Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Conversation: cultures), Profession: 2 (ships physician)
3, Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world Character Point Cost: 19
cultures), 2 (economics), 2 (mathematics),
2 (cultural traditions), Profession: 2 Ships Weapons Master A sunborn sailor
(purser) who has become chief on the ship pertaining to
Character Point Cost: 19 all weapons kept in the armory, overseeing all
activity concerning the arsenal. This individual
Quartermaster Also called a Maru-Hathim is in charge of the distribution of stock weapons
(mah-roo-hah-THEEM) on Drdnah, this to the crew in the event of any violence, offensive
sunborn is the officer responsible for the food, or defensive. The Weapons Master is also
clothing, equipment, and lodgings of sailors, responsible for the training of the ships warriors
troops, and any passengers aboard ship. in both melee and missile weapons, including
Social Standing: Mid Range Vaylah, and insures that all weapons are kept in
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 good repair, replacing them as needed.
(world cultures), 2 (economics), 2 (either Social Standing: Mid Range
skyships or water vessels), 2 (cultural Initial Skills: Melee Combat: 5, Missile
traditions), Profession: 2 (quartermaster) Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5, Tactics:
Character Point Cost: 13 3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2
(military lore), 2 (either skyships or
Second Mate Also called a Dusara-Mantri (du- water vessels), 2 (cultural traditions), 2
sah-rah-MON-tree) on Drdnah, this sunborn (weapons), Profession: 2 (ships weapons
is the officer who assists in the operation of an master)
ocean- or sky-going vessel, with responsibility Character Point Cost: 30
in the areas of ships maintenance, operational
safety, cleanliness, and the maintenance and Vice-Admiral Also called a Laghu-Jalavar
storage of any navigation charts kept for the (lah-goo-jah-lah-VAR) on Drdnah, the Vice-
current navigator. Helps the first mate in Admiral is a sunborn officer who is second in
carrying the captains commands to the lower the chain of command within a fleet. They are
decks during pressing situations. aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of
Social Standing: Mid Range each and every vessel within their fleet, as well
Initial Skills: Driving: 3 (either aerial or as the jnah who captain them. In larger fleets
nautical), Intimidation: 3, Martial Arts: containing watercraft and sky craft, a Vice-
8, Tactics: 3, Knowledge: 2 (cartography), Admiral tends to command one group or the
2 (geography), 2 (weather lore), 2 (either other under the orders of the Admiral.
skyships or water vessels), 2 (cultural Social Standing: High Range
traditions), Profession: 2 (second mate) Initial Skills: Duel Dancing: 5, Driving:
Character Point Cost: 29 3 (aerial vessels), 3 (nautical vessels),
Etiquette: 3, Evade: 3, Intimidation:
Ships Assistant These sunborn are assigned 3, Martial Arts: 8, Oratory: 3, Tactics:
to each of a ships officers to act as an aide for 3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2
the various duties the officer must undertake. (cartography), 2 (geography), 2 (heraldry),
Additional skills they possess generally reflect 2 (politics), 2 (skyships), 2 (cultural
the duties of the officer whom they assist. traditions), 2 (water vessel), 2 (weather
Social Standing: Low Range lore), Profession: 2 (vice-admiral)
Initial Skills: Melee Combat: 5, Knowledge: Character Point Cost: 56
2 (weather lore), 2 (either skyships or

138
Noble A ruling noble member of the High Caste Hukm (huh-KOOM) The chief military
often in charge of some political region, Line, or officer of the royal armies of a prince, and
House. There are many different titles, any of the chief enforcer of laws across the entire
which might also be addressed as a lord or lady. It principality ruled by that prince.
is, however, highly unlikely that these individuals

Chapter III: Character Creation


would be allowed as player characters, except Syah (see-ah) The ruling head of a city within
in rare cases, as it is very difficult to adventure a principality, who oversees the will of the
while trying to rule a country. Below, after the prince on a local level.
general statistics, are the descriptions for each
classification, since most nobles would usually Khan The ruler of the Hardazi people; not
have a similar set of basic skills. truly part of the Caste System, since the
Social Standing: High Range Hardazi see themselves as separate from the
Initial Skills: Oratory: 3, Etiquette: 3, rest of the cultures, but mentioned because of
Melee Combat: 5, Riding: 3 (land his ranking among his people.
mount), Tactics: 3, Firearm Combat:
5, Intrigue: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world Chieftain Head of one of the wandering
cultures), 2 (current history), 2 Hardazi clan, also called clan elder; not truly
(economics), 2 (heraldry), 2 (lineages), part of the Caste System, since the Hardazi
2 (politics), 2 (cultural traditions), see themselves as separate from the rest of
Profession: 2 (noble) the cultures, but mentioned because of their
Character Point Cost: 41 ranking among their people.

Aminar (AH-mi-nar) The ruler of a large Isvar (IZ-var) The ruler of a small country called
country called an amn, similar in scope to an an isvarate, similar in scope to a kingdom.
empire.
High Magistrate A sunborn lord appointed
Governor The ruler of a large land region known by an isvar to oversee and coordinate the
as a province within the borders of an amn. operations and jurisdictions of all the other
magistrates within the nation. The high
Grand Imr (ee-MEER) A sunborn lord magistrate also has final command of the local
appointed by an aminar to oversee and militia and the defense of the city or town they
coordinate the operations and jurisdictions occupy.
of all the other imrs within the nation. The
grand imrs also have final command of the Magistrate The ruling civil officer overseeing
local militia and the defense of the cities or a city within an isvarate, holding the power to
towns they occupy. administer and enforce the law of the isvar.
Like an imr, a magistrate is similar to a mayor
Imr (ih-MEER) The ruling head of a city and high judge in authority. Magistrates have
within an Amn, dispensing law and justice at command of the city guards and regional
the behest of the grand imr in the name of militia, who in turn have the authority to pass
the provincial governor, and thus, the aminar. judgment in the magistrates name as they see
This title is similar to a mayor and high judge fit and within reason, according to the laws of
in authority. It is the imrs who command the the isvar.
city guards and regional militia, who have the
authority to pass judgment in the imrs name Great Aryah (AR-yah) The ruling head of a
as they see fit and within reason, according to Line who oversees the aryahs of the Houses of
the laws of the aminar. the Line spread throughout various cities and
who ostensibly serves the will of the countrys
High Prince The most currently powerful ruler.
prince among the set of subdivided regions
known as principalities, usually gaining Aryah (AR-yah) The ruling head and lord of
prominence militarily or politically. a House representing a Lineage within a city,
Regardless of the gender of the individual, generally answering only to the great aryah and
the title is always high prince. The high prince thus to the ruler of the nation as well.
has usually gained control of the Jade Throne
of Benng. Heir The current male or female relative or
appointed personage who will inherit a lordly
Prince The ruler of a land region, once a title in the foreseeable future. Heirs of either
part of a unified country that has become an aminar or an isvar are called royal heirs.
politically subdivided, called a principality,
which is similar in scope to a petty kingdom. Consort The chosen primary spouse, lover,
Regardless of the gender of the individual, the or mate of a ruling lord or lady. Consorts are
title is always prince. given the honor of sharing a lordly title in
deference to their social position. They will

Basic Compendium
139
Chapter III: Character Creation
sometimes be called upon to make decisions Suthra Weapon Trainer This Sunborn
and act in the stead of their significant others specializes in the breeding and training of
when necessary. the various suthra weapons (as well as living
armor) available on Drdnah. When hired
Physician A military or naval doctor, or even by a House, this Sunborn becomes known as
a private noble practitioner of basic medical a Suthra Master.
arts; not as learned as a Holy Caste doctor, but Social Standing: Mid Range
rather more like a field medic in their range of Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Suthra Use: 5,
BOOK ONE

abilities. These jnah, though they can perform Tracking: 3, Suthra Training: 3 (weapons
many general surgeries and dress most wounds, & armor), Knowledge: 2 (suthra lore),
are commonly kept at hand to dispense 2 (breed suthra), 2 (medical lore),
medicines, poultices, and other remedies, and Profession: 2 (suthra weapon trainer)
to oversee the general health and wellness of Character Point Cost: 22
their patients. They tend to defer to the wisdom
of Holy Caste doctors when dealing with more Spy These Sunborn are trained to infiltrate
serious health affairs or difficult operations. enemy strongholds, or to travel to distant lands,
Social Standing: Mid Range and conduct various acts of espionage and
Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Etiquette: sabotage. They are often masters at blending
3, Research: 3, Surgery: 3, Alchemy: into local cultures and environments, and have
3 (medicine), Knowledge: 2 (cultural been known to train extensively to insure that
traditions), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (jenu lore), 2 can slip past most barriers or gain the trust of
(medical lore), Profession: 2 (physician) those whose secrets they would steal.
Character Point Cost: 25 Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Acting: 3, Climbing: 3,
Shikari (shih-KAH-ree) (Big Game Hunter) Concealment: 3, Conversation: 3,
A Sunborn who specializes in the hunting Cryptography: 3, Diplomacy: 3, Etiquette:
of large, dangerous prey. This individual can 3, Intrigue: 3, Knowledge: 2 (current
either act as a guide to nobles who wish to go history), 2 (world cultures), 2 (politics), 2
on a safari-like hunt for sport, or they can be (cultural traditions), Language: 2 (another
employed to rid areas of dangerous predatory language - players choice), Lock Picking:
marauders. 3, Observation: 3, Shadowing: 3, Stealth:
Social Standing: Mid Range 3, Profession: 2 (spy)
Initial Skills: Alchemy: 3 (Chemistry/ Character Point Cost: 48
Poison), Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5,
Concealment: 3, Dress Wound: 3, Treasure Hunter Sunborn who have dedicated
Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5, themselves to searching for and acquiring rare
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (suthra and expensive ancient artifacts and forgotten
lore), 2 (weather lore), 2 (weapons), riches, consisting mainly of the wealth of
Observation: 3, Survival: 3, Stealth: 3, lost civilizations or sunken treasures. They
Tracking: 3, Profession: 2 (shikari) often collect tomes and scrolls containing the
Character Point Cost: 49 legends and lore that give clues to the location
of such places, and are willing to venture into
Sorcerer (Healer, Mage, Seer, and Summoner dangerous locales to retrieve their prize.
Sirhibas) Also called sirhibasi (SEER-hih- Social Standing: Mid Range
bah-see), the plural of sirhibas, these Sunborn Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Climbing: 3,
possess the ability to perform the ritual magics Concealment: 3, Research: 3, Melee
of Drdnah. With these magical gifts of the Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
Devah, the sirhibasi are able to accomplish Navigation: 3 (one of aerial, land, or
things that others may find miraculous, and nautical), Observation: 3, Survival:
sunborn with such skill are often called upon to 3, Knowledge: 2 (current history), 2
serve the higher castes with acts of divination, (ancient history), 2 (world cultures), 2
sorcery, and ceremonial enchantments. (heraldry), 2 (tradition), 2 (cartography),
Sorcerers are often attached to Houses and 2 (region - players choice), 2 (geography),
Lines, serving the lords within. 2 (literature), 2 (legends), Language:
Social Standing: High Range 2 (another language - players choice),
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Magic Ritual: 5 Profession: 2 (treasure hunter)
(players choice), Research: 3, Knowledge: Character Point Cost: 55
2 (ancient history), 2 (world cultures),
2 (divination), 2 (herbal lore), 2 Warrior
(legends), 2 (lineage), 2 (magic theory), 2
(mathematics), 2 (ritual lore), Profession: Aerial Trooper These Sunborn soldiers, also
2 (sorcerer) called Ashvayu (ash-VAH-yu), are trained to
Character Point Cost: 31 ride makdi and fight as aerial cavalry.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Melee Combat:

140
5, Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: Master Cannoneer This Sunborn officer
5, Riding: 3 (flying mount), Throw: 5, generally commands several units of artillery,
Knowledge: 2 (suthra lore), 2 (cultural and oversees their movements and determines
traditions), 2 (military lore), Profession: 2 their placement for best effect in the field. It
(aerial trooper) is they who often are in charge of giving the

Chapter III: Character Creation


Character Point Cost: 34 general orders to fire.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Cannoneer This Sunborn soldier is trained in Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Evade: 5, Melee
the use of cannons and artillery guns, used by Combat: 5, Tactics: 3, Firearm Combat:
the military on the field of battle, in defense 5, Artillery Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2
of city walls, and within fortified Houses and (cultural traditions), 2 (military lore),
strongholds. 2 (firearms), Profession: 2 (master
Social Standing: Mid Range cannoneer)
Initial Skills: Evade: 5, Firearm Combat: Character Point Cost: 34
5, Artillery Combat: 5, Knowledge: 2
(firearms), 2 (military lore), Profession: 2 Mercenary (Masterless Warrior) Also called
(cannoneer) Dhul-Sipahi (dool-sih-PAH-hee) meaning
Character Point Cost: 21 Dust-Warrior or simply Sipahi on Drdnah,
this sunborn warrior has decided, for whatever
Guard Also called a Karna (KAR-nah) on reason, to fight for respect and money
Drdnah, this sunborn is a simple warrior rather than a cause of honor. Similar to the
who is usually assigned to watch over a wandering ronin of ancient Japan, mercenaries
prisoner, a place of general importance (such are generally loyal to the one who hires them at
as the corridor outside of the room of a guest, the highest rate of pay, as opposed to serving
an entrance to the House, or some valuable any kind of lord, House, or Line. They are
property outside of the House), an item of truly swords for hire, selling their skills to
value, or any situation in need of standard various merchants, traders, or even individuals
security. These individuals are usually a part of of more unscrupulous natures. Mercenaries
a House or Line to whom they owe their duty might move from city to city, making their
and allegiance. Within a House they are usually living from one employer to another, and can
considered part of the Watch (general House sometimes be found doing combat in contests
security). When not on duty they sometimes held within the various cities Spiral Arenas.
seek glory and practice beyond the walls of Social Standing: Low Range
their Houses in the public Spiral Arenas. Initial Skills: Bargain: 3, Melee Combat:
Social Standing: Low Range 5, Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Combat:
Initial Skills: Melee Combat: 5, Missile
Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
Knowledge: 2 (military lore), Profession:
2 (guard)
Character Point Cost: 19

Honor Guard A sunborn warrior within a


House and Line who is assigned an important
person to be protected, served, and represented
in the Spiral Arena. Honor Guards will generally
remain with or near that person most of the time
while on duty unless otherwise ordered by their
lord or other superiors. An Honor Guard may
also be relieved of guarding a specific individual in
order to directly serve the needs and commands
of the Master of the Honor Guard or the lord
for the purposes of special missions and other
House directives, secret or otherwise.
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Etiquette:
3, Dress Wound: 3, Duel Dancing:
5, Evade: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
Intimidation: 3, Martial Arts: 8, Missile
Combat: 5, Observation: 3, Throw:
5, Knowledge: 2 (current history), 2
(cultural traditions), 2 (heraldry), 2
(martial arts), Profession: 2 (honor guard)
Character Point Cost: 58

Basic Compendium
141
Chapter III: Character Creation
5, Throw: 5, Streetwise: 3, Knowledge: Initial Skills: Artillery Combat: 5, Evade:
2 (world cultures), 2 (additional area 5, Firearm Combat: 5, Melee Combat: 5,
-players choice), Profession: 2 (mercenary) Missile Combat: 5, Throw: 5, Knowledge:
Character Point Cost: 32 2 (architecture), 2 (carpentry), 2 (land
vehicles), 2 (mathematics), 2 (military
Mounted Trooper The cavalry of Drdnah, lore), Profession: 2 (siege engineer)
also called Ashvari (ash-VAR-ee) or the singular Character Point Cost: 42
Ashvar, these Sunborn soldiers are trained
Soldier This sunborn is one of many within
BOOK ONE

to fight from chintiback and specialize in


maneuvers suited to cavalry. the ranks of any given army. From a small
Social Standing: Mid Range skirmish to a massive ground battle, the soldier
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Melee Combat: is the rank and file that does the fighting, spills
5, Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: the blood, and dies for the greater cause of the
5, Riding: 3 (land mount), Knowledge: House, Line, or country. Though often a nation
2 (suthra lore), 2 (world cultures), 2 has its own standing army, it is not uncommon
(military lore), Profession: 2 (mounted for rulers to demand conscripts taken from the
trooper) guards of the lords of the Houses and Lines
Character Point Cost: 29 within their lands during times of war. For this
reason, common soldiers are also often referred
Officer (Captain, Commander, General, Sergeant) to as Karna.
These Sunborn soldiers hold an officers rank Social Standing: Low Range
in the military. Generals, also called Varsen Initial Skills: Melee Combat: 5, Missile
(var-SEN) on Drdnah, are master strategists. Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
They know the strengths and weaknesses of Knowledge: 2 (military lore), Profession:
each of their units and how best to implement 2 (soldier)
them for a given campaign. Generals usually Character Point Cost: 19
command a legion (around 5,000 soldiers).
Commanders, also called Agyasen (ahg-yah- Vaylah Trooper A Sunborn soldier, also called
SEN) on Drdnah, report directly to generals a Vaylah-Karna (vay-lah-KAR-nah), trained
and typically command a single regiment in the use of various firearms and explosives.
(around 1,000 soldiers). Captains, also called The equivalent of Drdnahs musketeers or
Kaptana (cop-TAH-nah) on Drdnah, report janissaries.
to Commanders and command a single Social Standing: Mid Range
battalion (around 100 soldiers). Sergeants, also Initial Skills: Evade: 5, Melee Combat:
called Sarjanta (sar-JAHN-tah) on Drdnah, 5, Firearm Combat: 5, Throw: 5,
report to Captains and command a single Knowledge: 2 (firearms), 2 (military lore),
troop (around 10 soldiers). Profession: 2 (Vaylah trooper)
Social Standing: High - Mid Range Character Point Cost: 26
Initial Skills: Evade: 5, Etiquette: 3,
Oratory: 3, Intimidation: 3, Persuasion:
3, Martial Arts: 8, Melee Combat: 5, Holy Caste Professions
Missile Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5,
Tactics: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), Advisor A member of the Holy Caste whose life
2 (military lore), 2 (politics), 2 (cultural path has brought them to the ear of an aryah,
traditions), Profession: 2 (officer) aminar, prince, imr, or isvar. The advisor may
Character Point Cost: 53 have been a priest, a chamberlain, or just a trusted
childhood friend. In any case, Advisors tend to
Sapper A sunborn soldier employed in the be looked upon as voices of wisdom and good
construction of fortifications, trenches, or judgment by the individuals whom they advise.
tunnels that approach or undermine enemy Social Standing: High Range
positions. Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Diplomacy:
Social Standing: Mid Range 3, Intrigue: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world
Initial Skills: Melee Combat: 5, Missile cultures), 2 (current history), 2
Combat: 5, Firearm Combat: 5, Throw: (economics), 2 (politics), 2 (cultural
5, Knowledge: 2 (architecture), 2 traditions), Profession: 2 (advisor)
(underground structures), 2 (military Character Point Cost: 21
lore), Profession: 2 (sapper)
Character Point Cost: 28 Antiquarian A member of the Holy Caste
who has dedicated his life to exploring ancient
ruins and collecting historical artifacts. An
Siege Engineer A Sunborn engineer who Antiquarian is the Drdni equivalent of an
specializes in the construction and use of archeologist.
siege engines and other large-scale battlefield Social Standing: High Range
constructs and mechanisms. Initial Skills: Concealment: 3, Etiquette: 3,
Social Standing: Mid Range

142
Observation: 3, Research: 3, Navigation: 3 Dru Priests (DAH-roo) Mentioned here,
(one of aerial, land, or nautical), Survival: not because they are truly members of the Holy
3, Knowledge: 2 (current history), 2 Caste in the eyes of the rest of the world, but
(ancient history), 2 (world cultures), because of the positions they hold among the
2 (heraldry), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 Hardazi Clans, these are the holy priests of the

Chapter III: Character Creation


(cartography), 2 (region - players choice), Worshippers of Dar, the god of the Hardazi.
2 (geography), 2 (literature), 2 (legends), They are also practitioners of the ritual magic
Language: 2 (additional - players choice), among the Hardazi (called Blood Magic,
Profession: 2 (antiquarian) because it often entails the use of blood sacrifice
Character Point Cost: 42 from oneself or others), which can cover a wide
variety of disciplines similar to many of the
Architect Members of the Holy Caste that have various rituals known to the rest of the world.
devoted their lives to the building of structures All initial skills below refer specifically to the
for various uses. Master Architects, with great insular culture of their people.
love and patience, bring their personal vision Social Standing: High Range
of the Devah to the buildings they design and Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette:
oversee construction on, whether building a 3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Magic
palace or tomb, temple or well. Ritual: 5 (players choice), Martial Arts:
Social Standing: High Range 8, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Artistry: 2 cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient
(sculpting) Research: 3, Knowledge: 2 history), 2 (heraldry), 2 (politics), 2
(architecture), 2 (art), 2 (world cultures), (cultural traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2
2 (fashion), 2 (mathematics), 2 (religion (religion), Profession: 2 (Dru priest)
- specific to their particular caste Character Point Cost: 46
profession), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (cultural
traditions), Profession: 2 (architect) High Dru Father The most powerful of all
Character Point Cost: 26 priests that make up the Lawspeakers of Dar.
Second only to the Khan in power, his word is
Chamberlain This Holy Caste member law across all of the Khanate of the Hardazi.
manages the household of a member of
the High Caste. Chamberlains tend to the Clan Lawspeaker of Dar The religious and
day-to-day functioning of the household, spiritual leaders within a Hardazi Clan, who
making sure that the various servants, cooks, give wise council to the Chieftains (Clan
groundskeepers, and guards all function as Elders).
a well-oiled machine and are provided for as
befits their rank and station. Diplomat (Ambassador) This member of the
Social Standing: Mid Range Holy Caste opens lines of communication
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Conversation: between nations, Lines, Houses, guilds, etc.
3, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world Diplomats sometimes travel at the behest
cultures), 2 (economics), 2 (heraldry), of a nation or house to make arrangements
2 (lineages), 2 (politics), 2 (cultural with other nations, houses, or guilds for the
traditions), Profession: 2 (chamberlain) purposes of treaties, trade agreements, and
Character Point Cost: 23 even espionage.
Social Standing: High Range
Chef Members of the Holy Caste who have Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette:
devoted their lives to the creation of flavorful 3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue:
delicacies especially for Holy Caste Mngai 3, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world
(priests), who must eat no unclean food and cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (famous
who trust only those of their own caste to jnah), 2 (economics), 2 (politics),
prepare such. Chefs of this caste are highly 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (lineages),
sought after for employment at many levels of Language: 2 (second - players choice),
society because the operator of a restaurant, Profession: 2 (diplomat)
teahouse owner, or discerning lord of a House Character Point Cost: 36
can be assured of the comfort (and favor) of
any visiting mngai, and, of course, the lack of Doctor This member of the Holy Caste has
any offense to the Devah. devoted an entire career to the aiding and
Social Standing: Mid Range healing of the sick, injured, and dying.
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 Doctors follow all the standards and ancient
(cooking), 2 (world cultures), 2 (herbal traditions of medicine and healing on
lore), 2 (jenu lore), 2 (religion - specific to Drdnah. Nearly all Houses have their own
their particular caste profession), 2 (ritual doctor who personally sees to the needs of the
lore), 2 (tradition), Profession: 2 (chef) aryah and the household. Formally trained in
Character Point Cost: 19 the Academies or by other skilled doctors, they
quickly make their way into such Houses, great

Basic Compendium
143
Chapter III: Character Creation
and small, under oaths contracts of loyalty and 3, Intimidation: 3, Persuasion: 3,
private employ. Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (current history), 2 (ancient history), 2
Initial Skills: Dress Wound: 3, Etiquette: (geography), 2 (lineages), 2 (economics),
3, Research: 3, Surgery: 3, Alchemy: 2 (politics), 2 (cultural traditions), 2
3 (medicine), Knowledge: 2 (world (ritual lore), 2 (religion - specific to their
cultures), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (jenu lore), 2 particular caste profession), Profession: 2
(medical lore), 2 (ritual lore), Profession: (judge)
Character Point Cost: 43
BOOK ONE

2 (doctor)
Character Point Cost: 27
Librarian A specialized scholar trained in the
Law Speaker These Holy Caste individuals caring of books and scrolls. Drdni librarians
are the bridge between the holy orders and do have a fairly uniform filing system, which
the affairs of state. Charged with the task of is alphabetical by the title of the work, or in
interpreting the will of the Devah and the Great the case of untitled works, by the name of the
Mother and Father, Law Speakers transcribe author. They also classify books by the dates
these laws into written form for the use of the they were written, but thats mostly for their
lands rulers, magistrates, and their underlings. own purposes. A Houses librarian is knows
They may also function as advocates for either as a Master Librarian and is the head of tutors
side in the case of trials, public or private. for the House, the chief scholar and instructor
and, usually, the keeper of the Houses records,
Arbiter A Holy Caste member whos been history, tomes and scrolls.
specially trained to mediate disputes and settle Social Standing: High Range
arguments, especially between powerful Houses Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illumination),
and Lines. These individuals are basically peace- Etiquette: 3, Research: 3, Knowledge:
keepers who try and prevent warfare between 2 (world cultures), 2 (current history),
Lines. 2 (cartography), 2 (ancient history), 2
Social Standing: High Range (geography), 2 (lineages), 2 (cultural
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette: traditions), 2 (mineral lore), 2
3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue: (mathematics), 2 (religion - specific
3, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world to their particular caste profession),
cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient Language: 2 (second - players choice),
history), 2 (geography), 2 (lineages), 2 Profession: 2 (librarian)
(economics), 2 (politics), 2 (cultural Character Point Cost: 32
traditions), 2 (religion - specific to their
particular caste profession), Profession Mngai (Priests of all ranks, Holy Person)
(arbiter) Great Satyan Addressed as Illustrious
Character Point Cost: 38 Mngai. The Head of the Order or spiritual
leader of a particular country. There may be
Lawyer (Advocate, Prosecutor) The legal counsel such an individual for every country that has
of Drdnah, lawyers both defend and prosecute adherents to the Mahist faith, though they may
cases of all kinds brought before the courts and not necessarily be in favor with one another,
magistrates. since each countrys politics plays an important
Social Standing: High Range role.
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette: Social Standing: High Range
3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue: Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette:
3, Intimidation: 3, Persuasion: 3, 3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue:
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 3, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world
(current history), 2 (ancient history), 2 cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient
(geography), 2 (lineages), 2 (economics), history), 2 (legends), 2 (geography), 2
2 (politics), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (lineages), 2 (heraldry), 2 (politics), 2
(religion - specific to their particular caste (cultural traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2
profession), Profession: 2 (lawyer) (religion), Profession: 2 (great satyan)
Character Point Cost: 41 Character Point Cost: 42

Judge Holy Caste members who are incredibly High Satyan Addressed as Revered Mngai.
learned in the laws of the land, both sacred The leader of the greatest temple in most
and secular. Judges pass the final judgement on large cities (or regions). There will be such
cases but they do not enforce the laws through an individual in larger cities to which lesser
punishment; that is up to the High Caste mngai in the surrounding smaller temples of
magistrates to do. that province answer.
Social Standing: High Range Social Standing: High Range
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette: Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette:
3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue: 3, Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Intrigue:

144
3, Persuasion: 3, Knowledge: 2 (world the Devah find such a jnah worthy.
cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient Social Standing: Mid Range
history), 2 (legends), 2 (geography), 2 Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Oratory: 3,
(lineages), 2 (heraldry), 2 (politics), 2 Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (current
(cultural traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 history), 2 (ancient history), 2 (legends),

Chapter III: Character Creation


(religion), Profession: 2 (high satyan) 2 (cultural traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2
Character Point Cost: 42 (religion), Profession: 2 (monk)
Character Point Cost: 22
High Priest Addressed as Elder Mngai.
The chosen leader of a smaller temple under Priest (Simple Priest, Holy Person or Acolyte) A
the jurisdiction of a particular High Satyan. common priest of the Mahist Faith, and the
They are chosen by the High Satyan of the title showing that one has been accepted
region from among the most honored monks into the Priest Caste. They have no honorary
known to them, though usually from the powers of their own and must support and
monks of that particular temple needing a new perform service to their Masters and higher
High Priest. priests for many years before becoming Monks
Social Standing: High Range themselves.
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette: 3, Social Standing: Mid Range
Diplomacy: 3, Oratory: 3, Persuasion: 3, Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (current (world cultures), 2 (current history), 2
history), 2 (ancient history), 2 (heraldry), (ancient history), 2 (legends), 2 (cultural
2 (politics), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion),
(ritual lore), 2 (religion), Profession: 2 Profession: 2 (priest)
(elder mngai) Character Point Cost: 19
Character Point Cost: 33
Disciple (Student or Pupil) A young person of
Healer Mngai Addressed as Blessed Healer. any caste or sex, taken under the teachings of
These members of the Holy Caste have devoted a Monk within the Mahist Faith. Disciples
their lives to the aiding and healing of the sick must perform mundane and often laborious
and injured through the works of standard tasks under the strict eye of their Master and
medicine as well as the blessed magic of healing the Masters priests, before finally being judged
rituals. Highly sought after in temples, Houses, worthy of becoming a mngai and therefore a
and palaces alike, one can be sure the Devah member of the priest caste. Until then, they
watch over those under the ministrations of a must prove their piety and diligence while
holy Healer. remaining under the constrictions of the caste
Social Standing: Mid Range into which they were born.
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Dress Wound: Social Standing: Low Range
3, Magic Ritual: 5 (healing), Research: 3, Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2
Knowledge: 2 (world cultures), 2 (medical (world cultures), 2 (current history), 2
lore), 2 (herbal lore), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (ancient history), 2 (legends), 2 (cultural
(religion), Profession: 2 (healer mngai) traditions), Profession: 2 (disciple)
Character Point Cost: 26 Character Point Cost: 15

Monk (Mendicant, Missionary, Nun) Often Sadhu (SAH-doo) (Holy Seer, Mage, Summoner
addressed as Master. A religious teacher, Mngai) These Holy Caste members have
spiritual and/or martial advisor to those seeking been granted, directly by the Devah, the gift
the path to greater faith. Monks are given the of heavenly visions and mystical protection.
honor of training Disciples in preparation The magic they perform, therefore, tends to be
for becoming part of the Priest Caste. They of a more miraculous nature, rather than the
have the ability to bestow a change in Caste as somewhat formulaic rituals of the standard
well as the title of Monk (though this usually sirhibasi (who are referred to as sorcerers
requires their student priest to best them in by members of the Holy Caste). Prayers and
some form of contest of skills). Another form invocations of the Devah are a common part of
of such a level within the faith is Mendicant, such magic and the devotional nature of these
a Monk who has chosen to leave the temple, practices is key. Since many religions revile
taken a vow of poverty, and travels throughout summoning as unholy, there are very few Sadhu
the lands spreading his teachings to others who openly summon demons or spirits except
while depending on charity for his daily bread. among the worshippers of Nagamssa and
A Mendicant may also take on Disciples, and among the bats of Klinrh.
eventually bestow upon them the caste-braid Social Standing: High Range
of Priest. Monks, as well as mngai of higher Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Magic Ritual:
ranks, have the ability to sanction and bless the 5 (Dreamwalking, Endowment, or
granting of higher caste to a jnah, providing Summoning), Research: 3, Knowledge:
the mngai discovers through meditation that 2 (world cultures), 2 (ancient history), 2

Basic Compendium
145
Chapter III: Character Creation
(divination), 2 (legends), 2 (magic theory), other religious icons found in temples.
2 (cultural traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 Social Standing: Mid Range
(religion), Profession: 2 (sadhu) Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (sculpting),
Character Point Cost: 29 Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (world
cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient
Sacred Artist A Holy Caste individual selected history), 2 (mineral lore), 2 (cultural
and trained for their amazing artistic skills traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion),
which they use to create all forms of art for the Profession: 2 (sacred sculptor)
Character Point Cost: 23
BOOK ONE

Holy Caste and the Devah.

Dramatist A writer of sacred plays and Sacred Performer A Holy Caste individual
performances, often inspired directly from selected and trained for their amazing
the pages of the holiest of Mahist texts, the performance skills which they use in religious
Partakm. Such an individual is also often a rituals and festivals at the behest of priests,
skilled choreographer, as well as a composer nobles, and jnah of all levels of society.
of the songs and music needed for the
performances. Dancer A Holy Caste member trained in
Social Standing: Mid Range the various sacred dances of Drdnah. In
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (playwriting), addition, they also serve as dramatic stage actors
Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 in holy plays and other performances written
(world cultures), 2 (current history), 2 by Dramatists. They often portray the Devah
(ancient history), 2 (literature), 2 (cultural in festivals and religious rituals where the gods
traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion), descend and dance among the jnah.
Performance: 2 (dramatizing), Profession: Social Standing: Mid Range
2 (sacred dramatist) Initial Skills: Acrobatics: 5, Etiquette: 3,
Character Point Cost: 25 Performance: 2 (dancing), Knowledge:
2 (art), 2 (world cultures), 2 (current
Painter A painter of sacred images, either on history), 2 (ancient history), 2 (cultural
temple walls or as portraitures of the Devah traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion),
and holy personages. Profession: 2 (sacred dancer)
Social Standing: Mid Range Character Point Cost: 26
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (illustration),
Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 Musician A Holy Caste member trained as
(world cultures), 2 (current history), 2 a musician, often as master of many different
(ancient history), 2 (literature), 2 (cultural instruments, who performs at the various
traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion), religious festivals and rituals (our Drdni
Profession: 2 (sacred painter) version of Ravi Shankar). Holy Musicians
Character Point Cost: 23 primarily draw their works from ancient
religious traditions, but can also compose new
Poet Holy Caste artist trained in the instrumental works when necessary.
composition of poetry and epic verse (think of Social Standing: Mid Range
the writers of the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Performance:
Gita). These writings often honor acts of jnah 2 (music), Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (world
or the Devah in the name of the Great Mother cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient
and Father, or teach poetic lessons concerning history), 2 (music), 2 (cultural traditions),
the failings of mortals who disobey holy law. 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion), Profession: 2
Social Standing: Mid Range (sacred musician)
Initial Skills: Artistry: 2 (composition), Character Point Cost: 23
Etiquette: 3, Knowledge: 2 (art), 2
(world cultures), 2 (current history), 2 Singer A Holy Caste performer trained to
(ancient history), 2 (literature), 2 (cultural sing all the devotions to the Devah at religious
traditions), 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion), rituals and festivals. Such an individual might
Profession: 2 (sacred poet) be a master of one or many different vocal
Character Point Cost: 23 traditions (our Drdni version of Nusrat
Fateh Ali Khan). Holy Singers primarily draw
Sculptor A Holy Caste member who shapes, their songs from traditional religious chants
molds, or fashions various materials, such and hymns, but can also compose new songs
as stone, clay, glass, crystal, Amber, etc., with as needed.
artistry and/or precision to create sacred Social Standing: Mid Range
sculptural works. Many sculptors often Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Performance: 2
specialize in one material or another, and (singing), Knowledge: 2 (art), 2 (world
thus have specific craft or knowledge skills as cultures), 2 (current history), 2 (ancient
a result. These individuals are the ones who history), 2 (music), 2 (cultural traditions),
carve the various statues of the Devah and 2 (ritual lore), 2 (religion), Profession: 2

146
(sacred singer) Combat Skill that costs 8 points due to the fact
Character Point Cost: 23 that it can be used both armed and unarmed, gives
characters a defense against certain ranged attacks,
Scholar (Philosopher, Teacher) This member of and allows players to use the special combat effects
the Holy Caste is devoted to the pursuit of of the Maneuver Location Table at the base modifiers

Chapter III: Character Creation


knowledge and understanding as well as the
edification of the unlearned. Many teach in the given in the table (see the Combat chapter for further
larger classrooms within the great academies, details).
some teach amongst the Satyan priests, while Standard Skills cost 3 points and cover a
still others are retained by the great Houses wide variety of different disciplines. Skills such as
and Lines as personal tutors for their favored shadowing an enemy, picking a lock, setting traps,
residents. or crafting weapons are all examples of Standard
Social Standing: Mid Range
Initial Skills: Conversation: 3, Etiquette: Skills. Several Standard Skills will be included in
3, Oratory: 3, Research: 3, Knowledge: the Profession Templates, but you are free to add as
2 (current history), 2 (ancient history), 2 many as you can afford as long as they meet with the
(world cultures), 2 (cultural traditions), 2 GMs approval.
(literature), 2 (ritual lore ), 2 (religion), 2 Background Skills cost 2 points each because
(legends), Language: 2 (second language - they are generally not as useful as Combat or
players choice), Profession: 2 (scholar)
Character Point Cost: 32 Standard Skills, but are still an important aspect of
your character. Such things as knowledge of various
Scribe (Calligrapher) This member of the Holy subjects, the ability to speak different languages,
Caste is the keeper of historical and ancient lore or your characters hobbies and profession are all
as well as the chronicler of current happenings. examples of Background Skills. Choosing the right
Some spend their days cataloging the great Background Skills can really help set your character
libraries, while others document important apart from all the other members of your chosen
events; certain scribes are even hired to keep profession. An assassin that also happens to craft
the accounts for many of the great Lines or beautiful stained glass windows and is a virtuoso
Houses. with the flute makes for a unique and interesting
Social Standing: Low Range
Initial Skills: Etiquette: 3, Artistry: 2 character.
(illumination), Research: 3, Knowledge:
2 (ancient history), 2 (current history), General Skills & Specialization
2 (world cultures), 2 (legends), 2 (ritual Some Skills will list various categories in their
lore), 2 (cultural traditions), Profession: descriptions. These Skills are considered General
2 (scribe) Skills, and when you purchase them you must specify
Character Point Cost: 22
one of the categories as your characters Specialization.
If you wish to have multiple Specializations, you must
purchase the Skill again for each new category. These
Skills Skills must all be improved independently of each
Skills are proficiencies that your character other, although all of their values are raised if you
acquires or develops through training or experience. raise the Characteristic to which they are linked.
The ability to hide in shadows, use martial arts, Example: A player decides to purchase the
sculpt a statue, or speak different languages are all Performance Skill, which allows him to specialize
examples of Skills. As with Animal Abilities, Skills in one of several forms of artistic performance. He
are performed by rolling Action Dice, which are decides he wants to be a shadow puppeteer and so
linked to a Characteristic (or a combination of chooses Puppetry as his Specialization. If the player
Characteristics) from which they derive their original decided he also wanted to be a juggler, he would
value. Talents and Advantages can sometimes grant have to purchase Performance Skill again and this
a bonus to a Skills Action Dice. time pick Juggling as his Specialization. If the player
wishes to improve his skill with either Puppetry
A complete list of the available Skills is found on or Juggling, he must raise each Performance Skill
page 149. The table lists each Skill, its Characteristic separately. The player would not have to buy
link, and its cost. A Skills cost depends on its Performance Skill again, however, if he simply
classification. The three classifications of Skills are: wanted to learn a new form of puppetry.
Combat, Standard, and Background.
Combat Skills cost 5 points and (as the name Raising Skills In-Game
implies) are incredibly useful in combat situations. Once the game has begun, players will be able
The skill to fight with melee weapons or use firearms, to use Story Points to buy up their Skills. The cost to
draw a weapon instantly, or dodge attacks are all raise a Skills Ranking depends on the classification
examples of Combat Skills. Martial Arts is a special of the Skill. Raising the Ranking of Martial Arts by

Basic Compendium
147
Chapter III: Character Creation
1 costs 5 Story Points. Raising the Ranking of other reasonable amount of time before the player could
Combat Skills by 1 costs 3 Story Points. Raising the pay the additional point and gain the full Skill. The
Ranking of Standard Skills by 1 costs 2 Story Points. main thing to keep in mind about using this method
And finally, raising the Ranking of Background Skills is it will slow the progress of characters, which could
by 1 costs 1 Story Point. Players should keep in mind be frustrating for some players.
that all Skills have a maximum Ranking of 12, unless
otherwise noted by the GM. Basic Starting Skills
BOOK ONE

Every character begins with a set of Basic Starting


Learning New Skills In-Game Skills. These abilities reflect general aptitudes that
Once the game has begun, players can continue to a character should have gained simply by living in a
buy new Skills but should always justify the acquiring society. These would include the ability to speak a
of those new Skills in the campaigns story. To what native tongue and possess regional knowledge of their
extent this is done depends entirely on the GM. There home. Other Basic Starting Skills are abilities that are
are two ways to handle the learning of new Skills in- so fundamental that all characters would have some
game. chance of performing them, even if they had a low
The first method is for a GM to allow players to chance of success.
pay the full cost of new Skills and instantly receive Basic Starting Skills cost no points to purchase.
the benefits of those Skills. Any roleplaying aspects Their Ranking is equal to half the Skills linked
associated with learning new Skills would be assumed Characteristic rounded up (with a minimum Ranking
to have happened offscreen. A player would still of 1), or a Ranking of 3, whichever is lower. If the
need a good justification for learning new Skills, of player decides to purchase the Skill by paying the
course, but it wouldnt need to take up any actual Skills full cost, then they would get a Ranking in the
game time. This is the easiest method to use. Skill equal to its Characteristic link.
Some GMs, however, may wish the player to Example: Richards warrior character has the
roleplay the acquiring of new Skills. In these cases, the Climbing Skill as a Basic Starting Skill. Climbing is
player can buy Skills in stages. Using this method, a linked to Agility, and the warriors Agility Ranking
player would pay for a new Skill one point at a time. is 8, so his Ranking in Climbing would therefore be
The first point would give the character a Ranking in 3 (since 3 is lower than 4). Those 3 Action Dice of
Climbing cost Richard no points. Should Richard
the Skill equal to half of the Skills linked Characteristic later choose to buy the full Climbing Skill, his
rounded up. The Skill would then be bought up warriors Ranking would immediately be raised
over the course of several play sessions, with the GM to 8, unless the GM wanted the player to pay for
choosing to roleplay moments of training here and Climbing in stages (see Learning Skills In-Game).
there. As the player paid more points, he would get The following list contains the Basic Starting
better at the Skill. Every additional point invested Skills that every character possesses:
would give the player an additional Action Die until
the full price of the Skill had been paid. Its important Brawling
to note, however, that the player would not get the full Climbing
value of the Skills Characteristic Link until the Skills Concealment
full cost had been paid.
Evade
Example: After the game has begun, a player
decides he wants to buy the Firearm Combat Skill Knowledge (Home City)
for his character. The GM requires the player to pay Language (Native Tongue)
for the Skill in stages. Firearm Combat is linked to
Dexterity, so the player pays 1 point and gets half of Persuasion
his Dexterity (7 divided by 2, rounded up, which Shadowing
equals 4) as his Ranking in that Skill. As the player
pays additional points, his Ranking in Firearm Stealth
Combat will continue to increase. Several game Throw
sessions later, the player pays two more points and
gets two additional Action Dice in Firearm Combat, GMs should adjust Basic Starting Skills to better
which brings his Ranking to 6. His Ranking would reflect different regions or cultures of the world. A
remain 6, however, until the player paid the full 5 character from a coastal fishing village might have
point cost of the Skill, at which point his Ranking Swimming or Navigation included in his Basic
would equal his Dexterity of 7. Starting Skills, whereas a nomad from the plains
The GM decides how much in-game time must might have Riding. A GM should also feel free to
pass before the player can pay additional points remove one or more Skills from the list above that
toward a new Skill. In the case of Background Skills, he felt were not appropriate for his campaign.
which only cost 2 points, the GM should pick some

148
SKILL LIST SKILL LIST (continued)
Skill Link Cost Skill Link Cost

Chapter III: Character Creation


Acrobatics Agility 5/3 Knowledge * Wit 2/1
Acting Presence 3/2 Language * Wit 2/1
Alchemy Wit 3/2 Lock Picking Dexterity 3/2
Armourer Dexterity 3/2 Magic Ritual Essence 5/3
Artillery Combat Perception 5/3 Martial Arts Agility 8/5
Artistry Variable 2/1 Melee Combat Agility 5/3
Athletics Agility 3/2 Missile Combat Dexterity 5/3
Bargain Presence 3/2 Navigation Wit 3/2
Brawling * Agility 5/3 Observation Perception 3/2
Bribery Presence 3/2 Oratory Presence 3/2
Climbing * Agility 3/2 Performance Variable 2/1
Concealment * Perception 3/2 Persuasion * Wit 3/2
Conversation Presence 3/2 Profession Variable 2/1
Contortion Agility 3/2 Research Wit 3/2
Cryptography Wit 3/2 Riding Agility 3/2
Diplomacy Wit 3/2 Seduction Presence 3/2
Disguise Wit 3/2 Shadowing * Wit 3/2
Dress Wound Wit 3/2 Sleight of Hand Dexterity 3/2
Driving Dexterity 3/2 Stealth * Agility 3/2
Duel Dancing Presence 5/3 Streetwise Presence 3/2
Etiquette Presence 3/2 Surgery Dexterity 3/2
Evade * Agility 5/3 Survival Wit 3/2
Fast Draw Dexterity 5/3 Suthra Training Wit 3/2
Firearm Combat Dexterity 5/3 Suthra Use Will 5/3
Forgery Dexterity 3/2 Swimming Agility 3/2
Gaming Wit 3/2 Tactics Wit 3/2
Gunsmith Dexterity 3/2 Throw * Dexterity 5/3
Interrogation Presence 3/2 Tracking Perception 3/2
Intimidation Presence 3/2 Trapping Wit 3/2
Intrigue Wit 3/2 Weaponsmith Dexterity 3/2

* = Free Basic Starting Skills * = Free Basic Starting Skills

Basic Compendium
149
Chapter III: Character Creation
Creating New Skills on a beam, dancing on a ball, or high flying trapeze
stunts. Flying and Swimming Zoics can also use
Although the Skill List contains a wide variety Acrobatics to perform amazing acrobatic feats while
of Skills, it is by no means exhaustive. If a GM in the air or underwater.
doesnt find any Skill that fits an ability he wishes
to portray in his campaign, he should feel free to A character can use Acrobatics as a
create a new Skill. The process is relatively simple. Complementary Skill to other Skills such as
Duel Dancing, Martial Arts, or Profession Skills
First, a GM would have to decide what
BOOK ONE

since Acrobatics can be used to either impress an


classification the new Skill would fall under: audience or make oneself a more difficult target. It
Combat, Standard, or Background. This would can also be used in conjunction with a characters
establish all the costs of the Skill accordingly. Then movement ability, allowing a character to ignore
the GM would decide to which Characteristic the obstacles in his way.
Skill would be linked. Hed also need to decide
if the Skill was a General Skill that required Land-based characters can use Acrobatics to
Specializations, and if so hed have to specify flip up onto ledges, swing gracefully through the
those. Finally, the GM would have to write up a branches of a tree, or bounce off sheer walls to
description of the new Skill detailing what the Skill reach high rooftops. Flying characters can use it
allowed the player to do. to swoop through incredibly tight spaces, turn on
a dime, or maneuver through zigzag courses filled
Referencing the Skill List with barriers (such as dense forests or the rigging of
a ship). Swimming Zoics can use the Skill to slice
Skills are listed in alphabetical order and include through the water with little effort, instantly turn
a Characteristic Link column and a cost column. and swim in any direction without losing speed, or
The number to the left of the forward slash in the wind their way through kelp beds and coral reefs
cost column is the Skills base cost. This is what a with ease.
player pays in order to get a Ranking in the Skill
equal to the Skills Characteristic link. That Ranking In combat, characters may use Acrobatics to
determines the number of Action Dice the player augment their defense. Every Combat Round that
gets to use every time he uses that Skill. The number a character is able to use Acrobatics, he may roll his
to the right of the forward slash in the cost column Acrobatics Action Dice. Every success is considered
is the number of points it takes to raise the Skills part of a pool of successes that can be used to help
Ranking by one. negate any Attack Roll successes scored against his
character that Round (see the Combat chapter for
Some Skills will list Variable in the Characteristic further details). Finally, a character can instantly get
link column rather than a single Characteristic. to his feet from a prone position without having to
These are Skills that could be linked to any one of use a Combat Action with a successful Acrobatics
the various Characteristics, or even use two different Roll.
Characteristics to derive a Skills Ranking. The
formula to use two different Characteristics is always Failing an Acrobatics Roll doesnt necessarily
the same: mean that an acrobat ends up on his rump. It could
simply mean that an acrobat overshot his target or
Characteristic A + Characteristic B 2 that perhaps the maneuver was not as graceful as
(rounded up) = Skills Ranking he might have hoped. Naturally, a failed roll would
This formula is almost exclusively used for grant no bonuses of any kind. A Fumbled Acrobatics
Profession Skills, which sometimes rely on a Roll, on the other hand, leaves the acrobat in a
combination of specialized knowledge and hands- vulnerable position. This could give the acrobats
on ability. GMs should feel free, however, to apply enemies Bonus Modifiers to their Attack Rolls to
this formula to any Skills they feel would benefit hit the acrobat.
from it. In an effort to keep Characteristic links Acrobatics Cost: 5 Character Points for the
simple, though, weve tried to stick to a single initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional
Characteristic wherever possible. level of Acrobatics.
Skill Descriptions Acting (Presence)
Acrobatics (Agility) Acting allows a character to believably adopt the
mannerisms, personality, and vocal characteristics
A character with this Skill can perform the of a false identity. This Skill has no entertainment
gymnastic maneuvers of a trained acrobat: backflips, value on Drdnah; it is exclusively used to fool
cartwheels, handstands, jumps, rolls, somersaults, others into believing a character is someone other
tumbles, etc. This Skill also covers feats of agility than who they truly are. It is an ability prized by
and balance, such as tightrope walking, balancing spies, courtesans, diplomats, and assassins.

150
Acting can be used in combination with Alchemy (Dexterity)
Disguise and Natural Mimic to impersonate a This General Skill gives the character knowledge
known individual. Bonus Modifiers can be applied of different ingredients and elements and the ability
to the Acting Roll if the impersonator was able to to mix them into a variety of useful compounds.
study the target for a prolonged period of time, This is essentially Drdnahs version of chemistry

Chapter III: Character Creation


while Difficulty Modifiers would be applied if the and has nothing to do with the transmutation of
impersonator knew little about the target. Acting base metals (which only exist in trace amounts) into
could also be used to convince someone that a gold. There are three Specializations for Alchemy:
character was from a specific region, belonged Gunpowder, Medical, and Poison.
to a specific caste/profession or to a specific
House. Knowledge Skills that supported the Gunpowder Alchemy: This Specialization
characters false identity, including customs and allows the alchemist to create the explosive powders
practices, area knowledge, history, etc., would used in fireworks, bombs, and Vaylah weapons. A
all be Complementary Skills to Acting in these gunpowder alchemist is able to make a variety of
situations. different powders that can burn at different rates
and intensities, in various colors, and with variable
Several Acting Rolls might be required if a amounts of smoke. These sorts of alchemists not
character tries to maintain a false identity for a only make basic gunpowder for artillery guns
long period of time. This is especially true if the and firearms, but can also make flash and smoke
character is trying to fool someone who either powders.
knows the target being impersonated or is from
the region or House that the impersonator claims Only High Caste members are allowed to
to originate from. A failed Acting Roll may not learn this craft. Though they may employ lower
necessarily result in someone instantly identifying caste assistants, the actual gunpowder formulas
the impersonator as a fraud, but would certainly are zealously guarded by High Caste alchemists
raise suspicions. Too many failed Acting Rolls, and their apprentices. Anyone discovered making
however, and the jig would definitely be up. gunpowder who was not High Caste would be
subject to immediate arrest and imprisonment.
Note: A character wishing to be a stage actor
would need to buy the appropriate Performance Failing a Gunpowder Alchemy Roll could
Skill. Stage acting is incredibly stylized on result in a variety of different consequences,
Drdnah and consists of dance-like movements, from creating a weak or bad batch of gunpowder
elaborate costuming, and a rhythmic delivery of to possible damage to the alchemist. Fumbling a
dialogue. Drdnah stage actors have more in Gunpowder Alchemy Roll would almost certainly
common with Japanese kabuki actors or Chinese result in an explosion and loss of an alchemists
Peking Opera performers than with modern stage fingers or limbs, or perhaps even the alchemists
and film actors. death depending on the severity of the Fumble.
Acting Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial Medical Alchemy: This Specialization allows
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level the alchemist to create medicines of all kinds.
of Acting. The best medical alchemists are almost always

Basic Compendium
151
Chapter III: Character Creation
learned doctors as well, and they are usually very delivery systems for such substances. In addition, it
knowledgeable on the subject of herbs and other allows the Poisoner to identify the various symptoms
ingredients used to treat various medical conditions of different poisons for purposes of administering
and diseases. the proper antidotes. Knowledge Skills of poisons,
Medical knowledge on Drdnah is fairly venoms, antidotes, toxic plants, etc., would all be
advanced and roughly equivalent to late 18th excellent Complementary Skills to Poison Alchemy.
Century Europe, with all the flavor of the Graeco- The process of creating a poison or acid requires a
number of hours equal to the points of damage the
BOOK ONE

Arabic traditions. The most sophisticated Drdni


doctors, for example, are familiar with the concept specific poison or acid causes per Round.
of vaccination, and know surgical techniques that Failing a Poison Alchemy Roll would mean the
can remove tumors and treat internal injuries. The poison was too weak to be effective, or suffered some
benefits of these advances, however, are usually other problem that rendered it useless. Fumbling a
reserved for the aristocracy and the wealthy. The rest Poison Alchemy Roll could result in the alchemist
of society has to make do with much older medical poisoning himself, which in the case of common,
techniques that have been around for hundreds of slow-acting poisons may not be disastrous if an
years. antidote can be administered in time. If the poison
Although only Holy Caste members are allowed is instant, however, well, theres always the Poisoners
to be doctors, various forms of Medical Alchemy are apprentice to continue the work.
practiced by almost all of the castes, though in simpler Alchemy Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
forms. Leeches, herbalists, midwives, apothecaries, Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level of
and physicians all practice Medical Alchemy. In fact, Alchemy.
when it comes to treating common ailments, many
of the older tried-and-true remedies are often best. Armourer (Dexterity)
Failing a Medical Alchemy Roll results in a This Skill allows a character to make, maintain,
weak or ineffective medicine. Fumbling a Medical and repair armor of all kinds (except for suthra
Alchemy Roll could result in a misdiagnosis and lead armor). Although this is not considered a General
to a worsening of the patients condition or possibly Skill and so therefore does not have any official
even his death. This would of course depend on the Specializations, it is possible for an armourer to
severity of the Fumble and how particularly vicious specialize on his own by including appropriate
the GM was feeling that day. Knowledge Skills such as leatherworking, chitin
Poison Alchemy: This Specialization allows crafting, crystalsmithing, etc. If no specialization
a character to create poisons and paralytic agents is selected, then the armourer is assumed to be
(along with their antidotes), as well as acids of various able to work on any kind of armor, although
kinds. A poison alchemist, often called a Poisoner, is he might not be able to craft as fine a piece of
usually employed by assassin guilds but is also often armor as someone who did have Complementary
hired by a Houses Master of the Honor Guards to Knowledge Skills in specific armor types.
produce all manner of deadly substances to be used Armourers are also able to appraise pieces
by the Houses elite guards. Many of Drdnahs of armor for quality and durability. They can
assassins tend to be venomous Zoics, so Poisoners spot if a piece of armor has been made with
are hired to help a Houses Honor Guards even the inferior materials or if it contains any structural
odds when facing these deadly killers. weaknesses. It is said that only a fool goes
A character does not normally advertise the fact shopping for armor without the guidance of an
that he is a Poisoner. These specialized alchemists experienced armourer.
are often trained by secretive guilds who carefully A failed Armourer Roll usually means a
guard the identity of their members. If a House has a piece of armor has failed to meet the armourers
Poisoner among its dignitaries, then that individual standards of quality, which could be ignored if
usually finds an apprentice to whom he can pass on the armourer is unscrupulous. In cases such as
all of his secrets. Its important to note that official this, the armor would have only half of its listed
House Poisoners are usually High Caste physicians, Armor Value and would degrade twice as fast as
although on rare occasions a Holy Caste doctor it normally would. A Fumbled Armourer Roll
can occupy this role. These twisted doctors are means that the piece of armor is totally ruined,
generally shunned, however, by the rest of the Holy which would be obvious even to the untrained
Caste medical profession. eye.
The Skill of Poison Alchemy encompasses Armourer Cost: 3 Character Points for the
the identification and collection of ingredients, initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
the ability to concoct the poisons and antidotes level of Armourer.
themselves, as well as a basic knowledge of the various

152
Artillery Combat (Perception) can take several hours to reload and may only
This Skill allows a character to use both manage around ten shots a day.
large gunpowder weapons (bombards, cannons, Non-gunpowder siege weapons are rare,
mortars, etc.) and mechanical siege weapons although they still see some use in a few regions.
(ballista, catapults, trebuchets, etc.) in combat. Most modern Drdni armies, however, have

Chapter III: Character Creation


These weapons are most commonly found on completely replaced these ancient siege engines
ships or in fortified strongholds, but they are also with more powerful gunpowder artillery pieces.
important military units. A character would use his Ballista, catapults, and trebuchets are the most
Action Dice in Artillery Combat just as he would common types of mechanical siege engines. As with
any Combat Skill to determine attack successes artillery guns, only the siege engineer who actually
and the level of damage inflicted by the weapon aims the siege weapon needs to roll his Artillery
(see the Combat chapter for a detailed description Combat Action Dice.
of combat). Artillery Combat, however, can only Most Artillery Combat Rolls will be made
be used to attack; it provides no defense against against inanimate targets, such as ships, forts,
attacks. enemy artillery units, etc. Inanimate objects do not
This Skill also grants a fundamental possess a defensive skill like living targets. In the
knowledge of the most common artillery pieces cases of inanimate objects, it will be the Difficulty
and siege weapons, including how to maintain Modifiers for range, visibility, and the size of the
them and even make minor repairs. If a weapon target that will determine if an Artillery Combat
was to ever break, however, it would take someone Roll results in a successful hit.
with either the Gunsmith or Weaponsmith Skill Living targets can only use the Evade Skill
and the appropriate Specialization to repair it. to defend against artillery and siege weapon fire.
Complementary Skills in the various types of Difficulty Modifiers could be applied to account
artillery guns or siege weapons would make any for large explosions or projectiles, shrapnel, etc. A
artillerist much more useful and prized. successful Evade Roll would be interpreted as the
Cannons come in a variety of sizes (from target having found cover, dived out of the way, or hit
three feet to thirty feet) and can be loaded with the ground in time to avoid damage from an artillery
solid cannonballs (useful against both structures blast. It should be noted that Artillery Combat is
and living targets), chain shot (useful against much more suited to destroying fortifications and
rigging and masts), grape shot or cannister shot ships rather than taking out living targets (thats
(useful against living targets), or explosive shells what guns and melee weapons are for).
(useful against fragile structures and living targets). A Fumbled Artillery Combat Roll means that
Mortars are short-barreled cannons able to lob some mechanism of a siege weapon has broken, or
explosive shells over walls, and so therefore are an artillery piece has misfired and jammed, which
used mainly in siege warfare. Bombards are huge will require it to be cleared (a very dangerous job).
cannons that are used to batter down the walls of A particularly severe Fumble could mean that the
cities and fortifications. siege weapon has been completely destroyed, or
A typical cannon crew consists of six gunners, that the artillery gun has exploded, which could
each with a specific function. The first gunner result in serious damage to the artillery crew.
cleans the bore of the cannon with a damp sponge Artillery Combat Cost: 5 Character Points
to extinguish any remaining embers from the last for the initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every
shot. The second gunner loads the cannon with additional level of Artillery Combat.
a fresh cartridge of powder. The third gunner
loads the projectile. The fourth gunner rams the Artistry (Varies)
projectile and powder cartridge down into the
cannon. The fifth gunner (the captain) aims the This General Skill allows a character to
cannon, pierces the powder cartridge through the Specialize in one of many different forms of artistic
cannons vent hole, and fills the vent with powder. expression. This Skill could reflect either an
The sixth gunner fires the cannon with a slow incredibly talented hobbyist or a professional artist
burning match. who makes his living through his art (and who
would therefore require an appropriate Profession
Artillery Combat allows a character to perform Skill). Artistry imparts the general knowledge of
any gunners function, although a roll of Artillery the chosen art form, including artistic techniques,
Combat Action Dice is only required for the gun tools of the trade, etc., as well as the ability to create
captain, who actually aims the cannon. It typically works of art. Knowledge Skills such as famous
takes 20 Combat Rounds to reload an average-sized artists, artistic movements, or cultural knowledge
cannon. Smaller crews on smaller cannons can would all be useful Complementary Skills to
accomplish the task in half that time. Bombards Artistry.

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Chapter III: Character Creation
Failing an Artistry Skill Roll means that the and gemstones to decorate the bodies of clients.
character has produced an unsatisfactory piece of Appropriate Knowledge Skills will determine the
art. Its not catastrophic or a total loss and could materials and medium of choice for a particular
potentially be fixed (with appropriate Difficulty artist.
Modifiers applied to the subsequent efforts). A Playwriting (Wit): The art of writing dramatic
Fumbled Artistry Roll, however, usually means plays, which usually incorporate elaborate forms of
a complete loss or ruined piece of art that cannot ritual dance. A Drdni playwright is equal parts
be salvaged. Depending on the art form and the
BOOK ONE

poet and dance choreographer, and is usually quite


circumstances, this could lead to other problems knowledgeable on the topic of folktales and myths,
such as loss of resources, clients, or prestige, or could which are rich sources of inspiration for Drdni
even result in bodily harm to the artist (a warrior dramatists. Knowledge Skills about folklore and
would be furious to discover that his enemys crest legends would be of great benefit to playwrights.
had been mistakenly tattooed on his chest instead of
his own, for example). Sculpting (Dexterity): The art of carving,
shaping, modeling, or otherwise fashioning a
The Specializations available for Artistry are as work of art in three dimensions using a variety of
follows: Calligraphy, Composition, Illumination, different materials such as stone, crystal, chitin,
Illustration, Playwriting, Sculpting, and Tattooing. wood, etc. This includes works of bas-relief, intaglio,
GMs should feel free to add whatever Specializations or other forms of decorative sculpture used to adorn
they wish if the ones detailed below are insufficient. temples and palaces. The creation of mosaics, which
Calligraphy (Dexterity): The art of decorative use colored pieces of inlaid stone, crystal, or glass
handwriting and penmanship. Usually working (as in stained glass windows) is another form of
with brushes and special colored inks, Drdni sculpture. As with other Artistry Skills, a characters
calligraphers are as revered as their Chinese Knowledge Skills will determine an artists favored
or Japanese counterparts. Beautiful works of materials and medium.
calligraphy are as prized as lovely paintings and Tattooing (Dexterity): The art of marking
often displayed as decorative pieces. Knowledge the skin with patterns, illustrations, poems, etc.
Skills of ancient scripts as well as Language Skills Drdni tattoo artists, however, do far more than
would be appropriate Complementary Skills for a just tattooing. These individuals are also adept
calligrapher. at ritual scarification, body piercing, and body
Composition (Wit): The art of writing stories, beading. Body beading consists of inserting small,
whether they be in the common rhyming verse smooth objects like pearls under the skin and
usually employed by Drdni poets, or in a more allowing the skin to heal over the object. Any form
prose-like style. The inhabitants of Drdnah love of permanent body modification imaginable can be
a good story, so poets and writers are highly prized done by tattoo artists. Knowledge Skills of myths,
by nobles, especially by those who wish the exploits popular heroes, or even native wildlife could all be
of their own Houses to be committed to verse. sources of inspiration for tattooists.
Knowledge Skills of famous poets, epic poems, or Given the importance of tattooing in ritual
myths & legends would be most helpful to writers magic (see the Ritual Magic chapter for more
and poets. details), many sorcerers are also highly skilled tattoo
Illumination (Dexterity): The art of decoration artists. This form of tattooing is not for purposes of
of a manuscript or book with painted designs adornment, although sorcerer tattooists are capable
in beautiful colors that often feature decorative of creating beautiful tattoos. There is great magic
semi-precious stones and crystals. These artists are invested in sorcerous tattoos so it is important
often employed by lords to create special historical that the tattooing be precise and adhere strictly to
tomes of their Houses and Lines. They also prepare ancient magical traditions. If a sorcerer character
beautiful editions of sacred texts that are often intends to be able to teach others to perform magic
used as gifts. Knowledge Skills of sacred books, the rituals, he should take Artistry and Specialize in
Devah, or holy iconography would greatly benefit Magical Tattooing. Knowledge Skills of magical
illuminators. tattoos, mystic rituals & traditions, or arcane glyphs
Illustration (Dexterity): This covers any form would be helpful Complementary Skills.
of two dimensional art produced with a variety of Artistry Cost: 2 Character Points for the initial
different materials (oil paints, charcoal, colored Skill; 1 Character Point for every additional level
chalk or sand, ink, watercolors, etc.) on a variety of Artistry.
of different media (canvas, paper, leather hides,
grains of rice, walls, courtyards, etc.). This category Athletics (Agility)
also encompasses the skills of a groomer, who This Skill measures a characters ability to
specializes in using dyes, paints, beads, crystals, perform a variety of feats that require physical skill

154
and stamina, such as running, jumping, hurdling, intentional) insult to the target, or in the belief
swinging, etc. Sometimes called the non-acrobats that a character got a great bargain when in reality
acrobatics, Athletics is used whenever a character he did not. Persuasion and Knowledge Skills of
tries to perform any physical feat for which there the various goods and services a character will
isnt already a specific Skill (such as Acrobatics, be dealing with would be useful Complementary

Chapter III: Character Creation


Climbing, Swimming, etc.). Skills.
As with Acrobatics, Athletics allows a character Bargain Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
to quickly maneuver around obstacles by using Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level
their physical prowess to hurdle over tables and of Bargain.
bars, swing from chandeliers, leap onto balconies,
or dive through windows. Athletics does not give Brawling (Agility)
a character any defense bonuses in combat, but it Brawling is the skill of untrained, opportunistic,
does add to all of a characters movement abilities. and often dirty hand-to-hand combat. It represents
Characters may add their Athletics Ranking to any the basic fighting instinct that every Zoic possesses.
movement power they possesses. Thus, a character For this reason, Brawling is a Basic Starting Skill;
with Athletics will be able to fly, leap, run, or swim everyone has it at half their Agility Ranking or at
faster than someone without Athletics. a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) at no cost. If
When in doubt as to when to use Athletics as a character wished to be a more seasoned brawler
opposed to another specific Skill, ask the GM to and get his full Agility link worth of Action Dice,
make the determination. Its important to note, he would have to buy Brawling with Character
however, that a character with Acrobatics would Points.
not really need Athletics unless he also wanted Brawling demonstrates that a character can be
the movement boost. Although Athletics can a tough hand-to-hand fighter without any sort of
be a Complementary Skill to Acrobatics, it can formal training. Experienced brawlers are certainly
never add to the defensive bonuses granted by more than capable of holding their own in a fight,
Acrobatics. even against trained opponents. Characters wishing
Athletics Cost: 3 Character Points for the to use more formal, disciplined fighting techniques
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional should purchase Martial Arts. Brawling is meant
level of Athletics. to represent the dirty street fighting or barroom
brawling often employed by thugs, laborers, and
Bargain (Presence) other street toughs.
This Skill grants a character the ability to Brawling allows a character to make Defense
shrewdly negotiate business transactions in Rolls against hand-to-hand and melee attacks only.
order to score a better deal. Its the classic gift Characters would have to use the Evade Skill in
of haggling. Effective use of this Skill can save order to be able to defend against ranged attacks.
or earn a character a good deal of money, and It is possible for characters with Brawling to use the
make him very popular with other characters special attacks found in the Maneuver Location Table
who do not possess this particular talent. This on page 216, but they would suffer an additional 2
Skill is essential for any character wishing to be a Difficulty Modifier to any maneuver they attempted
successful merchant. (see the Combat chapter for a detailed description
The more successes a character scores with of combat). Depending on the circumstances,
his Bargain Skill Roll, the better the bargain hell Athletics or Intimidation could potentially be
make. The exact savings or profit is up to the GM, Complementary Skills to Brawling.
although it should be possible for characters to Brawling Cost: 5 Character Points for the
make a significant amount of money with this initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional
Skill. Targets can use their own Bargain Skill as level of Brawling.
a Defense Roll to decrease or negate a characters
Success Level. Bargain does not force a target Bribery (Presence)
to make a deal, however, it simply insures that Characters with this Skill are adept at offering
if a deal is struck, the character who scored the money, goods, or services in exchange for illicit
highest Success Level will get the better end of favors. What a particular target will consider a
that deal. tempting bribe depends entirely on the target and
A failed Bargain Skill Roll can either lead the situation. Some targets will prize money, while
to a prolonged period of haggling or end the others may prize rare items, or illegal substances,
transaction due to a targets refusal to buy or sell or possibly even sexual favors. Having appropriate
at the quoted price. A Fumbled Bargain Skill Roll Knowledge Skills of the targets culture, profession,
could either result in an unintentional (or perhaps or customs would greatly aid bribery attempts.

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Chapter III: Character Creation
Failing a Bribery Skill Roll could lead to the past an obstruction and attempting to climb at a
target either demanding more money, or to the different point). Fumbling a Climbing Skill Roll
target refusing the bribe and becoming angered. usually means a fall. Characters should always be
Subsequent bribery attempts on such an individual given a chance to catch some handhold and save
would be performed at severe Difficulty Modifiers. themselves from plummeting to certain doom, but
Fumbling a Bribery Skill Roll could lead to a threat this would depend on the circumstances and the
of exposure, an ugly confrontation, or possibly even orneriness of the GM.
arrest or imprisonment (if the target is in a position
BOOK ONE

Climbing Cost: 3 Character Points for the


to mete out such punishment). initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
In a world where honor is highly valued, level of Climbing.
offering bribes may be deemed greatly insulting, so
its important for a character to get a good feel for Concealment (Perception)
a target with Skills like Conversation or Talents like Characters with Concealment are able to
Empathy before making a bribe attempt. A failed skillfully hide themselves or other objects, and
Bribery attempt can certainly make situations go are similarly adept at discovering hidden things.
from bad to worse. Streetwise, Conversation, and This Skill can also be used to find secret doors or
Persuasion could all be Complementary Skills to passages, and to locate concealed traps (although
Bribery. it does not give a character the expertise to disarm
Bribery Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial such traps; characters would need the Trapping Skill
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level in order to create and disarm traps). Concealment
of Bribery. is an incredibly useful Skill for thieves, spies, or
assassins. It is also a Basic Starting Skill, which
Climbing (Agility) means everyone has it at half their Perception
Characters with this Skill are able to climb Ranking or a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) at
various surfaces with either their bare hands (if no cost.
enough natural handholds exist) or with the use Modifiers could be applied to the Concealment
of appropriate climbing tools (if the surface is too Skill Roll based on a number of factors: size and
sheer). Climbing is a Basic Starting Skill, which shape of the object, the amount of cover and hiding
means everyone has it at half their Agility Ranking places available, the amount of time available to
or at a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) at no cost. hide or find the object, knowledge of the area,
Certain objects, such as ladders, scaffolds, etc., are etc. The Observation Skill or appropriate area
designed to be climbed and would be considered a Knowledge Skills would be good Complementary
Free Action unless the climber was being impeded Skills to Concealment.
in some way.
Its up to the GM to determine how
many Climbing Skill Rolls a character will
have to make to scale a particular surface.
Its usually a good idea, however, to only
ask for Climbing Rolls at dramatically
appropriate moments. Examples might
include a climber coming under attack, or
hitting an unforeseen obstacle, or perhaps
rushing to complete a climb before an enemy
can cut the climbers rope. Further, unless
a characters hands are free due to the use
of special climbing equipment, any combat
related maneuvers (such as using a ranged
weapon, dodging, etc.) would require a
Climbing Skill Roll in order for the climber
to maintain his hold. A character may move
at his normal rate per Round while
climbing.
Failing a Climbing Roll could mean
that the character cant continue to
ascend (for whatever reason) and would
need to find some other way to scale that
particular surface (possibly by swinging

156
Failing a Concealment Roll usually results in a Conversation (Presence)
shoddy job at hiding the object in question. Bonus This Skill grants a character the ability to subtly
Modifiers should be awarded to any attempts interrogate someone through the use of witty banter
to locate an object that was hidden by a failed and charming conversation. This gift of gab is
Concealment Roll. If using Concealment to find incredibly useful for any character who needs to

Chapter III: Character Creation


a hidden object, then failure simply means the extract sensitive or personal information from
object was not located. Fumbling a Concealment targets without them realizing that theyre giving up
Roll usually means a character was unable to hide the goods. Bartenders and groomers tend to have
the object at all. If a Concealment Roll to locate this Skill due to targets letting their guards down
a hidden trap is Fumbled, the character might be around them.
absolutely convinced that no trap exists (much to
the chagrin of the poor sap who triggers it). Conversation is a great Skill to use if a character
is trying to determine a targets true loyalties,
Concealment Cost: 3 Character Points for the fears, or ambitions. Combined with the Talent
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional Empathy, Conversation can be a powerful tool,
level of Concealment. allowing characters to find the weak link among
a group of loyal servants, soldiers, or guards.
Contortion (Agility) These individuals can reveal the locations of secret
Contortion allows a character to bend and twist entrances or hidden caches of treasure, or divulge
his body in extraordinary and unusual ways. This crucial details of confidential political or military
ability is extremely useful in escaping from confining schemes. Spies, assassins, or saboteurs would all
bonds and martial holds. Difficulty Modifiers should benefit from this Skill. Complementary Skills would
be applied depending on the complexity of the bonds. include Persuasion, Seduction, and Etiquette.
Simple ropes should be fairly easy to escape from, A failed Conversation Skill Roll could mean that
while wrist and ankle shackles or other sophisticated the target is just not forthcoming with the proper
restraining devices should prove more challenging. information (for whatever reason). A Fumbled
Contortion does not grant the character the ability to Conversation Roll usually means the target realizes
pick locks, however. If a restraining device employed hes being pumped for information and may clam
locks, the contortionist would need the Lock Picking up completely, or become antagonistic and create
Skill in order to escape the device. problems for his would-be interrogator.
The higher the Success Level scored, the faster Conversation Cost: 3 Character Points for the
the contortionist is able to escape his bonds. A Partial initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
Success could mean it takes the contortionist a level of Conversation.
couple of minutes (or longer) to escape, while a high
Success Level could see the contortionist slipping his Cryptography (Wit)
bonds in a few seconds. In combat, characters may
use Contortion as a Complementary Skill to Escape Cryptography gives a character the ability to
Rolls (see the Maneuver Location Table, page 216). communicate using secret languages and codes
and to decipher same. Drdnah is a world full
Contortion can also serve as a Complementary of political intrigue, where powerful factions
Skill to Concealment as the contortionist would be constantly vie with one another for greater wealth,
able to squeeze into spaces an ordinary individual prestige, and control. This is a setting rife with spies,
could never hope to. This would allow a character assassins, and saboteurs, a society where secret cants
to escape imprisonment by wriggling through tiny and battle codes are more numerous than ordinary
windows, crawling through small drainage tunnels, languages. Combined with the fact that these cants
or possibly even squeezing between the bars of a cell. change on a regular basis, cryptographers are often
Contortion can also be used as a Complementary kept quite busy.
Skill to appropriate Profession Skills.
Deciphering secret codes can be a time
Failing a Contortion Skill Roll means that the consuming process. Difficulty Modifiers should
character is incapable of contorting his body to the be applied if the cryptographer has no clues
extent necessary to achieve the desired effect. A concerning the cipher being used, or if its a
Fumbled Contortion Roll could mean damage to the particularly complex code. Bonus Modifiers can
contortionist as a result of a severely pulled muscle be awarded if the code is similar to something the
or improperly dislocated joint. As usual, it would cryptographer has seen before, or a variation of a
depend on the situation and the whim of the GM. familiar cipher. Once a particular code is broken,
Contortion Cost: 3 Character Points for the its simply a matter of translating the message.
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional Cryptographers would likewise be able to create
level of Contortion. ciphers and encode their own secret messages.
Recipients of such messages would naturally have

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Chapter III: Character Creation
to be familiar with the cipher or code being used in war depending on the severity of the Fumble.
order to translate the messages. Diplomacy Cost: 3 Character Points for the
A cryptographer can also recognize patterns initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
in ancient scripts or in groups of pictures or level of Diplomacy.
symbols. This would make a cryptographer able to
translate dead or obscure languages and ancient Disguise (Wit)
hieroglyphics (a useful skill for an explorer or Disguise grants a character the ability to alter
BOOK ONE

antiquarian). Complementary Skills would be his appearance in order to either be unrecognizable


related Language Skills or appropriate Knowledge or look like someone else. This is usually done
Skills of the ancient culture in question. through the use of makeup, prosthetics, and
Failing a Cryptography Roll means that the costumes. Disguise, however, only changes a
cryptographer is having a tough time cracking characters appearance. If a character also wished
the code. If writing an encoded message, it could to change his voice, mannerisms, and body
mean that the message was improperly coded and language, he would need to buy the Acting Skill.
therefore unintelligible. Fumbling a Cryptography A combination of these two Skills would allow a
Skill Roll could result in an incorrect translation character to believably create a false identity and
of a coded message (which could have disastrous maintain it for long stretches at a time. The Talent
results). If sending an encoded message, a Fumbled Natural Mimic would help a disguise artist to
Cryptography Roll could result in a code thats impersonate a known individual. Characters with
incredibly easy to break and could give clues to Disguise are able to use their ability on others. This
other codes created by the cryptographer. Skill can also be used to recognize when another
Cryptography Cost: 3 Character Points for the individual is disguised.
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional In a world where many different Zoic types
level of Cryptography. exist, some disguises can prove quite a challenge. A
character attempting to disguise himself as a Zoic
Diplomacy (Wit) that is radically different in size and appearance
A character with this Skill is particularly adept would incur severe Difficulty Modifiers. In some
at managing negotiations between antagonistic cases, the GM might rule the task impossible (such
factions so that tension and ill will is minimized as a four foot bat Zoic attempting to disguise herself
and mutually beneficial solutions are found. A as a ten foot tall elephant Zoic). Disguise artists
skilled diplomat is especially good at brokering might have to undergo some significant physical
alliances, treaties, and non-aggression pacts. Given alterations in order to pull off some disguises (such
the constant feuds and vendettas between rival as shaving off all of a Zoics fur, or cutting off
Houses and Lines, this Skill could come in quite horns or tusks, or plucking all of a Zoics feathers).
handy. Although Diplomacy provides a character a Bonus Modifiers should be awarded if a character
very basic knowledge of court politics, alliances, and attempts to disguise himself as a similar Zoic type
relationships, additional Skills such as Etiquette (a cat trying to be another cat, a snake another
and appropriate Knowledge Skills would certainly snake, etc.)
make a diplomat far more effective. Failing a Disguise Roll could mean that the
Diplomacy can also be used to diffuse tensions disguise is not terribly convincing or that the
between individuals in order to avoid conflict or disguise artist didnt have the right materials to pull
violence. Talented diplomats have a knack for it off. Fumbling a Disguise Roll could mean that
negotiating their way out of sticky situations. A either the disguise has been completely botched, or
trusted diplomat commands a great deal of respect perhaps that the disguise artist thinks the disguise
and is treated as a valuable dignitary by all sides of a works when in reality it doesnt. This could lead to
given conflict. Complementary Skills could include some humorous situations if individuals who saw
Conversation, Oratory, and Persuasion. The Talent through the disguise decided to play along with the
Empathy would certainly give a diplomat an edge deluded disguise artist. Moments of hilarity would
in negotiations since he could read and react to the likely ensue.
emotional states of the parties involved. Disguise Cost: 3 Character Points for the
Failing a Diplomacy Roll could mean that a initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
diplomat was having a hard time getting the factions level of Disguise.
to agree to anything. It might lead to prolonged
negotiations or the need for further concessions on Dress Wound (Wit)
somebodys part. A Fumbled Diplomacy Roll could This Skill gives a character the ability to
either mean a sudden halt to the negotiations, a render emergency medical care to an injured or
worsening of the political crisis, or possibly even a sick individual. This type of treatment is meant

158
to stabilize a patient until professional medical in additional injury to the patient depending on
care can be administered. This Skill covers such the severity of the Fumble.
things as patching up cuts and gashes in order to Dress Wound Cost: 3 Character Points for the
stop bleeding, treating sprains, temporarily setting initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
broken bones, etc. Dress Wound is not meant to level of Dress Wound.

Chapter III: Character Creation


be a long term treatment. Any injuries patched
with Dress Wound that are not eventually treated Driving (Dexterity)
with either the Surgery Skill or magical healing
run the risk of becoming infected or of healing This General Skill allows a character to handle
improperly. Knowledge Skills of anatomy, field a vehicle in challenging or combat situations.
injuries, or first aid techniques would be considered Examples of this would include driving a chariot in a
Complementary Skills. race, piloting a skyship through a storm, or helming
a frigate while fighting pirates on the open sea.
Dress Wound heals Subdue Damage first Difficulty modifiers should be applied to Driving
followed by Fatal Damage. Every success scored on Action Dice depending on the complexity of the
Dress Wound Action Dice heals 4 levels of Subdue maneuver being attempted by the driver or pilot, or
Damage or 1 level of Fatal Damage, but only after on the severity of the adverse conditions.
all the Subdue Damage of that particular wound
has been healed. If a patient is bleeding, a medic If a character simply wanted the ability to handle
must roll enough successes to heal at least 1 level a vehicle under ordinary circumstances, he would
of Fatal Damage in order to stop the bleeding, only need to pay 1 Character Point for Driving
otherwise the patient will continue to bleed and in order to get half of his Dexterity Characteristic
may eventually die from loss of blood (see the (rounded up) as his Ranking. This level of Driving
Recovery Table, page 244). would be sufficient for most day-to-day activities,
such as rowing a boat into a lake, or driving a cart
Once Dress Wound has been successfully used into town (activities that would not be deemed
on a particular injury, it may not be used again on Contested Actions and would therefore not require
that same injury by the same medic (although the a roll of Action Dice).
Skill could be used on other or new wounds). A
different medic could try to use Dress Wound on There are three Specializations for Driving:
the same injury but only if he had a higher Ranking Aerial Vessels, Land Vehicles, and Nautical Vessels.
in Dress Wound than the original medic. Even Each Specialization also grants a character a
then, the new medic would only be able to heal rudimentary knowledge of the most common forms
additional damage if he scored more successes than of vehicles in that category, including the various
the original medic. parts of the vehicle, as well as what would be needed
for its upkeep. A character would not be able to
Example: Akari attempts to use Dress Wound repair broken vehicles, however; that would require
on Mushka, who took a particularly vicious an appropriate Profession Skill such as carpenter,
injury to the stomach that caused him 12 levels of shipwright, wainwright, etc. Characters wishing
Subdue Damage and 12 levels of Fatal Damage.
Akari has 6 Action Dice in Dress Wound and more detailed information about vessels in their
scores 2 successes. She manages to heal 8 levels of Specialization (the exact number of guns and crew
Subdue Damage on Mushka, but since she healed complement on various warships, strengths and
no Fatal Damage, Mushka is still bleeding. Akari weaknesses of a particular vessel, etc.) would require
cannot use her Dress Wound Skill again on that additional Knowledge Skills.
same wound. Ishi, however, has 8 Action Dice in Failing a Driving Skill Roll means that a
Dress Wound. She looks at Akaris dressing to see
if there is anything else she can do. She rolls her character could not get the craft to execute the
Dress Wound Action Dice and scores 6 successes. maneuver he was attempting. It doesnt necessarily
Since Akari had already scored 2 successes, Ishi result in a catastrophe, simply in a momentary loss
only manages to heal another 4 Subdue Damage of control. Fumbling a Driving Roll, however, does
Levels (healing Mushkas Subdue Damage usually result in some catastrophic event (a crash,
completely) and 3 Fatal Damage Levels. Mushkas exposure to a full broadside, etc.).
bleeding has been stopped and his wound is
considerably better. Only a character with 9 or Aerial Vessels: This category includes skyships
more Action Dice in Dress Wound could attempt of all kinds, from massive dreadnoughts to smaller
to heal his stomach injury further. barges and skiffs. More properly known as Piloting,
handling a skyship is a combination of sky crystal use,
Failing a Dress Wound Skill Roll means the sail rudder steerage, sail placement, and the casting
character is having a hard time properly treating that of floating anchors to catch directional winds.
specific injury (due perhaps to excessive bleeding,
inferior materials, or just plain nervousness or Land Vehicles: This category encompasses all
fatigue). Fumbling a Dress Wound Roll could result land vehicles, including carts, chariots, coaches,

Basic Compendium
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Chapter III: Character Creation
sand skiffs, sleds, wagons, etc. For the most part, Dice for the remainder of the duel. Should Shadis
these vehicles are pulled by draft or riding beasts survive the duel and wish to challenge Ishi again at
of some kind, although some vehicles (like sand a later time, they would both have to roll their Duel
skiffs and some sleds) can use sails and wind power. Dancing Action Dice again to determine any Martial
Generally, if a vehicle travels on the land in two Arts bonuses for the new duel.
dimensions, its included in this category. Although Duel Dancing should normally only
Nautical Vessels: This category covers simple be used for formal duels, a GM might decide to
allow characters to use this Skill in regular combat
BOOK ONE

fishing boats and junks to military warships and


everything in-between, regardless of whether the in certain situations, such as a Complementary Skill
craft is powered by oars, wind, or paddle wheels. to Intimidation (if a character were trying to impress
This type of Driving is also commonly referred to as common thugs or soldiers). However, Duel Dancing
Piloting and gives a character the ability to steer or should not grant its regular bonus to a characters
handle any sort of vessel that travels on the water. Martial Arts Action Dice in these circumstances
(although it might grant a bonus for a single attack
Driving Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial as per normal Complementary Skill usage, at the
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level discretion of the GM). Acrobatics, Athletics, or
of Driving. Intimidation could potentially be Complementary
Skills to Duel Dancing.
Duel Dancing (Presence)
Duel Dancing Cost: 5 Character Points for the
Duel Dancing is a ritualized form of combat initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional level
practiced by virtually every martial artist. Its essentially of Duel Dancing.
a kata that incorporates the martial maneuvers of a
given style, and is designed to show an opponent the Etiquette (Presence)
level of a martial artists skill. Depending on the style
of the combatant, a duel dance can be graceful and This Skill gives a character the knowledge
flowing, fast and precise, or slow and powerful. Duel of proper social behavior and grants him the
Dancing is considered a refined art among warriors ability to interact effectively in formal situations.
and the best practitioners of this form of combat are Etiquette is essential for any courtier who wishes
accorded a great deal of respect. to make a good impression on the nobility and
the royalty. This Skill also grants an individual a
Before two combatants fight in the Spiral Arena general knowledge of protocol for most cultures.
(or in any sort of formal duel), it is customary for each Knowledge Skills of specific cultures would be
warrior to perform a duel dance. They can either considered Complementary, and would allow a
perform it one after the other or simultaneously. character to know obscure but important details
The purpose of the duel dance is to impress your concerning the customs and regulations of a given
opponent in order to gain an advantage in the court. Other Complementary Skills would include
coming duel. In certain cases, especially if a character Conversation, Intrigue, and Seduction.
scores many more successes than his opponent, a
duel dance may be enough to settle the score, thus An Etiquette Skill Roll is required whenever a
forgoing the need for bloodshed. The humbled character is trying to impress the members of court
opponent may choose to acknowledge the characters or a specific dignitary. Simply interacting in a court
superior skill and simply admit defeat. There is no situation should be considered a Free Action for
dishonor whatsoever in this act. someone with Etiquette. A successful Etiquette Skill
Roll would allow a character to know the correct
A character may normally only use his Duel course of action in any given circumstance. The higher
Dancing Skill before combat begins, and against the Success Level, the greater the level of admiration
another Duel Dancing opponent. Both combatants and respect a character would receive. Effective use of
roll their Duel Dancing Action Dice and compare Etiquette, Conversation, and Seduction could make
successes. Every 2 successes a character scores over a character a favorite at court; an individual whose
his opponents adds 1 die to his Martial Arts Action wit, charm, and sex appeal would insure invitations
Dice for the remainder of that duel only. New duels to the most lavish and exclusive social events.
with the same opponent would require a new Duel
Dancing Skill Roll. A failed Etiquette Roll could either mean that
a character is uncertain how to proceed or has
Example: Ishi and Shadis decide to meet in the committed a minor gaffe. A character could recover
Spiral Arena to settle a matter of honor. Ishi decides from such a faux pas with some quick thinking and
to begin the duel with a duel dance. She has Ranking
of 8 in Duel Dancing and scores 6 successes on her careful social maneuvering. A Fumbled Etiquette
Action Dice. Shadis has a Ranking of 6 in Duel Roll usually means a major social blunder that could
Dancing and only manages to score 2 successes. Ishi result in loss of favor at court or a diminishment
will get a bonus of 2 dice to her Martial Arts Action of a characters social status. Depending on the

160
severity of the Fumble, this might even lead to use with Fast Draw. This, however, would depend
arrest, banishment, or worse. on the size and strength of the Zoic wielding it. An
Etiquette Cost: 3 Character Points for the elephant Zoic, for example, might be able to use
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional Fast Draw with a Hthiyaran blunderbuss whereas
level of Etiquette. a cheetah Zoic might not. Combined with the

Chapter III: Character Creation


Fast Reflexes Talent, this Skill can duplicate the
Evade (Agility) lightning quick reactions of a master gunfighter,
archer, or swordsman.
This Combat Skill gives a character the ability
to dodge or block any form of physical attack A further benefit of Fast Draw is its ability to
he is able to perceive, whether hand-to-hand, shorten reload times on firearms. Since all Drdni
melee, or ranged. Evade also allows a character firearms are muzzleloaders, reloading a rifle or a
to avoid damage from environmental dangers pistol can take a significant amount of time (see
such as rockslides, explosions, or lightning strikes the Firearm Combat Skill for more details). A
(interpreted as a characters ability to leap clear of successful Fast Draw Skill Roll, however, allows a
danger or dive for cover). Evade is basically an character to reload a firearm in a single Combat
all-encompassing Defense Roll that applies both in Round. Sleight of Hand could be considered a
and out of combat and under any circumstance. Complementary Skill to Fast Draw.
Modifiers for combat should be applied normally Failing a Fast Draw Skill Roll means that the
to a characters Evade Skill Action Dice (see the character will have to use a Combat Action in
Combat chapter for more details). order to draw and ready the weapon. In the case
Given that ranged Combat Skills provide of reloading, it means that the character does not
no defense whatsoever, and that hand-to-hand save any time on the reload. A Fumbled Fast Draw
Combat Skills (with the exception of Martial Arts) Roll could result in a dropped weapon, or possibly
only provide a defense against other hand-to-hand even damage to the weapon depending on the
attacks, combatants would need to purchase Evade severity of the Fumble. In the case of reloading,
in order to have a universal Defense Roll. This a Fumble could tack on additional Rounds to the
Skill is incredibly useful for non-combat oriented usual reload times.
characters as well (scholars, healers, sorcerers, etc.) Fast Draw Cost: 5 Character Points for the
since it can help them survive combat intensive initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional
campaigns. Evade is a Basic Starting Skill so all level of Fast Draw.
characters get it at half their Agility Ranking or
at a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) at no cost. Firearm Combat (Dexterity)
Acrobatics or Athletics could be Complementary This Skill allows a character to use small
Skills to Evade. gunpowder weapons such as pistols, muskets,
Evade provides no damage reduction or rifles, blunderbusses, etc., in combat. Firearms are
absorption of any kind; it is simply a way to avoid called Vaylah weapons on Drdnah (named after
being hit. Thus, it does not protect against poisons, the legendary alchemist who discovered gunpowder
acids, or drugs once they have been introduced centuries ago). Most Vaylah weapons use a firing
into a characters body. Similarly, damage from mechanism similar to a flintlock, although there
environmental factors that cannot be dodged are older mechanisms resembling wheel-locks
(such as poisonous gasses, freezing cold, suffocating and matchlocks that are still used in various parts
heat, etc.) is not affected by this Skill. Depending of the world. Vaylah weapons are smoothbore
on the nature of a magical attack (and how it targets muzzleloaders, meaning they have no rifling on the
a character), some magical effects would likewise inside of their barrels and are loaded through the
be unaffected by Evade. forward, open end of the guns barrel.
Evade Cost: 5 Character Points for the initial A character uses his Action Dice in Firearm
Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional level Combat just as he would any Combat Skill to
of Evade. determine successes and the level of damage
inflicted by the weapon (see the Combat chapter for
Fast Draw (Dexterity) a detailed description of combat). Similar to other
This Skill allows a character to instantly draw ranged Combat Skills, Firearm Combat does not
and ready a weapon without having to use a Combat give the character any Defense Rolls; it is strictly a
Action (see the Combat chapter for more details). Skill designed to attack. Only the Evade Skill can
This Skill can be used with any melee or missile be used to defend against Firearm Combat attacks.
weapon at the discretion of the GM. Some large Normally, it takes a character with Firearm
or incredibly bulky weapons, such as pole arms or Combat 3 full Rounds to reload a Vaylah weapon.
heavy firearms, may be deemed inappropriate for This amount of time doubles if a character does

Basic Compendium
161
Chapter III: Character Creation
not possess this Skill. Characters who possess Fast Detecting a forgery is something that can usually
Draw are able to reload a Vaylah weapon in a single only be done by someone who is knowledgeable
Combat Round with a successful Skill Roll. Once an in the forged item. This also requires appropriate
enemy is in melee range, however, most combatants Knowledge Skills, which become Complementary
abandon their firearms and rely on melee and hand- Skills to an Observation or a Perception Roll. The
to-hand Combat Skills. inspector, however, must score more successes than
This Skill also provides a character with a working the forger did when he created the forgery (ties go
to the defender, which in this case is the victim of
BOOK ONE

knowledge of most Vaylah weapons, including how


to clean and maintain them. If a firearm were the scam). If people have no reason to suspect that
to ever break, however, only a Gunsmith with a an item is a forgery, a GM might decide that they
Specialization in Firearms would be able to repair get no roll to detect it. In some cases, a forgery may
it. Complementary Knowledge Skills in various go undetected for years. Knowledgeable individuals
types of Vaylah weapons would allow a combatant who are suspicious of a forged item can get Bonus
to specialize in using and maintaining those classes Modifiers to their Observation or Perception Rolls
of firearms (such as a sniper specializing in long (after all, they know what to look for).
range rifles, or a pistoleer specializing in short Failing a Forgery Skill Roll does not necessarily
range pistols, etc.). mean that the result is clearly a forgery. It might still
A failed Firearm Combat Roll simply means be sufficient to fool the untrained eye. An expert,
that the character has missed his target and no however, could tell with a simple inspection that
damage was done. Depending on its severity, a something was not right. Fumbling a Forgery Roll,
Fumbled Firearm Combat Roll could either mean however, usually results in a clearly inferior product
a ricochet (which might accidentally hit an ally), or (and in wasted materials). If a GM was feeling
it could mean the Vaylah weapon has jammed or particularly cheeky, he could decide that a Fumble
even exploded resulting in damage to the wielder resulted in a product that the forger deemed good
or those nearby. enough for government work. Problems would
naturally arise when the forger tried to pass off the
Firearm Combat Cost: 5 Character Points shoddy counterfeit item as genuine.
for the initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every
additional level of Firearm Combat. Forgery Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level
Forgery (Dexterity) of Forgery.
Forgery allows a character to duplicate Gaming (Wit)
documents, mimic signatures, make copies of
official seals and signets, or create counterfeit This Skill grants a character the ability to play
money. It also allows a character to create imitations strategy and gambling games. There are as many
of famous works of art. Difficulty Modifiers should different games on Drdnah as there are on Earth.
be applied to the Forgery Action Dice depending Two of the most popular are a chess-like game
on the complexity of the item being forged and called Ji and a card game called Devahs Doctrine.
the amount of time available to do the forgery. Gambling games typically use cards, dice, or lots
Documents, for example, would take less time and of some sort. GMs are encouraged to adapt their
be easier to forge than coins or works of art. Extra favorite historical game to their own campaigns. In
Time Bonus Modifiers could also apply in many of regards to games, however, one thing is certain: the
these circumstances. only thing the inhabitants of Drdnah love more
than playing games is wagering on them.
Although Forgery is not a General Skill, a
forger should have supporting Knowledge Skills Whenever a character is involved in a strategy
that determine what sorts of things he is best at or gambling game, he rolls his Gaming Action Dice
duplicating (e.g. a document forger should have after making a wager (assuming hes playing for
Knowledge of court decrees and proclamations, an money rather than just for fun). If a character scores
art forger of famous artists and their works, a money more successes than his opponents, he wins the
counterfeiter of various currencies, etc.). These game and any money that was wagered. Difficulty
Knowledge Skills act as Complementary Skills to Modifiers could be applied if a characters never
Forgery. If a forger had no supporting Knowledge played the game before. Similarly, Bonus Modifiers
Skills, then he would have to get his hands on an could be applied if the character is an old pro at
original work in order to duplicate it effectively the game. In some cases, GMs might wish to allow
or else suffer Difficulty Modifiers to his Forgery players to make a simple Gaming Roll to see if their
Action Dice. Having an original work would give characters made a little extra money during an
a forger with supporting Knowledge Skills Bonus evening of carousing. The higher the Success Level,
Modifiers to his Forgery Roll. the greater the winnings of the character.

162
A character, of course, can always attempt to weapons, special gun-making materials, or famous
cheat. Cheating requires a character to either have gunsmiths would be considered Complementary
the Sleight of Hand Skill (to palm cards, switch out Skills and could allow a gunsmith to make unique
ordinary dice for loaded dice, etc.) or to have made and unusual weapons. Artillery Combat and Firearm
some preparations in order to make the cheating Combat could also be used as Complementary Skills

Chapter III: Character Creation


possible (such as bribing a dealer, making sure a if a gunsmith has those particular Specializations.
marked deck is used, etc.). In the case of special Gunsmith not only allows a character to make
preparations, a GM can assign a cheater a Bonus gunpowder weapons, it also allows him to appraise
Modifier to his Gaming Action Dice depending on the quality and durability of other weapons in his
the extent of the preparations. If Sleight of Hand is Specialization. A successful roll would allow a
being used, then every success scored on the Sleight gunsmith to identify the techniques used to craft a
of Hand Action Dice gives a cheater another success particular piece, its area of origin, the fundamentals
to boost his Gaming Success Level. This is better of its operation, and any strengths or weaknesses the
than a Complementary Skill Roll because of the weapon might possess.
consequences of being caught.
There are three basic materials that are used
Someone attempting to detect a cheater may to create gunpowder weapons. Firearms are most
use either a Gaming, Observation, or Perception commonly made of suthra chitin, specially treated in
Roll to try to do it. This individual, however, must chemical baths to harden it and make it more heat-
roll more successes than the cheater rolled on either resistant. Chitin is also commonly used to make
his Sleight of Hand or his Gaming Roll (depending grenades and bombs. More expensive firearms and
on which he used to cheat). Ties go to the defender, most cannons are made of a special tree sap called
which in this case is the character being cheated. Amber, which can be heated and poured into molds.
Penalties for cheating vary from region to region, Amber hardens to the strength and resilience of a
but can range from having the cheater instantly superhard Pyrex. The most expensive firearms and the
expelled from a game (and forced to give back all finest cannons are made of unique Drdni crystals
winnings) to possibly having the cheater challenged that have the heat-absorption capability and strength
to a duel. There are no laws against cheating, per of modern Earth ceramics (which are stronger than
se, but a reputation as a cheater can mean a loss steel). These weapons have to be grown, however, and
of honor and status, and permanent banishment can cost a small fortune in materials, which is why
from gambling dens (a fate worse than death for they are usually only made as special commissions
most gamblers). from incredibly wealthy nobles.
Failing a Gaming Roll means a character loses A failed Gunsmith Roll usually means
the game and his wager. In most instances, losing a weapon has failed to meet the gunsmiths
money can make a character very popular with standards of quality. Such a weapon would be
fellow gamblers. After all, who doesnt like to win far more likely to jam or explode (even a minor
other peoples money? Failing while cheating means Fumble while using it would result in disaster).
someone has noticed the cheating (but may decide If using Gunsmith to appraise another weapon,
not to turn the cheater in, possibly for blackmail failure could simply mean that the design is
purposes later on). Fumbling a Gaming Roll results unfamiliar to the gunsmith. A Fumbled Gunsmith
in a particularly bad loss, which could make a Roll means that the weapon is totally ruined,
character seem like an amateur or could cause him which given the materials and time needed to
to lose a considerable amount of money. Fumbling create some guns could result in a substantial
while cheating exposes the characters attempt to financial loss for the gunsmith (and an incredibly
everyone involved in the game, which could end up upset patron). In the case of bombs, a Fumble
with the cheater running for his life. always means an explosion, which given the size
Gaming Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial and power of the bomb could result in severe
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level injury or death.
of Gaming. Artillery Guns: This category includes
bombards, cannons, mortars, hand cannons, etc.
Gunsmith (Dexterity) Cannonsmiths are usually employed by incredibly
This General Skill gives a character the ability to wealthy and powerful patrons as the process of
make, maintain, and repair gunpowder weapons of making large artillery pieces is time-consuming
various kinds. Gunsmith has three Specializations: and very expensive. The most highly skilled
Artillery Guns, Explosives, and Firearms. Each cannonsmiths, however, are treasured by any lord
Specialization grants a character working knowledge with ambitions of conquest, which translates
of the various weapons in that particular category. into incredible wealth and prestige for the lucky
Additional Knowledge Skills of rare gunpowder cannonsmiths.

Basic Compendium
163
Chapter III: Character Creation
Explosives: This category encompasses bombs, break his victim. It should be noted that Successive
grenades, mines, or any explosive device of any Attempts penalty modifiers should not be applied
kind. Bomb makers usually have short careers to Interrogation, since this Skill is all about wearing
(for obvious reasons); the oldest ones tend to go down victims in order to break their will.
through quite a lot of assistants, and even so will A failed Interrogation Roll means that the
normally be missing one or more limbs. Given the interrogator has not yet managed to break a victims
supremacy of skyships on the battlefield, however, will, and must continue the physical or psychological
bombs are commonly used in warfare, so bomb
BOOK ONE

torture. A Fumbled Interrogation Roll usually


makers are always kept busy and are usually quite results in the death of the victim, although it could
wealthy. be interpreted as the victims will simply being too
Firearms: This category covers blunderbusses, strong to break under interrogation (depending
muskets, pistols, rifles, etc. Gunsmiths are far on the situation and the victim).
more common than either cannonsmiths or bomb Interrogation Cost: 3 Character Points for the
makers. Some specialize in mass producing firearms initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
for powerful lords, while others consider themselves level of Interrogation.
masters who prefer to craft beautiful crystal guns
valued as stunning works of art by the patrons who Intimidation (Presence)
commission them.
A character with this Skill is able to awe or cow
Gunsmith Cost: 3 Character Points for the others through threats (implied or overt), a show of
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional force, or sheer strength of personality. Intimidation
level of Gunsmith. works best against weak-willed, cowardly, or inferior
opponents (such as common criminals, prissy
Interrogation (Presence) courtiers, or snooty merchants) but it can also be
This Skill allows a character to forcibly extract effective against more formidable foes. A GM can
information from a subject, either through mental decide, however, that there are individuals who
manipulation or physical torture. On the low end of simply cannot be intimidated. Complementary
the scale, interrogators are simply disciplined thugs Skills could include Acrobatics, Acting, Athletics,
skilled at inflicting pain. On the upper end of the Duel Dancing, Oratory, or Streetwise. Using a
scale, interrogators are known as torturers. These Combat Skill as a display of force could also be
individuals are often High Caste physicians trained deemed a Complementary Skill.
in medical techniques designed to keep victims Whenever a character tries to use Intimidation,
alive. But it is the twisted Holy Caste doctors that he rolls his Action Dice and compares his successes
are truly prized for their superior surgical training to his targets Will or Presence Roll (whichever
and advanced knowledge of medicine. Characteristic has the higher Ranking). If the
The most common interrogation techniques character scores more successes than his target (ties
involve acts of physical torture usually aided by go to the defender), then his target is effectively
various nasty and cruel devices. Complementary intimidated and will generally do whatever the
Skills for this type of interrogation would include character was demanding.
Intimidation and Surgery, as well as Knowledge Modifiers can be applied to the Intimidation
Skills of pressure points, pain centers, torture Action Dice depending on what the character is
implements, and general Zoic biology. The more asking the target to do. Forcing a target to back
advanced techniques use various psychological down from a fight is a fairly common use of this
tricks, combined with mind-altering drugs, designed Skill. Once involved in combat, Intimidation can be
to confuse victims into divulging their precious used to force an opponent to surrender, although
secrets. Complementary Skills for these techniques this would be more difficult (unless the target was
would include Medical Alchemy, Conversation, losing). An Intimidation effort that was designed
and Persuasion. to humiliate or dishonor an opponent, or to force
When a character attempts to use Interrogation a target to hand over valuable property, would be
against a target, he rolls his Interrogation Action even more challenging.
Dice and compares successes against the victims Failing an Intimidation Roll simply means
Will Roll (who gets to add the Pain Resistance that the particular attempt to cow a target was
Talent if theres physical torture involved). If the unsuccessful, which could result in the target
interrogator scores a higher Success Level (ties go to becoming more obstinate or antagonistic. A
the victim) its assumed the torturer has successfully Fumbled Intimidation Roll usually results in the
broken the victim. Its up to the GM to decide target attacking the character or otherwise opposing
how much the victim will divulge when this occurs, him in the strongest way possible, which could
or how often an interrogator gets to roll to try and include arrest and imprisonment if such a thing is

164
within the targets power. Failing an Intrigue Roll means that the
Intimidation Cost: 3 Character Points for the character was unable to discover the information he
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional was seeking or couldnt figure out a rivals scheme.
level of Intimidation. In the case of planting rumors, it could mean that
the rumor simply didnt take hold. Fumbling an

Chapter III: Character Creation


Intrigue (Wit) Intrigue Roll usually exposes the scheme to those
involved. This may lead to all sorts of trouble
Intrigue allows a character to manipulate for the schemer if his rivals are able to trace the
individuals or factions through crafty plotting scheme back to him. A character may have to call
and underhanded machinations in order to gain in all sorts of favors in order to survive Fumbling
a political advantage for himself or others. This an Intrigue Roll. Skipping town and disappearing
Skill is useful if a character wants to harm political is always an option.
or social rivals, or even bring about their ruin.
Intrigue could well be called the Iago Skill after Intrigue Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
Shakespeares conniving court advisor in Othello. Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level
of Intrigue.
Intrigue is primarily used to gather sensitive
information on individuals or factions; intrigue Knowledge (Wit)
artists know exactly who to go to in order to get the
juiciest gossip. This Skill is especially useful to reveal Characters with this General Skill are able
exploitable weaknesses, such as fragile alliances, to define a subject on which they are considered
secret feuds, embarrassing vices, or dangerous knowledgeable. The subject of a Knowledge Skill
political ploys. It also allows a character to spread can be virtually anything, and it can be as general
vicious rumors in order to sway the opinions of or as specific as a character wishes. The more
others to his own ends. A skilled intrigue artist can general a Knowledge Skill topic, the more general
eventually find himself in the thick of dangerous the information the character is able to recall;
embroilments. So take heed! Playing these sorts of the more specific the topic, the more specific the
political games can be incredibly dangerous, as it details. For example, a character with a Knowledge
creates as many powerful enemies as it does allies. Skill of ancient history would know the major beats
of history: the different historical ages, famous
Before using Intrigue, a character tells the battles, famous historical figures, important
GM what sort of information hes after. Difficulty general dates, etc. A character with a Knowledge
Modifiers should be applied depending on Skill of the Twilight Wars would know specifics of
how sensitive or damaging the GM deems that that particular era, including the major battles of
information. The higher the Success Level scored that conflict, the names of the Talons of Kramah
by the character, the more information the GM and their powers, the names of the sorcerer princes
reveals. A character would also make an Intrigue of Visedhrah, the details concerning the last siege of
Roll when he wanted to circulate rumors. Again, Jirangarrm, etc.
Difficulty Modifiers should be applied depending
on what the rumor was designed to do (weaken Every Knowledge Skill is considered a
an alliance, discredit someone, start a feud, Specialization. In other words, every time a
etc.). Finally, characters can use Intrigue to try character wants knowledge of a particular subject,
and discover or reveal the intrigues of others. he must purchase a new Knowledge Skill. Modifiers
Complementary Skills would include Bribery, could be applied to Knowledge Skill Action
Conversation, Etiquette, Seduction, or various Dice depending on how common or obscure the
Knowledge Skills of politics, factions, or power information a character was seeking was deemed
brokers. to be by the GM. Buying both general and specific
Knowledge Skills is a way to represent a specialist
It should be noted that using Intrigue properly in a field. For example, if a doctor bought a
takes time. Rumors must be carefully planted, trust Knowledge Skill of general medicine, and another
must be gained, bribes offered, favors exchanged, Knowledge of plagues, and a final Knowledge of the
etc. For the most part, Intrigue gives the character Gray Rot Plague, that doctor would be considered
the information he needs to formulate political one of the worlds leading specialists on plagues,
schemes, and gives him the ability to plant rumors specifically the Gray Rot Plague. If he didnt have
and manipulate personalities in order to set the Knowledge Skill of medicine, he would not be
those schemes into motion. Whether a faction is as knowledgeable about common Zoic ailments or
ultimately destroyed or not depends entirely on their treatments.
what the character does to further his schemes
in the game (such as assassinating an important Knowledge Skills are commonly used as
leader, stealing secret documents, sabotaging an Complementary Skills to other Skills. A character
alliance, framing a rival for a crime, etc.). with Gunsmith Skill would benefit from having

Basic Compendium
165
Chapter III: Character Creation
Knowledge Skill of Vaylah weapons as
they would help him craft better firearms.
A character with Streetwise would be far
more effective in dealing with thieves
if he also had a Knowledge Skill of
thieves guilds. Research is considered a
Complementary Skill to any Knowledge
Skill. Also, in certain cases, a Knowledge
BOOK ONE

Skill could be considered Complementary


to another Knowledge Skill, such as a
Knowledge of the Twilight Wars being
Complementary to a Knowledge Skill of
demonology (since that foul art was used
extensively in the Twilight Wars). As
always, GMs have the final say on what
Skills can be used as Complementary to
another.
Failing a Knowledge Skill Roll means
that the character was unable to recall
the necessary information. Fumbling
a Knowledge Roll could mean that a
character recalls incorrect information
and jumps to a faulty conclusion based
on those facts. Below are some examples
of some Knowledge Skills that a character Fashion - knowledge of popular styles in fashion,
might possess. including fashion trends of various countries,
Ancient or Current History - knowledge of famous dressmakers, fashionable materials, etc.
the various ages of Drdnah, including important Firearms - knowledge of Vaylah weapons,
events, figures, dates, etc., or of current events, including the various types, famous gunsmiths,
rulers, recent wars, etc. gunmaking techniques, etc.
Architecture - knowledge of the art of Geography - knowledge of the various lands
architecture, its history, important architectural and their topographical features, including the
buildings, schools of thought, etc. names of nations, provinces, regions, as well as
Art - knowledge of the various forms of art bodies of water, deserts, forests, etc.
on Drdnah, famous artists, significant artistic Heraldry - knowledge of the various crests
movements, etc. and sigils used to identify different Houses, Lines,
Cartography - knowledge of maps, their political factions, guilds, clans, etc.
construction, the history of mapmaking, famous Herbal Lore - knowledge of the properties of
cartographers, etc. the various plants, herbs, and fungi of Drdnah,
Crystal Lore - knowledge of the various as well as their effect on the body.
crystals on Drdnah, their physical properties Horticulture - knowledge of the art of
and characteristics, myths surrounding them, etc. cultivating and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables,
Cultural Traditions - knowledge of a characters flowers, or ornamental plants, including knowledge
specific culture, including that cultures traditions, of the seasons, harvests, storage techniques, etc.
laws, practices, taboos, etc. Jenu Lore - knowledge of the various Zoics of
Divination - knowledge of the art of fortune- Drdnah, including unique abilities, dispositions,
telling using various methods (cards, bones, entrails, habits, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
crystal gazing, etc.). Legends - knowledge of mythic individuals
Economics - knowledge of the production, and events, including religious epics, the Devah,
distribution, and consumption of goods and demons and Narkah, local folklore, etc.
services, including economic systems, currencies, Lineages - knowledge of the various political
exchange rates, etc. Lines and Houses of any given region, including
Famous Jnah - knowledge of heroes, beloved legendary great aryahs and aryahs, Line feuds,
rulers, infamous conquerors, master craftsmen, alliances, etc.
renowned explorers, etc. Literature - knowledge of the worlds literary

166
works, including religious texts and poetry, fables the seasons, storm prediction, etc.
and myths, famous authors and poets, etc. World Cultures - knowledge of the various
Magic Theory - knowledge of the workings cultures of Drdnah, including the overall societal
of magic and how it relates to the forces of nature differences between the different nations, common
and the supernatural, including rituals, the laws governing a region, popular religions of the

Chapter III: Character Creation


Dreamworld, and the other essentials of sorcery. area, fashion trends, customs, etc.
Martial Arts Lore - knowledge of the various Knowledge Cost: 2 Character Points for the
martial styles of Drdnah, including unique initial Skill; 1 Character Point for every additional
fighting techniques, the history of martial arts, level of Knowledge.
their impact on society, etc.
Mathematics - knowledge of the laws believed Language (Wit)
to define the universe, including the concepts This General Skill gives a character the
of basic and advanced math, principle theories, ability to speak one of the various languages of
famous mathematicians, etc. Drdnah. Each individual language is considered
Medical Lore - knowledge of the body and its a Specialization for this Skill. Speaking a language
functions, including the essential elements, fluids, doesnt normally require a roll of Action Dice.
and humors, as well as knowledge of different Normal language usage is considered a Free
medicines, their functions, and how best to use Action. The only time a Language Skill Roll would
them in treating ailments of the body and mind, be required (i.e. the action would be deemed a
etc. Contested Action) would be in instances where a
character was trying to either speak or understand
Mineral Lore - knowledge of different a dialect of a language with which he was fluent, or
minerals and their various uses, including where if he was trying to seem particularly eloquent and
the minerals can be found, rare minerals, folklore well-spoken.
concerning minerals, etc.
In general, the higher a Language Skills
Music - knowledge of the popular trends and Ranking, the more fluent and eloquent a character
styles of music, as well as musical history, famous is deemed to be in that language. Language Skills
musicians, popular songs, etc. can serve as Complementary Skills to Acting (if
Poisons - knowledge of the worlds various a character is pretending to be from a specific
toxic substances, including their effects, antidotes, country or region where the language is spoken),
sources, methods of delivering the poisons, etc. Conversation, Diplomacy, Etiquette, Oratory,
Politics - knowledge of the worlds most or even Performance (if a good grasp of language
influential nations, Lines, Houses, and their is required for the specific performance). Every
associations and interactions with each other. characters gets their native tongue at half of their
Wit or a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) as a
Region Lore - knowledge of a specified area, Basic Starting Skill. If a character wished to be
its geography, flora, fauna, weather, politics, etc. more eloquent with his native tongue, hed have to
This is a Basic Starting Skill, so a character gets buy the full Language Skill.
this Knowledge at half his Wit or a Ranking of 3
(whichever is lower) at no cost. The character must Whether a character has literacy in a language is
specify the region (usually the characters home city) completely up to the player and the GM. If it makes
covered by this free Knowledge. sense that a character would be literate, then hes
assumed to be able to read and write the languages
Religion - knowledge of the various practices, he knows. If not, then the character is illiterate.
rituals, and beliefs of the two major religions of the If a character starts out the game being illiterate
world (the Mahist and Dru faith) and any of the and then later, after the game has begun, wants to
sub-cults within each. learn to read and write, the GM should decide on
Ritual Lore - knowledge of the types of rituals a reasonable time frame for that to happen and
practiced in magic or religion, including their have the character slowly learn to read and write. It
histories, variations, significance, etc. doesnt cost any Character Points since its mainly a
Suthra Lore - knowledge of the worlds fauna, roleplaying thing anyway. But for general reference,
including physiology, habitats, diet, behavioral most Holy, High, and Trade Caste individuals will
traits, etc. know how to read and write. Low Caste members
and Outcastes (except for certain Dishonored) will
Weapons - knowledge of the various weapon usually be illiterate.
types of Drdnah, including usage, history,
variations, etc. Another form of Language Skill frequently
used on Drdnah is the Cant or Whisper Tongue.
Weather Lore - knowledge of weather patterns, These special forms of communication are a series

Basic Compendium
167
Chapter III: Character Creation
of body movements, hand gestures, coded words, Hthiyaran - A rumbling Vajrah language spoken
and even sounds (such as clicks, whistles, growls, in the eastern isvarate of Hthiyar. It uses a very
hisses) used by various Lines, Houses, guilds, or stylized version of the common Vajrah alphabet and
other organizations whose membership wishes segmental writing system borrowed from the Nilmi,
to communicate secretly even in the presence of although the more common form of alphabet and
others. Depending on the circumstances of their script are still used in parts of the country.
usage, GMs could decide that special languages Ishpri - A heavily aspirated Vajrah language
required a Language Skill Roll (after all, the goal is
BOOK ONE

spoken in the central Drdni isvarate of Ishpria.


not to let others know youre using a Cant). It uses the common Vajrah alphabet and segmental
Failing a Language Skill Roll means that a writing system.
character was unable to reproduce or understand Klin - A high-pitched Vajrah language spoken
a dialect, or did not come across as eloquent as on the eastern island of Klinrh. This language
he might have hoped. Fumbling a Language Roll relies on sounds that can only be produced or
could mean that a characters attempt at a dialect heard by bat Zoics, thus it is said that only a Klin
was misinterpreted in some negative way, or that is truly capable of speaking this language. For this
a character himself misinterpreted something reason, there are two different dialects: Formal Klin
someone else said. In the case of Cants, a Fumble and Common (sometimes called Gutter) Klin.
could means a clumsy use of the secret language Common Klin does not utilize the high frequency
that alerts enemies to its usage and could possibly sounds of Formal Klin. Its complex logographic
even allow them to decipher it. script is unique to the island of Klinrh, and (some
The following major languages are some of the claim) undecipherable by anyone except Klin and
Specializations available with this Skill (each major those touched by madness.
language usually has dozens of regional dialects): Kttish - A barking, discordant Vajrah language
Amnolic - A musical Paksin language spoken spoken in the southeastern isvarate of Ktta. It
in the southwestern amn of Amol. Although not uses the common Vajrah alphabet and segmental
considered as beautiful as Rkbarani, it is still a writing system.
popular language among musicians and singers. Lorh - A melodious Vajrah language spoken
Amnolic and Rkbarani share a common alphabet by various gypsy tribes that roam the southeastern
and have similar vocabularies. mountain ranges of Drdnah. Its script has more
Andhi - A sibilant Sarpah language spoken in in common with the Sarpah logographic script,
the northeastern isvarate of Andhi. This language however, than with the common Vajrah alphabet
and Pkharaji are very similar. It uses the same and writing system.
logographic script used by all Sarpah languages Magri - A throaty Sarpah language spoken
except Magri. in the southern isvarate of Magr. This Sarpah
Bakri - A rhythmic Vajrah language spoken in language is unique, however, in that it uses the
the southern isvarate of Bakri. It uses the common common Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing
Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing system. system.
Cant (Whisper Tongue) - A secret language Nilmi - A highly inflected and precise Vajrah
spoken by members of Lines, Houses, guilds, or other language spoken in the eastern isvarate of Nilm.
organizations consisting of subtle body movements, It uses an incredibly stylized version of the common
hand signals, coded words, and sounds. Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing system. It is
Dar-Purmi - A staccato Vajrah language spoken considered the language of scholars.
in the southern island isvarate of Dar-Purm. It uses Pkharaji - Sharing a few characteristics with
the common Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing Andhi, this Sarpah language is spoken in the
system. northeastern isvarate of Pkharaj. It uses the same
Gilrhian - A lilting Vajrah language spoken logographic script of other Sarpah languages.
in the central Drdni isvarate of Gilrhi. This Rkbarani - Considered one of the most beautiful
language and Tishnian are distant cousins. It uses languages on Drdnah, this incredibly melodious
the common Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing Paksin tongue is spoken in the western amn of
system. Rkbar. Known as the Bards Tongue, Drdnahs
Hardaz - An extremely guttural Vajrah language greatest musicians and singers are always fluent in
spoken in the northern khanate of the Hardazi. Rkbarani. It uses the same alphabet as Amnolic.
Although its alphabet and segmental writing system Sustrmi - A purring Vajrah language spoken
share a few characteristics with the common Vajrah in the central amn of Sustrm. It uses the common
alphabet and script, it would be difficult to read by Vajrah alphabet and segmental writing system.
a non-Hardaz speaker.

168
Tishnian - This melodious Vajrah language to pick it impossible. In certain cases, it could even
is considered the trade language of the world, mean that the character has triggered an undetected
making it the most commonly spoken language trap.
on Drdnah. Its the predominant language of Lock Picking Cost: 3 Character Points for the
the central isvarate of Tishnia and is similar to initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional

Chapter III: Character Creation


Gilrhian. It uses the common Vajrah alphabet and level of Lock Picking
segmental writing system.
Ullshi - A hybrid Vajrah and Sarpah language Magic Ritual (Essence)
spoken in the northeastern isvarate of Ullsh. This General Skill allows a character to use
Speakers of Ullshi are capable of understanding the arts of sorcery and manipulate the arcane
an Andhi or Pkharaji speaker if they speak slowly energies of the Dream Realm. Whether a learned
enough. It uses the common Vajrah alphabet and sirhibas, holy mngai, mysterious witch, or tribal
segmental writing system. shaman, magicians on Drdnah all acknowledge
Visedi - One of the oldest languages on the Five Eternal Truths of Magic. These Truths
Drdnah, this complex Sarpah language is spoken were decreed by the goddess of prophecy herself,
in the northern Visedhran Principalities. There are the Devah Krilrah, and they can never be undone.
three main dialects: High Visedi, Common Visedi, Magic rituals would simply not function if one of
and Low Visedi (used by the Holy/High, Trade, and the Truths were to be ignored. Although there are
Low Castes respectively). Speakers of Visedi can regional differences regarding the specifics of magic
recognize a good deal of the Andhi and Pkharaji and the beliefs surrounding them, the Truths
vocabulary. It uses a very formal (and some say themselves are universal throughout Drdnah.
beautiful) version of the Sarpah logographic script. The First Truth states that the mysterious
Language Cost: 2 Character Points for the and powerful Dream Realm is the source of all
initial Skill; 1 Character Point for every additional Drdni magic, and all magicians must tap its
level of Language. essence in order to perform magic of any kind. The
Second Truth states that all magicians must use
Lock Picking (Dexterity) incantations (usually in the form of chants) to call
This Skill gives a character knowledge of forth the essence of the Dream Realm. The Third
locking mechanisms and the ability to open them Truth states that all magicians must use mystic sigils
with the proper tools. Locks on Drdnah are to focus and shape the magic they call forth. These
made primarily of crystal (the same variety used to sigils can be inscribed either upon a magicians
make Vaylah weapons), although chitin, Amber, own body (in the form of tattoos), or upon foci
and even certain hard woods are also used. Lock employed by magicians (such as prayer bowls, beads,
Picking does not allow a character to detect or meditation rugs), or upon the ritual chamber floor
disarm traps that might be worked into the design itself. The Fourth Truth states that using magic is
of a lock; that requires the Skills Concealment and never safe; all magicians must guard against the
Trapping respectively. possible intrusion of alien and sinister entities that
inhabit the Dream Realm or the Swirling Void of
GMs should apply modifiers depending on Narkah. The Fifth Truth states that magic always
the complexity of the lock and how much time a comes with a price; the more powerful the magic,
character can spend trying to pick it. It is possible, the greater the price. Regardless of how the magic
however, for an especially talented lock picker is used, the price must always be paid.
to open a lock in a very short period of time. In
general, the higher the Success Level, the quicker The Magic Ritual Skill has four Specializations:
a character is able to defeat a lock. If a character Dreamwalking, Endowment, Healing, and
scores a particularly high Success Level (Excellent Summoning. Sorcerers who specialize in
or higher) with Lock Picking, he can decide to Dreamwalking are called seers. Those who
break a lock if he wishes so that it cannot lock specialize in Endowment are known as mages.
again. Some locks, however, might be deemed Sorcerer specialists in either Healing or Summoning
unbreakable by a GM. Complementary Skill are called healers or summoners respectively.
could include Concealment, Observation, and Priests who specialize in Healing are called blessed
Knowledge Skills on various locking mechanisms. mngai. Those who specialize in Dreamwalking,
Endowment, or Summoning are called sadhu.
Failing a Lock Picking Skill Roll means A character may have multiple Specializations,
the character was unable to defeat a particular in which case he can choose whatever title he
lock. Successive attempts can be made with the prefers.
appropriate penalties. Fumbling a Lock Picking
Roll could either mean broken lock picks or a All magicians must have purchased the Mystic
jammed lock that would make Successive Attempts Talent in order to buy the Magic Ritual Skill. As

Basic Compendium
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Chapter III: Character Creation
stated in the Mystic Talent description on page 114, glimpsed. Dreamwalking is enigmatic and sometimes
magicians can buy one Magic Ritual Specialization even dangerous depending on what the seer has to deal
for every 2 levels of Mystic Talent they possess. Since with in the Dream.
Mystic Talent levels can never exceed a magicians Ritual of Endowment: This ritual allows a mage
Essence Ranking, it would take a magician with to endow objects in the physical world with a variety of
8 levels of Mystic Talent and an 8 Essence to be magical traits. This type of magic can sometimes have
able to buy all four Magic Ritual Specializations. unexpected results, even when performed successfully.
Its important to note, however, that rarely will a
BOOK ONE

sorcerer be adept with more than 2 Specializations. Ritual of Healing: This ritual allows a healer to
Complementary Skills could include Knowledge restore the mind, body, or spirit. It is the least dangerous
Skills of magic rituals, demons, the Dream Realm, of the magical arts but can be rather taxing for both the
or even medicine depending on the Specialization. healer and the patient.
A full explanation of magic and magic rituals is Ritual of Summoning: This ritual allows a
found in the Ritual Magic chapter. summoner to call forth various creatures and entities
Failing a Magic Ritual Roll means that a from either the physical world, the Dream Realm, or
magician was either unable to enter into ritual and from other dimensions. This is the most dangerous type
summon the magic necessary, or encountered some of magic, since summoned beings must be constantly
problem that hurled him out of ritual prematurely controlled. If a summoned creature manages to break
and interrupted his intended use of magic. A free, the results can be disastrous.
Fumbled Magic Ritual Roll means that something Magic Ritual Cost: 5 Character Points for the
has gone terribly wrong. Most often it will have to initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional
do with the Fourth Truth of Magic and will mean level of Magic Ritual.
that some sinister entity has either been released or
has become attached to the magician in some way. Martial Arts (Agility)
This may not be immediately apparent, however, A character with this Combat Skill has been
which would give the entity time to engage in trained to fight in a particular style of armed and
mischief. If not properly dealt with, that mischief unarmed combat. Drdnah is a world steeped
could ultimately become deadly. in the martial arts. There are dozens of different
Ritual of Dreamwalking: This ritual allows a styles that originate from all around the world.
seer to go into a trance and enter the Dream Realm Like martial arts styles on Earth, Drdni styles
so that visions of the past, present, and future can be have colorful names inspired by native creatures,
geography, weather phenomena, or the
founder of the style. The Martial Arts Skill
is designed to be free-form, therefore it
allows a player to create whatever style of
martial art he fancies for his character.
In general, Drdni martial styles
have developed to take advantage of the
natural traits of a particular Zoic, as well
as to compensate for the Zoics potential
weaknesses. Large, powerful Zoics
(elephants, rhinos, hippos, musk oxen,
etc.) would use martial styles that relied on
strength and endurance. Lithe, fast Zoics
(cheetahs, rabbits, gazelles, etc.) would use
martial styles that emphasized speed and
agility. Winged Zoics would employ styles
that took advantage of their flight and kept
foes at a distance. Venomous Zoics would
rely on styles that emphasized defense and
focused on strikes at unarmored parts of a
foes body.
When a player decides to purchase
the Martial Arts Skill for a character, he
must describe to the GM (in general terms)
what the martial style will look like. Is it a
wrestling and grappling style, or does it keep

170
foes at arms length? Does it emphasize defense over It is the skill of the individual martial artist (and
offense, or is it an equal mix of both? Does it rely luck) that will ultimately make the difference.
mainly on kicks and knee strikes, or punches and Although this Skill will mostly be purchased
elbow strikes? The specifics of a particular style are by Holy and High Caste characters, there are no
purely for color and roleplaying purposes, and to laws in Drdni society that forbid or restrict the

Chapter III: Character Creation


define how the style differs from others. The player teaching of martial arts to any of the castes. In fact,
should come up with a colorful name for the style it is not unheard of for Low Caste members to rise
(or ask the GM for styles he might have created for to the status of Sunborn through their exploits
his campaign), and is encouraged to name some and deeds as skilled martial artists. High Caste
specific maneuvers. Once thats done, the martial warriors, after all, prize talent and ability above all
style is ready for action. else. If a martial artist is able to defeat the greatest
Characters with Martial Arts can use any of the High Caste warriors, then that individual deserves
maneuvers listed on the Maneuver Location Table on to be counted among the Sunborn regardless of
page 216. Those maneuvers show the game effects the circumstances of his birth.
of a particular move (stunning a foe, grappling a Martial Arts Cost: 8 Character Points for the
foe, breaking a foes bone, blinding a foe, etc.). The initial Skill; 5 Character Points for every additional
character decides which of the maneuver effects level of Martial Arts.
hes attempting to achieve and then describes the
specific strike (or combination of strikes) thats Melee Combat (Agility)
designed to produce that effect. The character
applies the Difficulty Modifiers listed in the table This Skill gives a character the ability to use
to his Martial Arts Action Dice before rolling to any hand-to-hand weapon in combat. Most melee
determine his Success Level (success are figured combatants have had some sort of formal training,
normally as described in the Combat chapter). If the although there could be instances where a character
character scores an Adequate Success (2 successes) could be considered self-taught. This Skill is
or higher, then the combat effects described in the common among fighters who are not high ranking
maneuver are applied to his target. professional soldiers, such as lowborn High Caste
warriors, peasant levies, and conscripts. Melee
Martial Arts has several additional advantages Combat reflects the basic training these soldiers
as well. A character with this Skill is able to fight receive before being sent into battle. Characters
using his Martial Arts Action Dice whether he is with the Martial Arts Skill would not need to
armed or unarmed; there is no need to purchase purchase Melee Combat unless they intended to
the Melee Combat Skill. However, a martial artist train other warriors in the use of this Skill.
would still need to purchase a ranged Combat
Skill (such as Firearm Combat, Missile Combat, A character uses his Action Dice in Melee
or Throw) if he wanted to use ranged weapons. Combat just as he would any Combat Skill to
Furthermore, unlike other hand-to-hand Combat determine successes and the level of damage
Skills, Martial Arts does allow a character to use his inflicted by the weapon (see the Combat chapter for
Martial Arts Action Dice to defend against Missile a detailed description of combat). Like other hand-
Combat or Throw attacks, although a martial artist to-hand Combat Skills, Melee Combat only allows
would still need to purchase the Evade Skill in order characters to make Defense Rolls against hand-to-
to defend against Artillery or Firearms. Depending hand and melee attacks. A melee combatant would
on the circumstances, Complementary Skills could need the Evade Skill in order to be able to defend
include Athletics, Duel Dancing, Intimidation, or against ranged attacks.
even Knowledge Skills of a rivals martial style. Melee combatants can use the special attacks
Martial Arts is not a General Skill so a character found in the Maneuver Location Table on page 216,
does not have to purchase it multiple times in but they suffer an additional 2 Difficulty Modifier
order to know multiple styles. Since the specifics to any maneuver they attempt. Normally it takes a
of a style are purely for color and roleplaying, if a character a Combat Action to draw and ready a
player wanted to know several styles, hed simply melee weapon unless he makes a successful Fast
ask the GM if that were possible. If a player wanted Draw Skill roll (see Fast Draw, page 171). Depending
to incorporate elements of another style once the on the situation, Athletics or Intimidation could
campaign had begun, hes need to inform the GM potentially be Complementary Skills to Melee
of his intention. It would be up to a GM to decide Combat.
how long that process would take, what styles could A Fumbled Melee Combat Skill Roll can mean
be learned or combined, or even how many styles that a character has either dropped or possibly
a character could know. It is important to note, even broken his melee weapon. The specifics of
however, that in the basic SHARD System there is no the Fumble should naturally be appropriate to
supreme martial style. All styles are created equal. the weapon being used and to the severity of the

Basic Compendium
171
Chapter III: Character Creation
Fumble. characters to their destinations quicker, safer, and
Melee Combat Cost: 5 Character Points for the more efficiently. Common navigation tools include
initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional devices similar to backstaves, reflecting quadrants,
level of Melee Combat. and sextants. The three Specializations for this
Skill are: Aerial Navigation, Land Navigations, and
Missile Combat (Dexterity) Nautical Navigation.
Missile Combat allows a character to use small A character generally makes a Navigation Skill
BOOK ONE

non-gunpowder missile weapons that require Roll at the beginning of a journey to plot his initial
devices to launch their projectiles. Examples of course. GMs can apply modifiers to the characters
these sorts of missile weapons would be bows, Navigation Action Dice based on the instruments or
crossbow, slings, atlatls, and blowguns. Due to the maps available (or lack thereof), weather conditions
reload times required by Vaylah weapons, bows are (clear as opposed to cloudy), landmarks (familiar as
still commonly used on the battlefield. A trained opposed to unfamiliar), etc. The character would
archer can often shoot ten or more arrows in the not normally need to make another Navigation
time it takes a trained rifleman to reload his Vaylah Roll unless there was some sort of problem along
weapon and fire once. With such disparate rates of the way (such as encountering a storm, wandering
fire, it becomes clear that bows are in no danger of through mines, crossing an unforeseen marsh,
being replaced by firearms any time soon. etc.). A character that had both Navigation and the
Direction Sense Talent could never truly be lost.
A character uses his Action Dice in Missile
Combat just as he would any Combat Skill to It is important to note that Navigation only
determine successes and the level of damage allows characters to plot and chart courses; it does
inflicted by the weapon (see the Combat chapter for not allow them to actually steer any vessels, drive
a detailed description of combat). Similar to other vehicles, or ride any beasts. A character would
ranged Combat Skills, Missile Combat does not require the Driving and Riding Skills to perform
give the character any Defense Rolls; it is strictly those feats. Complementary Skills to Navigation
a Skill designed to attack. Only the Evade and would include Survival and Knowledge Skills of
Martial Arts Skills can be used to defend against geography, maps, or region lore.
Missile Combat attacks. Failing a Navigation Skill Roll means that
Normally it takes a character a Combat Action the character is having problems pinpointing his
to draw and ready, or reload a missile weapon unless location or charting a course (for whatever reason).
he makes a successful Fast Draw Skill Roll, in Fumbling a Navigation Roll could mean that either
which case it is considered a Free Action.
With the Fast Draw Skill, it is possible for
an archer to fire as many arrows in a Combat
Round as he has Combat Actions. Needless
to say, this can make for some very deadly
archers.
A Fumbled Missile Combat Skill Roll
could mean a snapped bowstring or a wild
shot that potentially hits an unintended
target. The specifics of the Fumble should
naturally be appropriate to the weapon being
used and to the severity of the Fumble.
Missile Combat Cost: 5 Character
Points for the initial Skill; 3 Character
Points for every additional level of Missile
Combat.
Navigation (Wit)
This General Skill allows a character to
both ascertain his current location at any
given time, and to plot a course between
two points using celestial phenomena,
landmarks, maps, or various navigational
tools. This Skill is vital for caravan
masters, pilots, helmsmen, scouts, hunters,
explorers, and guides. Navigation will get

172
the character has become lost or has potentially initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
plotted an incorrect course, which could be quite level of Observation.
a surprise for everyone involved when they finally
reach the wrong destination. Oratory (Presence)
Aerial Navigation: This Specialization is Characters with this Skill are adept at public

Chapter III: Character Creation


used to plot courses for skyships and aerial vessels speaking. Regardless of whether its a prepared speech
of all kinds. It can also used by winged Zoics or or a spontaneous delivery of rhetoric, or whether the
characters on flying mounts to navigate their way audience is composed of a single person or thousands,
across terrain from the air. a character uses Oratory to keep his audience listening
Land Navigation: This Specialization allows intently and to sway them to his point of view.
a character to navigate his way across any expanse Military officers and governmental officials tend to
of land whether traveling in a vehicle, on a riding be effective orators, and indeed this Skill is crucial for
beast, or on foot. any character with aspirations of leadership. Oratory,
however, can also be used to instruct and entertain,
Nautical Navigation: This Specialization so scholars and teachers would also benefit from this
allows a character to chart a course for any water Skill.
vessel, whether travelling down a river, across a
lake, or out in the oceans and seas. GMs can apply modifiers to a characters Oratory
Action Dice depending on an audiences interest and
Navigation Cost: 3 Character Points for the hostility level. This Skill is useful for both whipping a
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional crowd into a frenzy or for calming a riotous mob. An
level of Navigation. orator must be able to communicate effectively with
an audience, of course. Difficulty Modifiers should
Observation (Perception) be applied if a character was not completely fluent in
Observation grants the character the abilities of an audiences native tongue. Complementary Skills
keen observation and detection. A character with would include Acting, Diplomacy, Persuasion, as well
this Skill is particularly adept at noticing strange or as appropriate Language Skills.
unusual elements of a scene or environment that A failed Oratory Skill Roll means that a character
would otherwise seem, to the untrained eye, absolutely is unable to sway a crowd, one way or another, with
ordinary. This Skill can be used in any situation where his words. A Fumbled Oratory Roll could mean that
the GM requires a Perception Roll, and includes such an audience suddenly turns hostile and either boos
scenarios as: looking for a hidden item or person, the orator off the stage (throwing rotten vegetables as
trying to spot a camouflaged or stealthing character, available) or perhaps becomes an angry mob whose
attempting to detect a tiny detail about an object, anger is directed at the orator.
scanning a distant horizon for movement, noticing
something unusual or out of place, picking up on Oratory Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
suspicious behavior, etc. Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level of
Oratory.
This Skill is better than an ordinary Perception
Roll and should give a character more details than Performance (Varies)
ordinary Perception normally would. So whereas an
ordinary Perception Roll might reveal an assassin This General Skill allows a character to pick
sneaking across a dark courtyard, a successful a Specialization in a performance art. Drdnah
Observation Skill Roll would allow a character to is full of marvelous musicians, singers, dancers,
identify the assassins Zoic type, how the assassin was and puppeteers; its a world that takes its
armed, and if the assassin had noticed that he had entertainment very seriously. Whether a character
been detected. Some Complementary Skills might was just an incredibly talented amateur or an actual
include Concealment, Shadowing, and Tracking, as professional who made his living through his art
well as any special animal senses the character might (and who would therefore require an appropriate
possess. A character with both Observation and the Profession Skill), this Skill would give him the
Heightened Awareness Talent would make a very ability to perform before an audience.
formidable guard indeed. A character would roll his Performance Skill
Failing an Observation Roll simply means that the Action Dice whenever he wanted to entertain
character did not notice or detect anything unusual. anyone. Modifiers could be applied depending on
Fumbling an Observation Roll could mean that the a performers preparations (setting up the stage,
character focused on the wrong detail or interpreted having elaborate costumes and props, etc.), or on the
what he saw incorrectly, which could have disastrous venue he was playing (great versus bad acoustics, a
results. friendly versus a hostile audience, etc.). Knowledge
Skills of the appropriate performance art, including
Observation Cost: 3 Character Points for the styles and techniques, famous performers, etc.,

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Chapter III: Character Creation
would be Complementary Skills to
Performance. The Specializations
available are: Dancing, Dramatizing,
Fire Breathing, Fortune-Telling,
Juggling, Music, Puppetry, Singing,
Storytelling, and Sword Swallowing.
GMs should feel free to add whatever
Specializations they wish.
BOOK ONE

The Performance Skill only applies


to performance arts that dont already
have a Skill suited to their use. A circus
acrobat, for example, would require
the Acrobatics Skill to perform his
art instead of the Performance Skill.
However, he would still require a
Profession Skill if he intended to make
a living as a professional acrobat. Here
are some examples of entertainers
that would use Skills other than
Performance to practice their art:
acrobats and tumblers (Acrobatics);
contortionists (Contortion); trick
riders (Riding); suthra charmers and
beast tamers (Suthra Training); knife
throwers (Throw); prestidigitators or
stage magicians (Sleight of Hand).
Failing a Performance Skill Roll
means that the character has delivered
an unsatisfactory performance. It may Crowd favorites at festivals, fire breathers perform a
not be enough to ruin a performers career or even variety of different tricks involving fire, including fire
have a long lasting effect; after all, every performer eating, fire breathing, and fire dancing. Knowledge
has his off days. A Fumbled Performance Roll, Skills of fire craft, different fuel combinations (to
however, can have a significant negative impact on a produce different colored flames), and legends
performers career. Depending on the performance featuring fire would be good Complementary
and the circumstances surrounding it, this could Skills.
result in a decline in popularity, a loss of prestige
among fellow performers, or a significant hit to a Fortune-Telling (Presence): The ancient art
performers ability to earn money. of predicting the future through the use of cards,
dice, bones, tea leaves, or entrails. In a world where
Dancing (Agility): Dancing is not only magical seers are a recognized reality, fortune-tellers
an incredibly common and popular form of sell themselves as the seers of the common folk.
entertainment on Drdnah, it is also an important Some fortune-tellers may even possess actual magical
part of many religious rituals, so professional dancers talent, but for the most part they practice their art
can always find plenty of work. There are dozens of purely for entertainment purposes, even if their
different dance styles in the world so Knowledge clients believe the tales they spin. A variation of this
Skills of these various styles would be appropriate performance art would be mentalism (mind readers).
Complementary Skills. Mentalists are entertainers who perform tricks
Dramatizing (Presence): The highly stylized art involving clairvoyance, precognition, and telepathy.
of Drdni stage acting is a popular attraction. Stage Knowledge Skills of fortune-telling techniques, signs
actors call upon a vast repertoire of formal gestures, and omens, or even dream interpretation would be
steps, poses, and voice inflections, many of which considered Complementary Skills. Eidetic Memory
identify the type of character or role being played and Empathy would be useful Talents.
to the audience. Knowledge Skills of famous plays, Juggling (Dexterity): Juggling is a popular and
stage performance techniques, or popular myths & common form of entertainment, and Drdni
legends would be useful Complementary Skills. jugglers have taken this performance art to new
Fire Breathing (Agility): Performers of this heights. Juggling a dozen or more objects is not
popular art entertain audiences by spraying huge unusual for the finest practitioners, who also
gouts of multi-colored flame from their mouths. combine dancing, singing, and storytelling to their

174
acts. Knowledge Skills of juggling techniques, Persuasion (Wit)
folktales, popular songs, and dancing are common This Skill enables a character to sway the
Complementary Skills. Ambidexterity would be a opinions of others and convince them of the
useful Talent. validity of a certain point of view or course of
Music (Dexterity): Residents of Drdnah love action. Persuasion relies on a variety of techniques,

Chapter III: Character Creation


and revere music; it is a gift from the Devah, after all. including logic and reason (although sometimes
Musicians, therefore, are an integral part of society. spurious or twisted), emotional manipulation, and
There are Drdni versions of every imaginable flattery. Court officials, diplomats, and clergy tend
musical instrument found on Earth, but instruments to be effective persuaders. Persuasion is also a Basic
such as sitars, rebabs, sarangi, tablas, and dumbeks Starting Skill, which means everyone has it at half
are especially popular. Knowledge Skills of musical their Wit Ranking or a Ranking of 3 (whichever is
instruments, musical traditions, famous musicians, lower) at no cost.
or popular songs would be helpful Complementary GMs should apply modifiers to a characters
Skills. Virtuoso would be an incredibly useful Persuasion Action Dice based on the state and
Talent. disposition of those being convinced (a group of
Puppetry (Dexterity): Puppeteers specialize in allies would be far easier to persuade than a hostile
the creation and use of puppets of various kinds band, for example). Severe Difficulty Modifiers
to entertain their audiences. A popular form of should be applied if a character was trying to
this art is shadow puppetry, as is a form similar to persuade a target to do something that clashed with
Japanese bunraku puppetry, but dozens of varieties one of the targets Drawbacks (trying to convince
are known. Knowledge Skills of myths and legends, a warrior with a strict code of honor to dishonor
popular heroes, puppetry styles, or puppet-making himself should be next to impossible).
techniques would be helpful Complementary The higher the Success Level scored by a
Skills. persuader, the greater the level of cooperation hes
Singing (Presence): As popular and common likely to get. A Partial Success would mean that
as dancing, singing likewise is an important part the target was not entirely convinced, but would
of Drdni religion and ritual. The holiest texts be willing to continue to listen to the persuaders
even speak of song as a blessed gift from the Great arguments. Complementary Skills could include
Mother herself. There are as many singing traditions Acting, Conversation, Diplomacy, or Seduction.
on Drdnah as there are musical ones, and indeed A failed Persuasion Skill Roll indicates that
every form of music has its accompanying style of the target is not convinced and no longer wishes to
singing. Knowledge Skills of singing traditions, listen to the persuader. Subsequent Persuasion Roll
great singers, and well-known songs would be good attempts on such targets would incur significant
Complementary Skills. The Virtuoso Talent would Difficulty Modifiers. A Fumbled Persuasion Roll
also be of great benefit to a singer. could result in an angry or potentially violent
Storytelling (Presence): Storytelling is the oldest target depending on what the persuader had been
forms of entertainment in the world. Storytellers vary attempting to convince the target to do.
in their methods and techniques, some simply use the Persuasion Cost: 3 Character Points for the
hypnotic power of their voices and body language, initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
while others may use musical accompaniment, props, level of Persuasion.
or costumes. Knowledge Skills of folklore, myths and
legends, heroes, and the Devah would be excellent Profession (Varies)
Complementary Skills.
This General Skill allows a character to practice
Sword Swallowing (Will): This performance art a trade for a living. For the most part, the name of
actually encompasses a few different feats of physical the Specialization will be the same as the Profession
endurance and mind-over-matter tricks. Although Template (see Profession Templates, begining on
sword swallowing is one of the most common, this page 117) chosen by the player. In other words, if a
Specialization could also include endurance tricks player selected the Baker Template, he would need
such as walking on hot coals, piercing body parts with a corresponding Profession Skill (Baker) in order to
sharp instruments, or lying naked on sharp shards make a living as a baker; an honor guard would need
of glass. Knowledge Skills of anatomy, medicine, and a Profession Skill (Honor Guard), etc.
meditation would be Complementary Skills. The
Pain Resistance Talent would be of immense value GMs should decide what Characteristic Link to
to entertainers of this sort. give a characters Profession Skill Ranking. Wherever
possible, GMs should choose a single Characteristic
Performance Cost: 2 Character Points for the (Agility, Dexterity, Wit, etc.). However, in certain
initial Skill; 1 Character Point for every additional cases, a combination of Characteristics might be
level of Performance.

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175
Chapter III: Character Creation
more appropriate. In these cases, a GM should use by law enforcement officials that specialized in
the following formula to determine a characters criminal investigations. While not as refined as those
Profession Ranking: used by modern day detectives, Drdni criminal
Characteristic A + Characteristic B 2 (rounded investigation techniques are far more sophisticated
up) = Skills Ranking than in typical medieval settings.
The Profession Skill covers both the business side Characters roll their Research Action Dice
of a characters trade, as well as providing the ability whenever they want to gather information on a
BOOK ONE

to create goods or provide services if the character topic, arrive at an educated conclusion, or attempt
does not possess another Skill that allowed him to do to make a discovery. Some examples of Research
so. Thus, since there is no Baking Skill, a Profession Skill use would include: tracing the origin of an
Skill (Baker) would give a character Action Dice he ancient language; discovering a cure for a mysterious
could roll to see how well he had baked. The character illness; or solving a murder mystery. GMs should
would also roll his Profession Action Dice if he wanted apply modifiers based on the difficulty of the
to see how well he was doing as a baker. This might problem being solved, the obscurity or availability
determine how much cash a character had available, of the information, or the opposition to the
or what sorts of issues he might have to deal with. It information becoming known. Knowledge Skills on
could also inspire some fun and interesting story ideas. the appropriate topics would be Complementary
Knowledge Skills of the appropriate trade would be Skills to Research. Depending on the nature of the
Complementary Skills to Profession. investigation, other Skills such as Conversation,
Cryptography, Etiquette, Intrigue, or Persuasion
Some Skills, such as Alchemy, Armourer, Artistry, might also be considered Complementary.
Forgery, Gunsmith, Performance, and Weaponsmith
allow a character to create goods or provide services. In Failing a Research Roll would mean that a
these cases, the character would use that Skill instead character could not locate a piece of information,
of Profession to determine the quality of a product or that an experiment failed to produce results, or
or a performance. However, a Profession Skill would that a lead proved worthless. A Fumbled Research
still be required if the character wanted to make a Roll could mean a gathering of false information
living as an alchemist, armourer, artist, what have you. sending the character on a wild gle chase or a
Profession Skills in these cases would still be used to lab explosion injuring everybody in the room and
handle the business side of the characters trade. These destroying the lab itself.
Skills would also serve as Complementary Skills to a Research Cost: 3 Character Points for the
Profession Skill Roll. initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
Failing a Profession Skill Roll could mean a level of Research.
setback of some sort in a characters career. Its not
catastrophic, just possibly a bad week at work. Riding (Agility)
In the cases where Profession is used to produce This General Skill allows a character to ride and
goods or provide services, it most likely means an control a riding beast in challenging situations, and
unsatisfactory product or service and could result in to fight enemies while mounted. Riding also allows
a loss of a customer or money. A Fumbled Profession a character to perform trick riding maneuvers,
Roll could mean a serious setback and could result such as turning around, standing in the saddle, or
in a significant loss of business, a bad reputation, or jumping off and on the riding beast while running
possibly forced retirement unless the character could at a gallop. Difficulty modifiers should be applied
somehow reassure his patrons and the paying public to Riding Action Dice depending on the complexity
with gifts, bribes, etc. (which itself could result in a of the maneuver being attempted by the rider, or
serious hit to a characters standard of living). If all else on the condition of the riding beast (a wounded
failed, a character could always move to another city animal will be harder to control, for example).
or adopt a new identity. If a character simply wanted the ability to ride a
Profession Cost: 2 Character Points for the initial beast under ordinary circumstances, he would only
Skill; 1 Character Point for every additional level of need to pay 1 Character Point for Riding in order
Profession. to get half of his Agility Characteristic (rounded
up) as his Ranking. This level of Riding would be
Research (Wit) sufficient for most day-to-day activities (i.e. those
Research allows a character to investigate a that would not be deemed Contested Actions and
given subject or situation through a combination of would therefore not require a roll of Action Dice).
archival study, experimentation, and clue gathering. There are three Specializations for Riding:
This Skill would be useful to scholars, alchemists, Aquatic Mounts, Flying Mounts, and Land
and sorcerers involved in historical, scientific, or Mounts. Each Specialization also grants a character
magical research. It could also be used, however, a rudimentary knowledge of the common riding

176
beasts in that category, including how to care based on raw physical presence, bearing, and
for them. A character, however, would not be personality. If a character simply wanted to be
able to heal a wounded or sick beast. Treating charming and persuasive, however, he should buy
such a creature would require a Profession Skill the Skill Persuasion. Seduction is a much deeper
(veterinarian) and appropriate Knowledge Skills and emotional form of beguilement. This Skill is

Chapter III: Character Creation


(suthra physiology, diseases, etc.). most commonly practiced by courtesans, rakes, and
A character who wished to train his own riding spies.
beast (especially if he wanted the beast to perform Characters can use Seduction to gain favors
tricks) would require the appropriate Specialization from others, be it political appointments, money,
of the Suthra Training Skill. Characters wishing to titles, property, or even requests to eliminate
be more knowledgeable about the riding beasts enemies. GMs should apply modifiers to the
in their Specialization (different breeds, strengths Seduction Action Dice depending on how big of
and weaknesses, etc.) would require additional a favor the character was requesting. Requests that
Knowledge Skills. Suthra Use would be required were easy for the target to grant would get Bonus
only if a character wanted to command a riding Modifiers, whereas requests that placed the target
beast upon which he was not currently mounted. in danger or risked his position would get Difficulty
Riding would also be used as a Complementary Modifiers. Acting, Conversation, Etiquette, or
Skill to certain Profession Skills (trick rider, cavalry, Persuasion would be considered Complementary
etc.). Skills to Seduction.
Failing a Riding Skill Roll means that a character Seduction can be a long term process, and if a
could not get the riding beast to execute the character wants to continue to receive the benefits
maneuver he was attempting. It doesnt necessarily of it from a particular target it must be maintained.
result in a catastrophe, simply in a momentary loss Targets of Seduction should always feel as if they
of control. Fumbling a Riding Roll, however, does are getting something from the seducer in return
usually result in some catastrophic event (falling for their favors. A character should get Difficulty
off the riding beast, injury to the riding beasts leg, Modifiers to Seduction if he had neglected his
etc.). target or if the character refused to continue to
Aquatic Mounts: This category includes any provide companionship or sexual gratification (you
riding beast that travels in the water. A few varieties rarely get something for nothing).
of aquatic suthra resembling horseshoe crabs A failed Seduction Skill Roll usually means the
(called vasdhah) and manta rays (called khajlah) target is not terribly interested in the advances of the
are used by river and coastal folk for both transport seducer, or refuses to grant the seducers request. A
and as fishing aids. Fumbled Seduction Roll usually results in a target
Flying Mounts: This category includes any that has been insulted by a perceived indecent
flying beast used as a mount. A suthra resembling proposal, or in a seduced target who suddenly
a huge wasp (called a makdi) is the most common realizes hes being used by the seducer. Depending
type of flying mount. There are dozens of varieties on the severity of the Fumble, the target could react
of makdi throughout the world. Many armies use with scorn or violence, or could seek to punish the
makdi as aerial cavalry. seducer for their blatant manipulations.
Land Mounts: This category covers any Seduction Cost: 3 Character Points for the
terrestrial riding beast. The most common riding initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
beasts are suthra resembling insectile horses (called level of Seduction.
chinti), and the most common draft beasts are huge
suthra that resemble pill bugs (called bthn). Shadowing (Wit)
Riding Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial Shadowing gives a character the ability to follow
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level and observe someone without that individual being
of Riding. aware of it. Modifiers should be applied depending
on a variety of circumstances: the amount of cover
Seduction (Presence) or the size of crowds available to help the shadower
hide; the level of visibility (darkness or fog help
This Skill grants a character the ability to attract conceal both the target and the shadower); the
and beguile others, generally of the opposite sex, alertness level of the target; etc. Shadowing works
through the use of physical presence, flirtation, in any sort of terrain, from the busy streets of a
gifts, and promises of companionship or even major city, to a lonely mountain pass. Shadowing
sexual gratification. Seduction usually involves an is a Basic Starting Skill, which means everyone
element of physical or sexual attraction, although has it at half their Wit Ranking or a Ranking of 3
it could be interpreted as a platonic attraction (whichever is lower) at no cost.

Basic Compendium
177
Chapter III: Character Creation
A character must make a Shadowing Skill Roll depending on the circumstance could result in a
to begin shadowing his target. After that, a character great deal of trouble for the character. In the case
only needs to make additional Shadowing Rolls if of a performance, a Fumble indicates that the trick
he loses sight of the target (for whatever reason) and was an absolute failure and could give the performer
needs to locate him again. A target should be given a bad reputation.
bonuses to any Perception-based dice rolls if the Sleight of Hand Cost: 3 Character Points
shadower attempts to get too close or if the same for the initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every
shadower has been following him for a prolonged
BOOK ONE

additional level of Sleight of Hand.


period of time. If a target has no reason to suspect
hes being followed, the GM could rule that he Stealth (Agility)
only gets a chance to detect hes being followed if
he had the Talent Heightened Awareness or the Stealth allows a character to move around
Observation Skill. Stealth, Streetwise, Tracking, silently and undetected. This Skill is meant to
and Knowledge Skills of the appropriate terrain, conceal active movement. If a character wanted to
city, or area would be Complementary Skills. be able to find a hiding place and remain there for
a period of time, he should use the Concealment
A failed Shadowing Skill Roll usually indicates Skill. Stealth is of vital importance to thieves,
that a target has been lost, but it could also mean assassins, and spies, whose particular tasks usually
that the target has become suspicious or is aware require invisibility. Stealth is a Basic Starting Skill,
that hes being followed. A Fumbled Shadowing which means everyone has it at half their Agility
Roll means that the target has definitely spotted Ranking or a Ranking of 3 (whichever is lower) at
the shadower, although the shadower may not be no cost.
aware of it. The target could then prepare a nasty
surprise for his shadower at a convenient location Modifiers should be applied depending on how
(like a dark, secluded alley). much cover or darkness is available. Distractions
should give a character Bonus Modifiers, whereas
Shadowing Cost: 3 Character Points for the dead silence should give Difficulty Modifiers. Watch
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional beasts such as kellndu, who are particularly sensitive
level of Shadowing. to vibration and scent, are often kept by households to
guard against intruders. Depending on the situation,
Sleight of Hand (Dexterity) Acrobatics, Climbing, or Concealment could be
This Skill allows a character to perform feats considered Complementary Skills. The Animal Ability
that require quick and clever movements of Change Color would also greatly benefit a character,
the hands, either for purposes of deception or as would an enhanced animal sense that allowed the
entertainment. Abilities such as picking someones character to see in the darkness.
pocket, palming items (loaded dice, cards, coins, Failing a Stealth Skill Roll usually means that a
etc.), or performing stage illusion tricks would all be character has made some sort of noise or has alerted
covered under Sleight of Hand. As a general rule, if someone in some way. It doesnt necessarily mean
a character wants to do something that requires his that the character has been located. In fact, with a
hand being quicker than the eye then this is the bit of cleverness (and better dice rolls) a character
Skill he uses to pull it off. can remain unseen. Fumbling a Stealth Roll,
Modifiers should be applied to the Sleight however, means that the character has been spotted
of Hand Action Dice based on the number and and the alarm will definitely be raised (unless the
sizes of the objects being palmed, the number and character can stop it).
alertness of observers, and what distractions the Stealth Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
Sleight of Hand artist is able to create while using Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level
the Skill. Concealment, Conversation, Contortion, of Stealth.
or Knowledge Skills of stage magic and legerdemain
would be Complementary Skills. Sleight of Hand Streetwise (Presence)
can also be used as a Complementary Skill to
appropriate Profession Skills. This Skill grants a character a thorough
understanding of the underworld: its organizations,
Failing a Sleight of Hand Skill Roll means that rules of conduct, power players, etc. A character with
the character was unable to successfully palm an Streetwise knows what criminal factions control
object, pick a pocket, perform a trick, etc. It doesnt what sections of a given area, who to talk with to
mean that the effort was necessarily noticed or that get information, how to deal with these various
the trick was totally botched, however. A clever criminal figures (when to use bribes as opposed
character might be able to salvage the situation. A to threats, for example), how to locate criminal
Fumbled Sleight of Hand Roll, on the other hand, freelancers (fences, counterfeiters, assassins), and,
means that the effort was definitely noticed, and most importantly, how to do it in such a way that

178
doesnt draw undue attention to the underworld Damage of that particular wound has been healed.
(which they dont particularly like). Surgery, however, is an invasive procedure and
GMs should apply modifiers to the Streetwise very taxing on a patients body. Every non-success
Action Dice depending on a variety of factors, scored by the doctor on his Surgery Action Dice
such as the characters current standing with the while treating a wound reduces a patients Vigor

Chapter III: Character Creation


underworld and its leaders, the difficulty in locating score by 1. This Vigor can only be regained through
a particular criminal figure (a deadly assassin would magical healing or over time with proper rest (see
be harder to contact, for example, than a common the Recovery Table on page 244 for further details).
fence), the characters level of renown or influence Once Surgery has been successfully used on a
in the underworld, etc. Skills such as Bribery, particular injury, it may not be used again on that
Conversation, Intimidation, Intrigue, Persuasion, same injury by the same doctor (although Surgery
Seduction, or appropriate Knowledge Skills of could be used on other or new injuries). A different
the city or area the criminals operate in would be doctor could try to use Surgery on the same injury
considered Complementary Skills. but only if he had a higher Ranking in Surgery
Locating a particular underworld figure with than the original doctor. Even then, the new doctor
Streetwise does not guarantee his cooperation. would only be able to heal additional damage if he
The character would still need to use other Skills scored more successes than the original doctor (see
(mentioned above) to convince or coerce a criminal Dress Wound on pages 158-159 for an example of
to cooperate. The underworld is a dangerous multiple physicians working on the same wound).
place filled with dangerous individuals, so using Patients, however, would continue to lose Vigor
Streetwise is always a bit of a risk. Criminals have from the new doctors attempts. Every non-successes
long memories and are not the most forgiving people scored on the new doctors Surgery Action Dice
around. A favor forced from a vicious criminal can would continue to reduce the patients Vigor by 1.
often come back to haunt a character. Failing a Surgery Skill Roll means the doctor is
Failing a Streetwise Skill Roll means the having a hard time repairing the injury or treating
character is unable to locate the person he needs or the medical problem (due perhaps to unforeseen
get the information required. Fumbling a Streetwise complications). Fumbling a Surgery Roll could
Roll means that the character has asked too many result in additional injury or disfigurement to the
questions or upset the wrong people, which will patient, or possibly even in the patients death
likely result in the character being attacked by depending on the severity of the Fumble.
thugs in a dark alley or otherwise harmed by angry Surgery Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial
underworld figures. Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level
Streetwise Cost: 3 Character Points for the of Surgery.
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
level of Streetwise. Survival (Wit)
This Skill allows a character to survive in the
Surgery (Dexterity) wilderness. Characters with Survival can hunt
Surgery is the art of treating injuries, diseases, or and fish, construct shelters, find edible plants and
deformities through the use of various medical and drinkable water, avoid dangerous creatures and
surgical techniques. This Skill is practiced exclusively hazards (predator dens, quicksand, poisonous or
by medical professionals such as physicians and carnivorous flora), etc. This Skill applies to all of
doctors. This Skill covers such things as: properly the wilderness areas of Drdnah, be they desert,
setting broken bones; surgically removing tumors, forest, plains, or mountains. Having the Survival
diseased organs, or foreign objects (bullets, shrapnel, Skill when traveling the wilds of the world can
parasites, etc.) from a patients body; suturing deep mean the difference between a successful journey
cuts or wounds to stop internal bleeding or repair and a doomed expedition. Tracking, Trapping, or
damaged organs, etc. Wounded patients treated Knowledge Skills of the appropriate region (deserts,
by surgical techniques administered by a trained mountains, jungles, etc.), flora or fauna, or weather
doctor have a high probability of making a full lore would be considered Complementary Skills to
recovery (assuming the patient follows the recovery Survival.
advice of the doctor). Knowledge Skills of anatomy, Modifiers should be applied to Survival Action
surgical techniques, or appropriate types of injuries Dice depending on the availability of food and
would be considered Complementary Skills. shelter, proper tools, the weather conditions, and
Surgery heals Fatal Damage first followed by the harshness of the climate (a barren desert might be
Subdue Damage. Every success scored on Surgery more difficult to survive in than a temperate forest,
Action Dice heals 4 levels of Fatal Damage or 1 for example). A Survival Skill Roll should only be
level of Subdue Damage, but only after all the Fatal required if a character is caught unprepared for the

Basic Compendium
179
Chapter III: Character Creation
wilderness (i.e. has not brought supplies or tools rolled on his Suthra Training Action Dice. This would
used for outdoor survival), runs out of supplies, or allow for greater flexibility and variety in trained beasts
faces extreme environmental conditions (a blizzard, (and could be more fun for the suthra trainer). Some
drought, flood, etc.). Alternately, a character could basic suthra commands could include: attack, heel,
make a Survival Roll if he wanted to conserve food fetch, come here, stay, track, guard, find, sit, speak, go
stores or provide fresh game for himself or his inside, scout ahead, hunt, or perform a trick (dance,
traveling companions. Characters unable to find sing, do a somersault, etc.). GMs and players should
proper food or shelter in the wilderness would
BOOK ONE

feel free to come up with additional commands as


begin to suffer damage (see Deprivation Damage, needed, especially in the case of special performing
page 240, and Exposure Damage, page 243). beasts used for entertainment.
Failing a Survival Skill Roll means that the As a general rule, the commands or tricks taught
character has been unable to locate proper food, to a beast should be within the natural ability of the
water, or shelter, which could result in the character beast. Modifiers should be applied to the Suthra
having to go hungry that day or spend the night in Training Action Dice depending on a variety of factors:
the open, exposed to the elements or to dangerous how much time the trainer spends with the beast, the
predators. Fumbling a Survival Roll could mean beasts natural level of intelligence or aggressiveness,
that the character has misidentified or is unfamiliar whether the beast is wild or domesticated, whether
with a poisonous plant or a deadly hazard and falls training techniques use encouragement and rewards
victim to it. or intimidation and punishment, etc. When in doubt,
Survival Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial the GM has the final say on what a particular beast
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level can or cant do.
of Survival. Failing a Suthra Training Skill Roll means that the
trainer is having problems breaking a particular beast,
Suthra Training (Wit) or cant get the beast to learn a particular command.
This General Skill allows a character to train This usually results in more time and effort having to
beasts to perform various tasks and follow commands. be spent on that particular beast. A Fumbled Suthra
The denizens of Drdnah rely on a variety of Training Roll means that a beast simply cannot be
domesticated beasts used for riding, farming, hunting, broken or trained for whatever reason and that a new
entertainment, or as weapons and armor. This Skill beast must be found. Depending on the severity of
is used exclusively to train such beasts. Characters the Fumble, it could even result in a badly trained
wishing the ability to use mounts or trained creatures beast that would end up being a hazard to its owner
of any kind should purchase either the Riding or or handler.
Suthra Use Skills. Aides & Companions: This Specialization
Suthra Training, however, does not allow a covers any beast used for hunting, guarding, medical
character to heal a wounded or sick beast. Treating purposes, domestic purposes, or entertainment.
such a creature would require a Profession Skill Suthra in this category would include: asivam, bandar,
(veterinarian) and related Knowledge Skills (suthra billsa, dromi, gle, jugnu worms, kellndu, krtellah,
physiology, diseases, etc.). Knowledge Skills of the and marmrdi crabs.
appropriate type of suthra (breeds, habits, etc.) would Mounts: This Specialization covers any creature
be considered Complementary Skills to Suthra used as a mount or draft beast. Suthra in this category
Training. The three Specializations for this General would include: bthn, chinti, dudha, khajlah,
Skill are as follows: Aides & Companions, Mounts, makdi, and vasdhah.
and Weapons & Armor.
Weapons & Armor: This Specialization covers
A Suthra Training Skill Roll is required whenever any suthra used as living armor or weapons. Suthra
a character desires to train a beast to perform a in this category would include: balahsuthi (blowguns),
particular function (as a riding beast, hunting beast, chattabalu (hive grenades), dankanicha (sling suthra),
guard beast, weapon, etc.). The higher the Success kabjamukha (jnah-catchers), katarsuthi (punch
Level, the better the beast will be at performing the daggers), kodasuthi (whips), and suthra armor
tasks required by its function. Training times can vary (breastplates, greaves, and vambraces).
from several days to several weeks (or longer). This is
the simple way to handle this Skill and results in fairly Suthra Training Cost: 3 Character Points for the
average trained beasts, which are usually sufficient for initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
day-to-day activities. level of Suthra Training.
If a character wanted an exceptional creature, Suthra Use (Will)
one capable of feats beyond the average trained beast,
a GM could allow him to teach a beast two or three This Skill grants a character the ability to use
unique commands for every success the character the indigenous creatures of the world that have been

180
domesticated and trained to perform various tasks. to drown if he was ever submerged in water. A
Suthra are used as hunters, herders, guards, guides, character without any swimming ability would be
armor, weapons, pets, even as medical and grooming able to stay afloat for a number of Combat Rounds
tools. Any time a character desired to use one of these equal to his Vigor before beginning to drown.
specially trained beasts, he would need to make a Since the Swimming Skill is not an innate

Chapter III: Character Creation


Suthra Use Skill Roll. Commands to suthra can take talent like the Animal Ability, its not as effective.
the form of vocalizations, whistles, finger snaps, hand Every level in this Skill allows a character to travel 5
claps, even subtle gestures. feet per Round. Characters can swim for a number
Characters with Suthra Use also possess the of Combat Rounds equal to their Vigor before
knowledge necessary for the basic care and feeding needing to rest an equal number of Rounds. A
of the suthra. A wounded or sick beast, however, Swimming Skill Roll will generally be required
would require a Profession Skill (veterinarian) and when performing potentially risky or dangerous
appropriate Knowledge Skills (suthra physiology, maneuvers while swimming or when swimming in
diseases, etc.) to treat properly. This Skill does not contest against another character.
allow a character to train a suthra. Characters wishing Failing a Swimming Skill Roll means that the
to train their own suthra would need to buy the character is having trouble moving through the
Suthra Training Skill. water or staying afloat. Fumbling a Swimming Roll
GMs should apply modifiers to a characters usually means that a character has begun to sink
Suthra Use Action Dice depending on the difficulty and will begin to take damage due to drowning (see
or complexity of the command given to the beast Deprivation Damage, Air Deprivation, page 240).
(come here is easier than fetch that scroll tube), Swimming Cost: 3 Character Points for the
the suthras current condition (a healthy beast would initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
be easier to control than a wounded one), and the level of Swimming.
activity going on around the creature (it would be
harder to get a suthra to obey a command in the Tactics (Wit)
confusion of combat, for example). Depending on
the situation, some common commands (such as Tactics grants a character a keen understanding
stay or come here) would not even require a dice of warfare and military maneuvers, including the
roll if the GM deemed it a Free Action. strengths and weaknesses of individual military
units and how to effectively use them in battle.
Trained mounts are a special case when it comes This Skill covers both overall strategies and large
to Suthra Use. Characters wishing to control riding scale military operations as well as small unit and
beasts while mounted would need to use the Riding even individual tactics. Tactics can be used by
Skill. A Suthra Use Skill Roll, however, would still be characters to make plans of attack, whether the
necessary to get the mount to obey commands issued goal be infiltrating an enemy stronghold, setting
by a rider if he was not mounted. These commands up an ambush, repelling an invasion, or executing
could include such things as: come here, get to a hit-and-run strike. Tactics can also be used as a
safety, fetch, etc. Using Suthra Use in this way Complementary Skill to Gaming, but only when
could reflect an incredibly well-trained and clever games of strategy are involved.
mount.
A Tactics Skill Roll is made whenever a
Failing a Suthra Use Skill Roll means that the character wants to plan any sort of military
suthra has failed to obey the characters command, operation. A successful roll should result in a GM
either because it didnt understand the command or giving the character tips and advice on to how to
was distracted in some way. Fumbling a Suthra Use best go about executing that plan. The higher the
Roll could result in the beast abandoning or possibly Success Level scored by the character, the more
even attacking its master depending on the severity of detailed the information the character should
the Fumble. receive. Especially high Success Levels might even
Suthra Use Cost: 5 Character Points for the result in the character correctly guessing exactly
initial Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional what the enemys strategy will be (and therefore
level of Suthra Use. being able to counter it).
In individual combat, a GM might allow a
Swimming (Agility) character with Tactics to use it as a Complementary
Similar to the Animal Ability of the same Skill to another Combat Skill for one or more
name, this Skill allows a character to swim under attacks, thereby giving the character a brief edge
or on the surface of water (or any liquid, for that over his opponent. In cases where the enemy
matter). Not all characters are assumed to know also has Tactics, the character would engage in
how to swim, and if a character does not possess a Skill-versus-Skill Roll with the highest Success
the Animal Ability or the Skill, he would begin Level getting the success bonus for the attack. Its

Basic Compendium
181
Chapter III: Character Creation
important to note that Tactics should not be used has been hit by the missile instead. The specifics
in this way for every single attack a character might of the Fumble should naturally be appropriate to
choose to make, but rather should be used to define the situation, the weapon being used, and to the
a single special attack that exploited an enemys severity of the Fumble.
weakness. Throw Cost: 5 Character Points for the initial
Failing a Tactics Skill Roll means that the Skill; 3 Character Points for every additional level
character could not figure out a successful strategy of Throw.
BOOK ONE

or perhaps that the situation is hopeless and


that the most effective strategy is a hasty retreat. Tracking (Perception)
Fumbling a Tactics Roll would most likely result in This Skill allows a character to find the trail
a faulty strategy that ended up giving the characters of any person or creature that has passed through
opponent the advantage. an area (by studying actual prints, disturbed
Tactics Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial underbrush, finding scraps of cloth, spoor, or even
Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level following scents). A tracker is able to deduce a
of Tactics. good deal of information from tracks, such as the
number of individuals that have passed through an
Throw (Dexterity) area, their weights, if they were carrying anything,
This Combat Skill allows a character to use if they were wounded or hurrying, where they had
thrown missile weapons such as spears, javelins, rested, what they had eaten, or if there had been any
bolas, shuriken, darts, hurling discs, throwing sort of struggle or conflict. In general, the higher
knives, throwing axes, etc. Throw, however, is also the Success Level scored by a character, the more
used when a character needs to throw any object information he should get from studying tracks.
with accuracy, whether its a rock, grenade, potion A character would need to make a Tracking
flask, or even another character. Throw is a Basic Skill Roll in order to pick up the trail of a target.
Starting Skill, which means everyone has it at Once he had the trail, he would only need to make
half their Dexterity Ranking or a Ranking of 3 additional rolls if the trail suddenly became difficult
(whichever is lower) at no cost. to follow (it crossed a river, a large patch of bare
A character uses his Action Dice in Throw rock, etc.). GMs should apply modifiers depending
just as he would any Combat Skill to determine on the type of terrain, the weather conditions, the
successes and the level of damage inflicted by the age of the tracks, etc. Concealment and Knowledge
weapon (see the Combat chapter for a detailed Skills of geography or the appropriate region would
description of combat). Similar to other ranged
Combat Skills, Throw does not give the character
any Defense Rolls; it is strictly a Skill designed to
attack. Only the Evade and Martial Arts Skills can
be used to defend against Throw attacks.
Normally it takes a character a Combat Action
to draw and ready a thrown missile weapon unless
he makes a successful Fast Draw Skill Roll, in which
case it is considered a Free Action. With the Fast
Draw Skill, it is possible for a character to hurl as
many missiles in a Combat Round as he has Combat
Actions. Alternately, a character can prepare several
missiles before combat begins and thus be able to
throw them without spending Combat Actions to
ready them. As a general rule, a character should
be able to ready two medium or large throwing
weapons such as javelins, spears, or throwing axes
(one in each hand), or five small throwing weapons
such as shuriken, throwing knives, or hurling discs
(four held between the fingers of one hand and the
fifth in the throwing hand). Zoics with prehensile
limbs would be able to ready additional weapons in
those limbs.
A Fumbled Throw Skill Roll not only means
that a character has missed his intended target, it
could potentially mean that an ally or bystander

182
be Complementary Skills to Tracking. Certain traps might have to be disarmed by safely triggering
Animal Abilities, such as Tracking Scent or them (i.e. while being out of the line of fire),
enhances senses, would also be Complementary. while others could possibly be avoided without
Tracking can also be used to hide trails or disturbing the trap (and therefore leaving it for
tracks. A character wishing to use Tracking in this unlucky pursuers). Some traps might even be able

Chapter III: Character Creation


manner would roll his Tracking Skill Action Dice to be reset by the character.
and inform the GM of his Success Level. Another Failing a Trapping Skill Roll means that a
tracker would have to score more successes than characters attempt to either set or disarm a trap
the character in order to be able to pick up the has failed. In the case of disarming, it does not
characters trail. Used in this way, a character can necessarily mean that the trap has been triggered,
even create a false trail in an effort to lead enemy simply that a character could not find a way to
trackers in the wrong direction (and possibly safely trigger it or bypass it. Fumbling a Trapping
toward a hazard of some sort). Roll means that the trap a character was setting has
A failed Tracking Skill Roll means that either a been triggered by the character himself, who would
character cannot pick up a trail or has lost the trail suffer its effects normally. Likewise, in the case of
(due to the age of the tracks, weather, a possible disarming a trap, a Fumble indicates that the trap
false trail, etc.). Fumbling a Tracking Roll could has been triggered and will take effect normally on
likely mean that a character has picked up on the the character.
wrong trail and may be led far away from his goal. Trapping Cost: 3 Character Points for the
Tracking Cost: 3 Character Points for the initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional
initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional level of Trapping.
level of Tracking.
Weaponsmith (Dexterity)
Trapping (Wit) This General Skill gives a character the ability
This Skill allows a character to create various to make, maintain, and repair melee and missile
kinds of devices designed to catch, harm, or kill weapons of various kinds. Weaponsmith has three
creatures or individuals. These devices can include Specializations: Bladed Weapons, Blunt Weapons,
such things as: deadfall traps, foothold traps, cage and Missile Weapons. Each Specialization grants
traps, spike traps, needle traps, explosive traps, a character working knowledge of the various
snares, pits, and nets. Based on the characters weapons in that particular category. Additional
goals, its up to the GM to decide exactly how much Knowledge Skills of cultural weapons, special
damage a particular trap does or how difficult it weapon-making materials, or famous weaponsmiths
is to escape it. Modifiers should be applied to a would be considered Complementary Skills and
characters Trapping Action Dice based on how could allow a weaponsmith to make unique and
complicated the trap is, what its designed to do, unusual weapons. Melee Combat, Missile Combat,
how much time the character has to set it up, and and Throw could also be used as Complementary
what materials he has available. Skills to the appropriate Specializations.
Traps can be as simple as a rope snare or a The Weaponsmith Skill not only allows a
pit covered by leaves, or it can be a sophisticated character to make weapons, it also allows him to
mechanical trap with multiple moving parts (like appraise the quality and durability of other weapons
the kinds found in ancient tombs or in enemy in his Specialization. A successful roll would allow
strongholds). The complexity of the trap will a weaponsmith to identify the techniques used
determine how much time it would take to create to craft a particular weapon, its area of origin, the
it. The Concealment Skill is incredibly useful if fundamentals of its operation, and any strengths or
the character wishes to make hidden traps (such weaknesses the weapon might possess.
as a poisoned spring-needle in a lock, or a pressure Weapons are made from a variety of materials.
sensitive stone slab that releases a flurry of arrows Suthra chitin is particularly common. The chitin
from the wall). Concealment and Observation is usually hardened through techniques involving
could both be used to try and detect the presence chemical baths and baking. Another common
of a trap. Depending on the type of trap being material is a special tree sap called Amber, which can
created, Lock Picking or Knowledge Skills of be thinned and poured into molds. Amber hardens to
architecture, engineering, or poisons would be the strength and resilience of a super hard Pyrex. The
considered Complementary Skills. finest weapons are made of unique Drdni crystals
Trapping can also be used to attempt to avoid that possess the strength of modern Earth ceramics,
or disarm a trap. Modifiers would be applied to a which are stronger than steel. These precious crystal
characters Action Dice depending on the location, weapons have to be grown, however, so the process
complexity, and construction of the trap. Some is both time-consuming and expensive.

Basic Compendium
183
Chapter III: Character Creation
Given that Drdnah is a world that venerates common and the cheapest. Blowguns can be made
martial skill, gifted and experienced weaponsmiths of chitin or wood, while slings are made of suthra
can gain great status in society. Master sword makers leather. Throwing knives, axes, and javelins tend
are as important in myth and legend as the heroes to be made of the same materials as their melee
for whom they crafted rare and powerful demon- equivalents, although the preference is to make
vanquishing weapons. Although not an actual these weapons lighter.
organized guild, weaponsmiths take great pride Weaponsmith Cost: 3 Character Points for the
in their trade and would certainly band together
BOOK ONE

initial Skill; 2 Character Points for every additional


to expose and punish an unscrupulous weapon level of Weaponsmith.
maker.
A failed Weaponsmith Skill Roll usually means
a weapon has failed to meet the weaponsmiths Advantages
standards of quality. Such a weapon would be Advantages are social perks that your character
far more likely to break (even a minor Fumble may possess, such as titles, political influence,
would result in a ruined weapon). A Fumbled wealth, or access to valuable contacts that can aid
Weaponsmith Roll means that the weapon is totally you in times of need. Your characters caste, which
ruined, which given the materials and time needed helps define his station and status in society, is
to create some weapons could result in a substantial also purchased as an Advantage. Some professions
financial loss for the weaponsmith. (especially those that deal with gunpowder weapons)
Bladed Weapons: This category includes axes, are dependent upon a particular caste, so make
daggers/knives, polearms, spears, swords, or any sure to buy the appropriate caste for your chosen
edged hand-to-hand weapon. Chitin weapons are profession.
relatively cheap, while the finest crystal weapons Its up to the GM to set the limits on the number
can be quite expensive. The shafts of pole weapons and types of Advantages your character may possess.
and spears tend to be made of hard woods or chitin Some Advantages would clearly not be appropriate
in order to keep them relatively light. for certain Power Levels or campaigns (a roving band
Blunt Weapons: This category covers clubs, of gypsy musicians would likely not have access to
flails, hammers, maces, staves, or any blunt hand- great wealth or political influence, for example). The
to-hand weapon. In addition to the usual materials, Advantage List table below shows the Character Point
blunt weapons are also commonly made of various cost for every Advantage. A detailed description of
types of super hard stone. The chains of flails tend each Advantage is included in this section.
to be made of either chitin or Amber. The shafts
of blunt weapons are usually made of the same Adding or Losing Advantages
material as the head of the weapon. Sometimes, Once the campaign begins, you may improve
however, the shafts are made of crystal, even when your existing Advantages or purchase additional
the heads are stone. This makes the weapon more ones with Story Points. A GM can even decide
durable and increases its striking power. to hand out Story Point rewards in the form of
Missile Weapons: This category covers Advantages. Characters have a knack for saving
blowguns, bows, darts, crossbows, hurling discs, rich and influential NPCs, and those NPCs tend to
javelins, shuriken, slings, throwing axes, or reward their saviors with titles, items, or property.
any non-gunpowder missile weapon. Bows are These rewards can take the form of Advantages. As
commonly made of various hard woods, although an alternative, a GM could decide that Advantages
some composite bows are made of sinew and horn. gained under these circumstances were simply
Shuriken and hurling discs are made of the usual story bonuses, in which case they could be given
materials, although chitin shuriken are the most in addition to regular Story Point rewards.

ADVANTAGE LIST
Advantage Cost
Assets 2-16
Contacts 1-8/+2 per level
Followers 1 per 5 points in Follower
Influence 5/level
Status 1-10

184
Not only is it possible to acquire Advantages, Assets Value
it is also possible to get rid of them. This can be
handled in a couple of ways. If you decide you no Cost Description
longer want an Advantage (for whatever reason),
or it no longer makes sense in the story for your

Chapter III: Character Creation


1 Useful some of the time (25%)
character to have a certain Advantage (e.g. you lost
a title, a contact was killed, property was seized,
3 Useful half of the time (50%)
etc.), a GM can allow you to cash it in for its
equivalent Story Point value. You could then spend
those points on other Attributes (including other 5 Useful most of the time (75%)
Advantages). However, this should only apply to
Advantages that were bought with Character or 8 Useful all of the time (100%)
Story Points, or given as a Story Point reward by the
GM. Advantages that were given as story bonuses +1 Resource has moderate value
would simply be lost. Such are the fortunes of war.
Another possible alternative would be for the +3 Resource has significant value
GM to replace the Advantage with an equivalent
one (e.g. another title may be granted, a new contact +5 Resource has great value
found, another follower secured, etc.) GMs are
encouraged to make these Advantage replacements +8 Resource has amazing value
the focus of an adventure or story arc. Not only
does this make more sense for the continuity of the
campaigns narrative, its also much more fun. As than a well-trained riding beast or even a special
a general rule, however, Character or Story Points sword. However, if the sword was a demon-killing
spent on Advantages should rarely be lost, regardless weapon and the campaign featured adventures
of what happens in the campaign (unless, that is, a where heroes fought demons all the time, then
GM just wanted to be particularly mean). the weapon would be far more valuable than the
skyship.
Advantage Descriptions Several examples of common Assets are given
in the Sample Assets table on the following page.
Assets These samples assume an average Heroic Power
Assets are resources that are available to a Level campaign with an equal mixture of combat
character. They can include such things as a special and non-combat encounters and occasional travel.
weapon, a skyship, or access to money. The cost GMs should use this table as a guideline for
of a resource depends on how often the character assigning point costs for other Assets. The best
can access it and how valuable it is in terms of the gauge for the appropriate cost of Assets, however,
campaign. Characters must purchase this Advantage will be the players themselves. As a general rule, if a
for every specific Asset they wish to have (e.g. a player feels hes not getting his points worth from
character who wanted a special weapon, a skyship, a particular Asset, then the GM may wish to review
and wealth would have to purchase the Asset the cost of the Advantage (or how often it comes
Advantage three times). The Assets Value table lists into play). The important thing is for players to
the value of Assets along with their corresponding feel that theyve invested their points wisely. Some
Character Point cost. general categories of Assets are given below.
How often an Asset is useful is quantified as Items: This Asset can include a wide variety
a percentage. The GM decides what percentage is of things: special weapons or armor, trained
appropriate for any given resource. This will depend pets or mounts, magical artifacts, a skyship (or
greatly on the Power Level and type of campaign seagoing vessel), etc. Items can be an inheritance,
the GM is running. A special weapon, for example, an heirloom, a gift from a mentor or patron, or it
would be far more useful in a combat-intensive could simply be something the character found in
campaign than in a campaign that featured mystery a previous adventure.
and intrigue, whereas a skyship would benefit a In the case of special weapons and magical
group of explorers far more than a group of honor artifacts (which are normally very rare), the GM
guards tasked with defending a lords manor. should give the item a cost based on what the item
The GM also determines the value of an Asset, is intended to do. It is not recommended that
which is again dependent on the GMs campaign. characters be allowed to have artifacts that can
Even though it was only being used some of the instantly kill an opponent, although weapons
time, a skyship would normally be far more valuable that do more damage, or bypass armor, or poison

Basic Compendium
185
Chapter III: Character Creation
Sample Assets
Cost Description

6 Suthra/Special Weapon or Armor (useful 50% of the time, significant value)

8 Magic Weapon or Armor (useful 50% of the time, great value)


BOOK ONE

9 Magical Artifact (useful 25% of the time, amazing value)

4 Trained Suthra Pet (useful 50% of the time, moderate value)

4 Trained Land Mount (useful 25% of the time, significant value)

6 Trained Flying Mount (useful 25% of the time, great value)

6 Seagoing Vessel (useful 25% of the time, great value)

9 Skyship (useful 25% of the time, amazing value)

9 Fortified Stronghold (useful 25% of the time, amazing value)

an opponent are certainly acceptable. As usual, The units of wealth are given in U.S. dollars for
the GM has the final say on what items will be purposes of easy comparison (most players have a
allowed in his campaign. general idea of how much a dollar is worth). On
Its important to keep in mind that even Drdnah, the chief unit of currency is the daln,
though an item bought as an Asset can be lost which is worth roughly $5.00. GMs are free to
or destroyed, the Character Points spent on that tweak the wealth totals, of course, but the buying
Asset are not lost. The player could either choose power of the wealth level should stay roughly
to use those points on other Attributes for his the same. Further, any character desiring a high
character, or could ask the GM to come up with level of wealth should justify it by purchasing a
a replacement Asset for the item (a new artifact, corresponding title (see Status, page 189). Only
another skyship, etc.) powerful lords and rulers should ever be allowed
to purchase income levels higher than 10 points.
Property: This Asset covers any sort of
physical property that a character can own: a Goods bought with wealth do not carry
manor or fortress, a farm, merchants shop, mine, the same protection as other Asse