Friday, 26 June 1981

Notes for a world I never ran

Does what it says on the tin. It would have been a RQ/C&S hybrid, the latter being the source for ritualised magic. The world is a construct, a flat world inside a finite sky.

Character backgrounds, development, motives etc.

Normal characters

The potential backgrounds includle

Townsman (heartland)
Minor Noble (dispossessed)
Hunter/Trapper/Davy Crockett
Peasant (heartland)
Settler (with choice of useful craft)

Please invent suitable life histories to the sort of age range of 16< 18 < preferred age < 25 <30. Older characters will be allowed, but will have to be tailored so as not to be too overkill, younger ones will have had virtually no chance at gaining any useful skill.

The majority of characters will begin in the frontiers, the untamed temperate forests to the NE of civilisation, the heartland of which is based around open lands in the south, mainly in the basins of a number of rivers, extending as far as the southern coast of this land.

Cultural background is sort-of mediaeval in the heartlands, sort-of American early pioneers in the forests. Men are expanding into what theology (see creation myth) predicts is virgin territory, but which is lousy with trolls and such, and possibly worse, out in the nor'east, which is the easiest way to expand.

Technology is high mediaeval (standard FRP convention).

People are generally friendly, even the nobles, who have mainly a cermonial importance in this culture, with their hereditary wealth and some privilege as partial reward for the tedium of their posts.

Fighting you learn from either knockabouts & some real action against nasties around the villages, or from trained fighters, but experience in combat is the easiest to come by.

Other trades are taught by craftsmen, and the Low Magic spells are taught by either Wizards or Reapers, all of whom expect a price, more usually a service than cash - cash is rather rare in this culture.

Acquiring adavanced character types:

Agent of Fortune: apply to, and convince a Shaman of your worth. Convincing can be either cash, service or treasure.
Reaper: ditto
Shaman: ditto

A Shaman is generally reclusive, communing with the spirit world in the wild places, however some few team up with Reapers as a quasi priest-hood, and such types are liable to be found in villages.

Motives of the advanced character types

Agent of Fortune: To serve the shaman who inducted you, until this is discharged. Then to harry the forces of the Dark. Perhaps the acquisition of Reaper or Shaman status will appeal.
Reaper: after initial service, many Reapers are after personal power, and such is accepted. They will tend to be motivated as are Agents of Fortune, and may indeed seek this status. Others are content for a more gentle lifestyle, taking the role of what in this world would be the village priest.
Shaman: after initial service, to gain more proficiency in the spirit world. This can be best accomplished by some adventuring to gair more Mcap (POW) They will eventually tend to settle down and pass on their skills to younger supplicants. They may take a priest-like role, but rarely, and such as do are almost invariably partnered by a Reaper,

Other comments

Reapers and Shamana take 6 months over training, in which time all DEX based skills decay to L=DEX if initially L>DEX; and T falls to DEX/6 if it had exceeded this. [skill % is level L multiplied by a training factor based on T - the first 6 T levels five multipliers 2.5;4;5;5.8;6.5;7 in a gradually decreasing return on investment].

After training they may regain this by experience only, and their time is spoken for so that they have no chance to improve T or % by practise. Non-physical skills may be acquired at the rate of 2 hours per day.

Agents of Fortune who become Reapers merely peg at their current values, as the knowledge is stored in their allied spirits.

Conversely Reapers who become Agents of Fortune have knowledge pegged in their allied spirits, and have the time gain/regain skills. For a Reaper to become an Agent of Fortune, the 90+% skills are not required, however the 5 >=90% conditin must be met before any >100% skills can be acquired.


They divide into two brackets, generally.

The quieter suits, Earth(Pentacles) and Water(Cups) may tend to a philosophical-alchemical way of life. They will tend to be reclusive combining advancement in magic with advancement in alchemy.

Such types will either be found in remote towers, or in the service of some noble who tolerates them for the benefits of their alchemica works. The more extrovert of these suits may be hermits or quiet wanderers, who may pick up with other reclusive types (e.e. shamans) as companionship, or with those who will be their apprentices.

Fire and Air (Swords and Wands), however, tend to be more active. They may be lords, of a harsher sort than is usual, having established themselves as men of temporal power in their own right, though Air are less likely to take this extreme than Fire.

Wizards will typically remain in apprenticeship until attaining level 11 (Page), during which time they will have also run errands for their masters, both to procure items, and so that they might learn of the world of normal men. Also this gets them away when they would be nuisances.

After the end of their apprenticeship they will be expected to leave, with a little cash/credit to forge a life for themselves, before at the rank of Herbit (IX) they are ready to take on the responsibility of being Master to others. By this time they will have usually have established their lifestyle, and become settled in it.

Player Wizards will start at about 8th level, after about 5 years of apprenticeshp, half given over to their own studies. After they reach l1th, their choice is free, though it should be guided by the character of the suit, and whatever it is, it will be acceptable, unless one turns to greed and evil.

If a wizard becomes "selfish", s/he must expect hir old master to come and humiliate hir, though if s/he beats hi master, this is accepted as the workings of fate, and he is seen to have established his right to the path he has chosen. Other wizards may disapprove, but will only seek to curb his excesses, or to swat hir if an easy chance comes up. There will be no general hue-and-cry.

Motivation for a Wizard is firstly to find a lifestyle that can support him and allow him at least one month in two dedicated to study and meditation in a semi-permanent base. S/He feels no hurry, the road to enlightentment is not a rushed one. There is always the world - and is this not indeed the Final Trump? Whether this is as a lord, a hired servant or a wanderer, it is immaterial.

His art demands little in the way of material goods, only his focus and his pack of Trumps.

Wizards are DEX-limited in -skill and training as are Reapers except for the following:
Swords: Gain T=3 in a sword (usually their focus type) and may reach any Level (%>100 is allowed)
Wands : Dittro with a staff
Cups : Swimming
Pentacles : Evaluate treasure
Non-weapon suits may take 2 ofher skills at T=3 and no level limit, provided they are in keeping with the character of the suit.

Creation myth

In the beginning was the void, and in the void were the fathers of men. And the fathers of men gathered substance from the void and formed the world.

To light its darkness they set up Lamps, the sun in the south, bright and golden, and the silver moon in the north. The sun they set to wax and wane, so time might be measured in days, and the moon waxing and waning a slower pace, so that men might mark one day from another.

And in the light of the first days, the fathers of men looked at the barren tands, and from out of the void brought trees and grasses, beasts of the fields and fish of the seas.

Then in the morning of the world, the fathers of men turned inwards and of their own substance made man, that he might delight in the world they had made.

General Intro

Combat is the only systemn much as before, but

  1. Armour is rated by point protected, not arbitray types
  2. Levels are gained on a % chance by succcsfully doing things; each weapon and attack and parry are rated separately,
  3. Training exists to show how well levels become %s and to gain levels
  4. All rolls are %s, and the higher die is selected by white>purple>bluea... >red> pink>black by default
  5. Rolls <= % success are good
  6. Parry will block blows that would otherwise hit

Weapon speeds in are altered as follows

  1. No STR factor
  2. 2 :=1; 3:=2; 4:=3; 6:=4; 8=:5; 9:=6; 10:=7

also altered are the following

Type Leather Chain Plate
Enc 1 2 3
Protection 2 5 8
Combat essentials

Attack Level = L(dex) + L(wis) - enc

Parry Level = L(dex) - enc

Missile Level = L(dex) - 5 * enc on arms

Defence % = (L(dex)+L(wis) - enc)*5%

Stealth Level = L(wis) + L(dex) - L(size)

Manipulation = L(wis) + L(dex) - L'(str)

Knowledge = L(wis)

Perception = L(wis)

Oratory = L(cha) + L'(wis)

where L(stat) is (stat/4)-3 round up; L'(stat) = sign(L)*(abs(L)-1)

Stats are str,dex,con,cha,wis,wpr,mcap on 3d6 with 1s read as 6s; size,build on 3d6 straight


There is a thing called Battlemagic that anyone can use. You can know any amount, have as many cost points "up-front" as your WIS and to cast them costs points off your current Mcap. Spells upfront are not expended in casting; points may be suppressed at the rate of 1 per hour, and drwn from deeper memeory at the same rate (so 2 hrs per point swapped).

Specialist magicians exist. [Systems detailed elsewhere in lost documents]

At Mcap >=15 and when they have 5 abilities at >=90% characters may go through a process to acquire an allied spirit or familiar, and become able to gain abilities to levels above 100%, and the title Agent of Fortune.

At Mcap >=18 and literacy more than 90% one may gain the rank of Reaper, and acquire a familiar and a retinue of mroe powerful spells at the cost of permanent expenditure of Mcap. These may be cast at will, and are renewed with no further cost and taking a day per point to recover.

At Mcap >= 18 and Cha >=15 the character may become a shaman, and gain more power in the spirit world, including storing Mcap there, and to be able to raise the dead

Alchemy is available for those who wish to retire from active play.


Observations from the Royal Observatory, accuracy 2 arcmin.

The sun

A circular disk to limit of accuracy, 57 arcmin across, yellowish white in colour. It stands at 12 deg 16 min over the horizon, varying about 6 arcmin over 100 miles north-south traverse. It falls from mag -27.2 to >6.5 over a 2 hour period of dusk, and rises similarly at dawn. The rise is roughly linear in perceived brightness.

The middle of the maximum brightness period happens every 24 hours. The daytime (flat brightness) length varies from 4 to 16 hours between midwinter and midsummer.

The moon

A silver-blue disk, 1 degree, 23 minutes arcoss, 18 degrees 36 minutes above the horizon, varying by 15 arcmin over the 100 mile traverse. It is 177 degrees, 21 minutes clockwise of the sun, the angle varying by 74 arcmin on a 100 mile east-west traverse.

The moon varies from mag -11.9 to >6.5 with the middle of the bright periods happening every 24 hours and 48 minutes, starting in phase with the day at the start of the year (midwinter), and coming back into synch every 30 days. Bright periods last as long as the current dark of the sun. The moon is a featureless disk, and dims uniformly over its face, save for some slight central condensation when nigh extinguished.

The stars

These are pinpoints of bright light (magnitudes between -5 and +2) dotted over the night sky, but they are not observed during the day (they are visible in twilight and moonlight). Star patterns rotate around the sky once per year, about a pole just over 11 degrees south of zenith, and 4 degrees, 46 arcmin clockwise of the sun.

The zodiac is about 45 degrees up the sky, about 5 degrees lower in the south, 10 degrees higher in the north. The month/sign is that one above the sun.

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