A Band of Joyous Heroes (BOJH) is a game set in MAR Barker's Tékumel setting; the setting from the old TSR game: The Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT).
What sort of game you ask? Well, in the past I've called it a "Tabletop Adventure Game" or "RPG-Lite" and, as you may know, it's based upon the Two Hour Wargames family of games. They have started using the term "Immersion Game" for some of their games so I guess that is what it is.
It is definitely intended for tabletop play, definitely with miniatures, with the table representing the scenario or scene for the nights game. I should also note that Two Hour Wargames gets their name from the fact that their games are typically playable in that amount of time - so that is what BOJH is striving for. This means that if things work properly then you might be able to complete more than one scene in an evening. How cool would that be?
The term "Immersion game" comes from the fact that the rules strive to place the player in the role appropriate for the game. ie. the Squad Leader, the General, or whatever. They use mechanisms like "Reaction Tests" and "PEFs" (Possible Enemy Forces) to take away the powers of the 200 foot general. Power Gamers and Mini-Maxers need not apply. I have no idea if anyone has ever run a tournament with any 2HW rules, but I suspect they would not work too well for that purpose. Totally different mindset, IMO.
So my intent is to cast the players as Tsolyáni citizens, with all the rights and obligations that that entails. There would be no "adventurers" as such - not in the D&D sense. For one thing there aren't any traditional D&D taverns - a low status hostel probably comes the closest to that. The players are intended to be higher status, however, and Tsolyáni social mores would prevent to two social classes from mingling on such an intimate level. The peasant is very much the peasant, and his social superior is "Exalted One", if spoken to at all (not unless spoken to first!)
Another reason there are none of your typical "adventurer" types: everyone has a job. When I say everyone, I mean most people. There will always be some who don't work, and many in the high status clans don't work, as such, but where they don't work they have obligations, which has the same effect in that you don't hang about as a sword-for-hire doing odd jobs for wizards and such. Not that there are Wizards hanging about either - magic is pretty much controlled by the temples, so magic-users are priests (and shaman) who are generally employed by their temple in some role.
That isn't to say that there aren't adventures - there are. It's just that they have purpose. The goal of the game is to style the players as [potential] "Heroes of the Age"* in the employ of a Patron, or possibly Patrons. They could be acting for their clan or on behalf of their clan with another party; they could be acting in the interest of one of the Temples, or one of the political parties, one of the many secret societies or the Imperium itself. Their patron could be a wealthy or powerful individual (such as one of the Imperial Princes) or they may not even know who their true employer is.
This will necessarily effect the choice of characters a player can have. Broadly speaking, they can be from the same faction as other players, ie. the same temple or clan; from an allied faction, ie. another temple of stability; or from a reluctant ally, in a case where normally opposed factions have joined to achieve some mutual goal.
* The term "Hero of the Age" comes from the background material. Every Age has a great hero or heroes, who do fantastic deeds that become the stuff of legends; or, if they fail, become the cause of some great mythical cataclysm.
The Five Selves
The "Five Selves" represent the Tsolyáni concept of the Soul. It is divided into five parts:
The Bákte [BAHK-tay] - The Body
The physical body. When the individual dies this is the part that stays behind and eventually decays. In BOJH terms, Bákte (or Body, if you prefer) will be used for anything physical - fighting, climbing, swimming and the like.
The Chusétl [choo-SAYTL] - The Shadow Self
This is the dream-self of the character that inhabits his dreams and can interact with illusions and the astral plane. In BOJH, certain spells allow the character's Chusétl (or Shadow Self) to go forth and interact with the world. No magic can be cast by the Chusétl, and injuries suffered are suffered physically by the Bákte. If the Shadow Self is slain so is the character. Likewise, when an individual dies so does the Chusétl.
The Hlákme [HLAWK-may] - The Intellect
This is the character's conscious mind, intellect and sense of self. In BOJH terms, the Hlákme (or Intellect) stat is used for anything requiring the mind - spell casting, language use, social challenges. It might possibly get a bit grey at times, but we'll run with it for the time being. When a person dies the Hlákme becomes dormant adjacent to the body and may be re-inserted by necromancy.
The Pedhétl [pay-THAYTL] - The Psychic Reservoir, or Power
Referred to as "the Enemy", the Pedhétl represent the raw emotions possessed by an individual. Additionally, it represents the amount of other-planar power stored in the individual that may be used for casting magic. In BOJH terms it functions just as that, and is used as the basis for spell casting.
The Balétl [bah-LAYTL] - The Spirit Soul
The Balétl is the part of the individual that travels on to the after-life. The Spirit Soul can be communicated with after death through the use of magic. Spells can also be used to restore a Spirit Soul to it's body. Other spells can expel a Spirit Soul from it's body and allow another to inhabit it. If the Balétl is destroyed the individual ceases to exist - there is no after-life for them! Few things can totally destroy the Spirit Soul, fortunately. Only the Temple of Wurú possesses a spell that will destroy the Balétl. Called the Tathyánikh [tath-YAN-eek], or the Grey Hand, the spell makes high ranking sorcerers from the temple justifiably feared.
Character Creation in A Band of Joyous HeroesCharacters in A Band of Joyous Heroes are defined by a series of ratings or stats, which reflect the Five Selves that make up the Tsolyáni concept of the Soul. They will also be defined by their Temper, which is a measure of the character's courage or martial disposition; good and bad traits, known as Talents and Flaws; and a characteristic known as Noble Action. Other information is important as well: name, gender, lineage and clan, rank and status are all important bits of information that must be determined.
To start with the basic stats, the first step is to determine a concept about what your character is to be like. A sorcerer or warrior, are important choices right off the top - or scholar or whatever.
In the final version, we might even start by determining clan and status, but for now we are just looking at stats.
To determine the characters basic stats, roll 5D6 and assign one die result to each stat as you prefer. For example:
To create my wanna-be Warrior-Priest of Chegárra I roll 5D6, getting rolls of: 2,4,6,5,4
I then apply these rolls against The Five Selves:
Bákte [BAHK-tay] - Body = 6
Chusétl [choo-SAYTL] - Shadow Self = 4
Hlákme [HLAWK-may] - Intellect = 4
Pedhétl [pay-THAYTL] - Power = 2
Balétl [bah-LAYTL] - Spirit Soul = 5
Each stat will start with a value of between 3 and 5.
Any roll of '6' counts as a result of '5' and additionally, provides for +1 Talent to be selected later in the character creation process.
Each roll of '1' or '2' must be re-rolled. First, each provides a bonus of +1 Talents. Apply the results of the second roll. If the roll again comes up with a '1' or a '2' then the stat is assigned a value of '4'. In addition, a second roll of '1' or '2' indicates that the character has +1 Flaws.
In this example, I rolled a '6' which I assigned to Bákte(Body) as I think that is probably the most important stat for a Warrior Priest. This becomes a '5' and gains my character +1 Talents.
I also rolled a '2' which I must re-roll. I rolled another '5' which becomes my Pedhétl(Power) rating. My character also gains an additional +1 Talents.
The final result is:
Sample Warrior Priest
Chusétl(Shadow Self) 4
Balétl(Spirit Soul) 5
Talents/Flaws: +2 bonus Talents, no additional Flaws.
The last step is a bonus that applies only to Sorcerer characters:
Roll 2D6. Any roll of 1-5 gains +1 Pedhétl(Power) yielding a possible +2 bonus.
This is because sorcerers are only chosen from those with the best magical potential. Note that the High Pedhétl talent can increase this value still further.
Pedhétl is the only one of the Five Selves that cannot increase in value after the character creation process is finished. All the others can be increased as the character moves along the path to becoming a Hero of the Age.
Bákte [BAHK-tay] - the BodyIn a Band of Joyous Heroes, Bákte [BAHK-tay] - or the Body, is the character stat used to describe the character's physical abilities. It is used in opposed physical challenges such as strength or agility test, and will modify unopposed challenges. It is also the primary stat used for melee combat, where is provides a character's base melee dice.
That is, Bákte 5 = 5 base dice.
In opposed challenges both sides roll dice looking for "successes". A successful roll is a roll of 1-3, with a roll of 4-6 indicating failure. This is par for the course for those familiar with THW rules sets.
If both sides rolled one or more successes they discard the failed dice and re-roll the rest, again looking for successes. In melee, this constitutes a melee round - some Talents allow one to modify the dice based upon melee rounds so this is important to understand. (Perhaps I should call it a "challenge round" as some Talents may modify other challenges. Hmm...)
This continues until one or both sides has zero successes. In general, zero successes for both means the opponents are evenly matched. This marks the end of the challenge for the turn. If only one side has zero successes then this means their opponent has landed a solid blow or gained an advantage. How many successes one has left when the other runs out determines the level of success.
In melee the results are typically: OD (Obviously Dead) or OOF (Out of the Fight), and occasionally ADV (Advantage). The latter gives the victor bonus dice next melee round and usually some other effect like knocking the opponent down or disarming them. OOF means the loser is down and out. He will need to recover before he can fight again, either after the action or by being healed. The nature of the injury is not defined and is as much determined by his recovery roll. OD means that there is a lot of blood and he is dead. Obviously Dead! In the case of Heroes this may not turn out to be the case after all is said and done (but he sure looked a goner at the time!) For ordinary Grunts, however, it is "game over man!" ;-)
Chusétl [choo-SAYTL] - the Shadow Self
As stated before, the Chusétl is the dream-self of the character. The character can enter this state through his own dreams and nightmares; through a spell such as Etherealisation; a drug-induced trance or the predations of some creature such as Succubi/Incubi or the Demon Pa'íya [paw ~ EE-yaw]. In all cases the astral projection of the character is represented by his Shadow Self and all interactions while in that state use this Character Stat. No magic can be cast by the Chusétl, and injuries suffered are suffered physically by the Bákte. If the Shadow Self is slain so is the character. Likewise, when an individual dies so does the Chusétl.
In game terms, Shadow Self dice are used just like any other Character Stat, with the restrictions and consequences outlined above. It is used for all challenges undertaken while in the astral state, regardless of the stat normally used for resolving them. As spell casting is not possible, Pedhétl is unlikely to be used, though it could still be drained by negative encounters with certain creatures.
Hlákme [HLAWK-may] – the Intellect
I’ve been having a “re-think” about the Intellect. From the source descriptions, this is the character's conscious mind, intellect and sense of self. My impression had been that it didn’t include one’s knowledge and memories, which were – I thought – part of the Balétl (or Spirit Soul.) This interpretation leads to problems with certain spells, however, particularly those that cause another Soul to inhabit a body and also Necromantic spells that re-bind the Hlákme to a slain body. The problem has to do with how does one cast spells in that state, or what knowledge does one have. I began to question where the memories and knowledge lay.
Then I realized that I wasn’t looking at it from a Tsolyáni point-of-view. I was trying to be too much of a “God Learner”, to borrow a term from Gloranthan gaming. Basically, I wanted to know too much, rather than be content with “this is the way it is.”
What happened was I realized that the Shadow Self functioned with full intelligence, memories and knowledge – at least the related spell descriptions don’t suggest otherwise.
So if the Shadow Self possesses all one’s knowledge and memories, then so to does the Spirit Soul, and so could the Hlákme. So when a necromancer causes one’s Hlákme to re-inhabit a copse then that person is not returning without his former knowledge and memories. Similarly, when a Spirit Soul is placed into another body, it is not without its memories and knowledge.
Where the differences lie, is – I believe – more subtle than what I had first thought. I imagine the astral projection of a mage must feel somewhat different – detached, perhaps, because the intellect, that normally drives and motivates the individual is not immediate, unless one assumes a connection is maintained to the Hlákme via the spell.
No connection exists with the Spirit Soul after it is sent into the Unending Grey. Once one is slain, the Hlákme stays near the corpse, so the Spirit Soul, while processing one's knowledge and memories must only have a semblance of one's former personality. This is hinted at in the source material when describing how difficult spirits can be to contact, and how there are time limits on sorcerer's ability to make contact.
What does this mean?
In BOJH terms, the Hlákme (or Intellect) stat is used for anything requiring the mind - spell casting, language use, social challenges. In this it functions much as the Bákte (Body) does for physical challenges. A rating of Hlákme 4 provides 4 dice to which dice are added or subtracted for situational modifiers and Traits or Flaws. Opposed challenges involve a “roll-off”, with each side looking for successes. This would normally consist of one or more “rounds” until only one side (or neither) is left with successes. The number of successes indicates the relative level of success.
Spell casting also utilizes the Pedhétl and so is done slightly differently.
Certain spells will have effects dependant upon how they manipulate the Hlákme or Balétl.
Lastly, as mentioned, when a person dies the Hlákme becomes dormant adjacent to the body and may be re-inserted by necromancy.
The Pedhétl [pay-THAYTL] - the Psychic Reservoir, or Power
The Tsolyáni refer to the Pedhétl to as "the Enemy". It is said to represent the raw emotions possessed by an individual. Additionally, it represents the amount of other-planar power stored in the individual that may be used for casting magic. This capacity is stated to be fixed; as such, Pedhétl is the only stat that cannot [normally*] be increased after a character is generated.
In game terms it is used as the basis for casting magic, providing the base dice used to determine success or failure. It can be drained during spell casting, making subsequent spells more difficult to cast until the mage has rested. This is determined as part of the casting roll. A really bad roll can result in a spell backfire.
The basic procedure is:
Start with base dice equal to Pedhétl. Add or subtract any situational dice. The final number of dice are then rolled looking for successes in the normal fashion. (1-3 = success, 4-6 = failure)
To successfully cast a spell the mage must achieve two things:
1) attain at least one success;
2) the total of the mage's Hlákme(Intellect) stat plus the number of successes rolled must equal or exceed the spell difficulty level.
Any dice that roll a '6' are removed from the mage's psychic reservoir for the duration of the scenario.
If more '6's are rolled than successes then a backfire is said to have occurred.
By a happy coincidence, the spell difficulty level is the level of the spell in the old Gamescience "Swords & Glory" Players guide. ;-)
* allowing for the inevitable exceptions! ;-)
Balétl [bah-LAYTL] - the Spirit Soul
This is the last of the character stats. The Balétl, or Spirit Soul, is that part of the soul that continues after death, travelling as it does to the Isles of Teretané - also called the "Isles of the Excellent Dead" and the "Farther Shores of the Paradises of Teretané."
The Spirit Soul can be contacted by a Medium, however, as it makes the journey it sheds it's identity so the longer the delay after death the less chance of success there is.
Similarly there are spells that will return the Balétl to it's body - they also have time constraints after which they will be ineffective.
Still other spells will banish a Spirit Soul from one body, leaving an empty shell into which another Soul can be inserted.
The Balétl stat provides base dice that are used in these interactions: communicating with the Spirit Soul, bringing it back from it's journey, etc. The Medium uses his Balétl score to first attempt to find the Soul being sought, and then when communicating with the Soul it is used again.
Traits: Talents and FlawsTraits are used to further define the characters; they can be positive (Talents) or negative (Flaws). Some are chosen by the player, while others must be diced for. The following list in not conclusive, and is still subject to change as things are refined.
Characters start with a base of 3 Talents. To these are added any Talents earned when rolling for the Character stats. To determine a Character’s base Flaws 1D6 is rolled, with a roll of ‘6’ indicating a Flaw. Any Flaws earned while rolling for stats are added to this.
These base Talents and Flaws are selected by the player. Additional Talents may also be taken. For each additional Talent taken, an additional Flaw must be taken as well. These extra Talents and Flaws are determined part by selection and part randomly. The Flaw is selected first: if it is chosen then the Talent must be randomly rolled; if the Flaw is rolled for then the Talent may be chosen.
A Flaw that nullifies a previously determined Talent (or Talent that contradicts a previously determined Flaw) is re-rolled. Sorcerers cannot have the Low Pedhétl or Magic Dampener Flaws. Warrior types cannot have the Untrained Flaw.
To dice for a Trait, first roll a d6 to select the category of Talent or Flaw, then roll a second d6 or 2d6, as necessary to determine the attribute.
(1) COMBAT TALENTS
(1, 1-6) Ambidextrous – Character can use a weapon equally well with either hand.
(2, 1-4) Battle-Hardened – +1d6 in HTH combat.
(2, 5) Weapons Master – +2d6 in HTH combat with specific weapon type.
(2, 6) Elite Training – The character has received training from one of the elite schools scattered throughout Tsolyánu. As a result he may reroll one failed melee die once per combat turn that he is active, when using the specific weapon he was trained for.
(3, 1-4) Keen Senses – +1d6 in Surprise situations.
(3, 5-6) Streetfighter – Once per combat encounter the character may reroll all dice in a single combat round. The result of the second roll must be taken. Requires either the Black Sheep or Bad Reputation flaw.
(4, 1-6) Accurate – Will roll 2d6 instead of 1d6 when Shooting, counting the best score.
(5, 1-6) Nerves of Steel – The character is not subject to Run For Cover.
(6, 1-6) Fast Reactions – +1 when Activating. +1d6 when testing Awareness.
(2) PHYSICAL TALENTS
(1) Large Size – +1d6 in HTH combat.
(2) High Strength – +1d6 in Strength challenges and +1 to Weapon Impact.
(3) Strong Constitution – +1d6 vs poison.
(4) Agile – When the character is Fast Moving he does not suffer any Shooting penalties. +1d6 in Agility challenges. +1d6 in HTH combat unless immobilized.
(5) Fast – The character receives +1d6 when taking the Fast Move test and has a bonus of +1d6 in HTH combat.
(6) Endurance – The character rolls +1d6 to Recover after a fight.
(3) MENTAL TALENTS
(1) High Pedhétl – Roll 1d6:
1 = +3 Pedhétl;
2-3 = +2 Pedhétl;
4-6 = +1 Pedhétl.
(2) Smart – +1d6 in Intellect challenges.
(3) Good Memory – Increase spells known by 50%, rounding up.
(4) Perceptive – +1d6 when trying to Spot Hidden items or traps.
(5) Intuitive – The character may always activate, including in Surprise situations, even if not normally permitted to do so – i.e. prevented by rolling higher than his Body score. If permitted to activate normally, he may choose to go first, even if the other side won the initiative; if not normally permitted to activate, he may still do so, but does so last. +1d6 in certain Social situations.
(6) Mental Agility – Spells can be maintained for less cost.
(4) ACADEMIC TALENTS
(1) Learned – The character has amassed a wealth of knowledge, gaining +1d6 on Knowledge challenges. Knows ½ Intellect (round up) +1 languages in addition to Tsolyáni.
(2) High Rank – The character has achieved high rank, with its attending privileges and obligations.
(3) Scholar of Note – The character is an authority on a particular branch of knowledge. Once per relevant Knowledge challenge the character may reroll all dice in a single challenge round. The result of the second roll must be taken. Limited to a character from the priesthoods.
(4) Gifted – +1 on Advancement rolls.
(5) Strong Willed – +1d6 in any Test of Wills.
(6) Dilettante – Knows a little bit about many subjects. May choose to add up to 2d6 to any Knowledge challenge, counting successes as usual but with each roll of '6' on these two dice cancelling one of the successes rolled on his usual dice.
(5) SOCIAL TALENTS
(1) Born Leader – Adds 1d6 to all personal Reaction Tests. Any friendly character within 6” of him will react as the Born Leader does regardless of what their reaction would have actually been.
(2, 1-3) Astute – +1d6 in Social challenges. Character may reroll all dice in a single challenge round. The result of the second roll must be taken.
(2, 4-6) Canny – +1d6 when Bargaining or Negotiating as part of a challenge.
(3, 1-3) Attractive – Roll 1d6:
1 = +2d6 in Social challenges. May reroll a single failed die once per Social challenge. The result of the second roll must be taken;
2-3 = +2d6 in Social challenges;
4-6 = +1d6 in Social challenges.
(3, 4-6) Skilled in Seduction – The character receives a bonus of +1 to +3 d6 in certain social challenges.
(4) Social Graces – The character is a master of etiquette and so gains +1d6 in all Social and some Heritage challenges.
(5) Friends & Allies – May recruit additional friends and allies.
(6) Devout – The character gains +1d6 in any challenge test when dealing with “allied” temples and priesthoods, and +2d6 when dealing with his own temple.
(6) HERITAGE TALENTS
(1) High Born – The character is from a clan one status higher than usual for the game being played.
(2) Wealthy – The character has amassed a vast personal wealth. He will have a personal residence in the starting locale, outside of his clan’s ownership. In addition, roll 1d6 against Intellect to gain:
(1) a second, smaller residence in another city;
(2) a business concern separate from his clan;
(3) a country villa;
(4) a farming estate or trading vessel;
(5) a villa in another city, plus roll again (once);
(6) no extra properties. Any roll above Intellect counts as a roll of “6”.
(3) Well Placed – The character has contacts in one of the Four Palaces, gaining +2d6 in any Social challenge involving that Palace directly
(4) Successful – The character starts with one or more magical or special items.
(5) Respected – The character gains +1d6 when asking his clan for aid.
(6) Good Reputation – The character has a good reputation (player decides) in some locale; +1d6 in Social challenges where this may be a factor.
(1) COMBAT FLAWS
(1) Slow Reactions – Minus 1 when Activating.
(2) Faint Hearted – Will roll only 1d6 when taking the Received Fire test.
(3) Untrained – Character has no combat training. In HTH Combat or Shooting count 3 less dice than normal up to a maximum of 3. The minimum value is 2 Combat dice.
(4) Timid – Minus 1 to Body when taking the Threatened Reaction test.
(5) Unlucky – During combat each '6' rolled on his dice cancels a success rolled.
(6) Inaccurate – Counts as minus 1 Body when Shooting.
(2) PHYSICAL FLAWS
(1) Small Size – Minus 1d6 when in HTH Combat.
(2) Weak – Minus 1 to Weapon Impact in HTH Combat.
(3) Ill Health – Minus 1d6 vs poison.
(4) Clumsy – When testing to Fast Move and fails with doubles will move 1d6” then fall in place prone. May not regain feet until next active.
(5) Slow – Treats a result of pass 2d6 as pass 1d6 when taking Fast Move test.
(6) Frail – Minus 1 to Recover after a fight.
(3) MENTAL FLAWS
(1) Low Pedhétl – Roll 1d6:
1-3 = Minus 1 Pedhétl;
4-6 = Minus 2 Pedhétl;
6 = Minus 3 Pedhétl.
(2) Magic Dampener – The character cannot cast magic. Minus 1 to sorcerers casting magic within 3”.
(3) Stupid – The character has a penalty of minus 1d6 during Intellect challenges.
(4) Absent Minded – Each session - or after any significant break has occurred during a session - roll the first time the character attempts to use any small special item that he possesses. A roll of '6' means that the character has forgotten where he put it. A second roll of a d6 indicates how many turns it will take to find, with another roll of '6' meaning it has been left at home or the place the party last rested.
(5) Dull Witted – The character always activates as if he were 1 lower Body stat than actual. Rolling equal to Body does not count as an activation. In addition, the character has a penalty of minus 1d6 in certain Social and Heritage challenges.
(6) Oblivious – The character has a penalty of minus 1d6 when attempting to Locate Traps or hidden items. In addition, the character has a minus 1d6 penalty in Surprise situations and when testing Awareness.
(4) ACADEMIC FLAWS
(1) Illiterate – The character cannot read.
(2) Low Rank – The character has only achieved low rank in his occupation.
(3) Weak Willed – Minus 1d6 in any Test of Wills.
(4) Slow Learner – Minus 1d6 on Advancement rolls.
(5) Unlearned – The character has a penalty of minus 1d6 to all Knowledge challenges.
(6) Sheltered – Only knows about immediate locale. +1d6 to Knowledge challenges in locale; minus 1 without. In addition, the character has a penalty of minus 1d6 in some Social challenges.
(5) SOCIAL FLAWS
(1) Enemies – The character has one or more enemies. This flaw has a value from 1 to 3. Roll a D6 whenever an “Enemies” encounter occurs: a roll equal or under this value means that the character’s enemies take a hand in the adventure. This flaw yields talent points equal to its value.
(2) Boorish – The character is lacking in Social Graces. Roll 2d6 before any Social challenge, counting 1-3 as success and 4-6 as failure. Two successes = no effect; one or more failures = a penalty of minus 1d6 in the challenge. If the character failed with a roll of two '6's then the penalty is minus 2d6.
(3, 1-5) Ugly – Roll 1d6:
1-3 = Minus 1d6 in Social challenges;
4-6 = Minus 2d6 in Social challenges.
(3, 6) Cursed – The character has blue eyes; this amounts to a minus 2d6 penalty in all Social challenges.
(4) Greedy – The character is greedy and will always attempt to take treasure when it is found; if directed to leave the treasure alone, he will attempt to take it surreptitiously or return alone later to steal it.
(5) Proud/Haughty – The character is more proud and haughty than the typical Tsolyáni - if that can be imagined! In Social challenges involving equal social status he receives a minus 1d6 penalty; and a minus 2d6 penalty in those involving a social superior.
(6) Hedonistic – The character’s nature lends itself to hedonistic ways; minus 1d6 versus certain Social challenges.
(6) HERITAGE FLAWS
(1) Low Born – The character is from a clan one or more status levels below what is typical for the game being played.
(2) Foreigner – The character is not a Tsolyáni. He may even be one of the intelligent non-human races accepted in Tsolyánu. These are typically: Ahoggya, Pe Choi, Shen and Pachi Lei. More rarely Tinaliya, Swamp Folk, Pygmy Folk, and Hlaka may be encountered. If human, he is probably from one of the other great Empires, but may choose to be from a smaller nation or tribal group. All incur a minus 1-2 d6 penalty in certain Social challenges and may face other restrictions.
(3) In Debt – The character owes a debt of some kind to some party; this may be monetary, a favour or one’s life.
(4) Exiled – The character has been sent to present location by his clan as punishment. As such, he may not ask his clan for aid except under extreme circumstances.
(5) Black Sheep – Minus 1d6 when asking clan for aid.
(6) Bad Reputation – The character has a bad reputation (player decides) in some locale; -1d6 in Social challenges where this may be a factor.
Starting AgeIn "A Band of Joyous Heroes" a character's nominal starting age is 15. The actual age is determined in part by the stat generation process, and in part by the talents and flaws taken.
When generating the character's stats, a roll of '6' is taken to mean a "natural" - a child prodigy, someone who picks up things easily, hence the bonus talent. Rolls of '1' or '2', however, indicate that things don't go so smoothly. The character is going through the "school of hard knocks", as it were. The character gains a bonus talent but he had to earn it and, if a second '1' or '2' is rolled, then there is a cost as well, as he gains a flaw.
Each roll of '1' or '2' adds +1 or +2 years to the character's starting age, respectively.
Each roll of '6' allows the player to adjust the character's starting age up or down by 1 to 3 years after the final starting age is calculated. This is at the player's discretion and is completely optional.
Some traits require time to acquire. One does not become "battle-hardened" overnight, for example, nor does one typically amass a huge fortune in only a short time.
The following traits will modify the character's starting age by the listed amounts:
Battle-Hardened - plus 1d3+2 years;
Weapons Master - plus 2d6 years;
Elite Training - plus 1d3 years;
Learned - plus 2d6 years;
High Rank - plus 2d6 years;
Scholar of Note - plus 1d6+6 years;
Friends and Allies - plus 1d6 years;
Wealthy - plus 1d6+6 years;
Well Placed - plus 2d6+3 years;
Successful - plus 1d3 years;
Respected - plus 1d6+6 years;
Good Reputation - plus 2d3 years;
Stupid - plus 1d3 years;
Dull Witted - plus 1d6 years;
Low Rank - plus 2d6+6 years;
Enemies - plus 1d6 years;
In Debt - plus 1d6 years;
Exiled - plus 1d3 years;
Bad Reputation - plus 2d3 years.
The character's starting age is the total of 15 plus all of the above modifiers. Poor rolls or an abundance of time-consuming traits could potentially cause the character's starting age to be quite high. In some circumstances it may be so high as to render him or her infirm from old age, or make the character so old that they must surely be dead! In such cases, assume that the character lived a full but unassuming life and start over - only don't choose so many time consuming traits next time!
Noble Action, or Khomóyi [ko-MOY-ee], refers to the prime Tsolyáni principles of how to live ones life. These principles vary according to ones beliefs rather than being universal across Tsolyáni society.
Lán [LAN] = good
Bússan [BOOS-san] = bad
In game terms, Khomóyi is given a rating that is used to represent ones progress on the path toward becoming a “Hero of the Age”. The higher the value, the closer one is to achieving that goal. It is accrued through successful adventures that achieve a noble goal. It can be lost through unsuccessful adventures.
Lán and Bússan are components of Khomóyi. Lán is accumulated by performing noble actions during a scenario. Bússan points are accumulated by performing ignoble actions during a scenario. Both are awarded at the end of the scenario at the discretion of the GM.
Lán provides bonus dice, referred to as Khomóyi dice, which can be used at any time during a scenario. The player merely states he wishes to roll x number of Khomóyi dice and they are added to his roll. This can be done even if the player has already made his regular roll. Successes and failures are counted as normal except failures are just returned to the pool of Khomóyi dice unless a ‘6’ was rolled, in which case they are removed from the pool for the duration of the scenario.
The number of Khomóyi dice available is the difference between the character’s Lán and Bússan ratings. Khomóyi dice that are removed from the pool during a scenario are regained after the scenario.
Designer Notes: These ratings replace Star Power as used in previous THW rules. They do so in a way that encourages the players to play “in character”, rewarding them when they act as a Tsolyáni might, and penalizing them when they do not.