Improvement and Ultimate Goals
What is best in life? That's up to each character to decide individually. There are, however, certain things that most characters will strive for at one time or another.
Sword-and-sorcery heroes are typically eager to line their pockets with treasure, but mere money isn't their only motivation. Riches are there to be won by main force or cunning, then squandered just as quickly on high living.
A hero's fame will long outlast her money, and indeed will survive her. Her legend will be based on her deeds, earning her a reputation for cunning, might, ferocity, mercy - whatever attributes she displays in accomplishing her feats.
Each character has a Fame rating. Unlike other talents, Fame cannot be bought and cannot be improved with talent points. Fame must be earned by doing deeds of renown. Certain conditions must be met for Fame to be earned:
- The deed must be extraordinary or heroic.
- The deed must be performed before witnesses or leave indisputable proof of its author. You can't earn Fame for something you can't prove you did.
- The deed must be dangerous.
Characters earn 1 Fame point for:
- particularly wild or dangerous stunts
- defeating an opponent with higher General ratings
- leading the victors in a major battle
- deeds of notable savagery
- each Talent rated between 20 and 29
- each Talent rated 30 or higher
- notable displays of mercy
- outwitting a major NPC
This is not an exhaustive list; the referee may award a Fame point for any sufficiently noteworthy accomplishment.
Monsters and items may have a Fame rating. A character who participates in defeating the monster or gains possession of the item gains Fame points equal to that rating.
Characters may also lose Fame due to public failure or misbehavior. For example, a character will lose 1 Fame point for:
- acts of notable cowardice
- acts of notable stupidity
- being made a fool of
- betraying friends or followers
- leading the losers in a major battle
- being defeated by an opponent with lower General ratings
Of course, since there must be proof or witnesses for a character to lose Fame, the truly amoral frequently have more than they deserve...
At the end of each adventure, characters may gain talent points. These may be spent to improve existing Talents or acquire new ones.
Characters earn 1 talent point just for showing up. Using Talents earns additional points:
|minor use of a talent||1|
|moderate use of a talent||2|
|major use of a talent||5|
|succeeding at an action for which the character does not have the Talent||2|
Minor use of a Talent means using it only once or twice in the course of an adventure. Major use means making heavy use of it - making a two-thousand foot climb up a mountain then scaling the walls of the necromancer's tower perched atop it, for instance.
Characters may earn a hard maximum of 10 talent points at a time.
Talent points may be spent to improve existing Talents on a one-for-one basis. A new Talent may be added at a cost of 5 points. The new Talent begins with a rating of 1.
Circumstances may dictate which new Talents your character can add at any given moment. Don't expect to learn Sailing while you're still atop necromancer mountain.
Each character has a certain number of luck points that he can use to deal with the sudden changes of fortune that are wont to spring up in a sword-and-sorcery world. At character creation, the referee secretly rolls d10 for the character. This is the number of luck points he starts with. The character (and player!) do not know how many points the character has; there is quite literally no knowing when his luck will run out.
Characters can spend 1 luck point to:
- reroll a resolution check
- reduce damage by one level (e.g. from heroic to total)
They can also spend any number of luck points on an attempt at an action that could only possibly succeed by luck. Make a resolution check against the number of luck points spent; on any result other than a failure, the stunt succeeds.
Jackal and Dural Besh have escaped the merchant's mansion and are fleeing the city with the guard hot on their tails. Cornered atop the city walls, Jackal glances over the edge and spots a number of horses in a departing merchant caravan. He and Besh spend 3 luck points apiece and jump. Fortunately both roll a success and land squarely atop a mount. Wincing but still alive, they gallop away.
Characters earn additional luck points by deeds of derring-do. Referees may choose to award 1 luck point for a highly original or outrageous stunt. They may also award 1 point for good role-playing or generally contributing to everyone having a good time.
What separates the heroes from the villains in a sword-and-sorcery world is the heroes' sense of honor. They stay true to their friends, defend the weak from the strong, and will even fight to smash evil if there's a little something in it for them. Many a hero hopes for nothing more than to leave an honorable name graven in legend.