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Core Book

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Patrick “Bollywood” Sayet William Craven
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Paul Rivers Y. K. Lee
Paul Umbers Yurii “Saodhar” Furtat
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - The World of Altais 13
History 13
The Kingdoms 16
Everyday Life in Altais 71
The Realms 73

Chapter 2 - Character Creation 79


The Character Sheet 81
Backgrounds 84
Languages 105
Skills 107
Talents 116
Magic 168
Celestial Blessings 182
Equipment 186

Chapter 3 - The Cascade System 223


Tests 223
Combat 226
Vitals 231
Magic 236

Chapter 4 - Running a Game 244


Creating a Campaign 244
Additional Rules 248
Relics and Remnants 258
Locations 269
People of Altais 290

Chapter 5 - Bestiary 309


My Lord,

The world is larger than it used to be: On the fertile loam of civilisation
it grows riper each day. Within this tome you will find a collection of my
journals — the fruits of my success. May these words be as sweet in the
reading as they were coming from the pen.

I have wandered lands civilised and otherwise, from one end of Altais
to the other. I have passed through every Kingdom I could find — above
ground and below — and I have looked upon the people, learnt their
languages, and witnessed their dreams, hopes, and fears.

To the best of my ability I have recorded all that I have seen within these
pages, and it is my ardent prayer, my Lord, that you find within a true and
accurate insight into the lands and people of this world. If my opinion seems
to colour my descriptions, please consider this flavour to enliven the dish.

People remain people, no matter the climate, language, or superstitions


that motivate them to live from one day to the next, but it is through these
differences that they define themselves unique. They remain as they always
have and yet nothing stays the same; honour declines into convenience, piety
decays into tyranny, and ever since a star cracked the world no one has
trusted the Gods to lead them on the right path.

It is my hope that I have captured the nuances of the Fourth Age in my


writings, for you, my Lord, to hold. Through these words may you find the
means to spread the Fountain’s waters, and the illumination you seek for the
coming days.

Should you have any questions about what I have witnessed, you need
only ask, and I remain — as always — yours in fealty and in service,

Shehariah
Introduction
Altais: Age of Ruin is a dystopian fantasy roleplaying game be a group of bandits looking to rob the heroes or the wild
set on a world where the land has been ravaged by magic, scrivak pack hunting them across the dunes. Together all of
where once-noble Kingdoms have fallen into tyranny and these characters are called Non-Player Characters, or NPCs.
rebellion, and where the players can work to save the world
or dance in the ashes. Although the GM creates many of the hazards the play-
ers will face during the game, they are not competing. A
Humanity has fled their home to another world, built roleplaying game is not something that can be won or lost;
new civilisations and waged countless wars. Society has instead, everyone is playing to have a good time, and the
fallen and technology has been lost, but now on the dis- GM is there to help the players tell an interesting and excit-
tant world of Altais they try one last time to rebuild while ing story. It should never become a competition.
the ancient enemy, the Rephaim, claim more territory every
year. It is a desperate and dangerous time: The perfect time Gameplay involves the GM describing the scene and the
for heroes. players then choosing what their characters do in response.
This process is repeated back and forth as events in the
10
story unfold. This storytelling is accompanied by a system
What is a roleplaying game? for determining success or failure which involves rolling
ten-sided dice.
Roleplaying games are a form of collaborative storytelling;
they are games in which a group of players get together For example the GM might describe to the players that their char-
to construct a make-believe tale of adventure, guided by acters stand on a lonely road as the sun sets over the hills, it’s several
the rules presented in a book. Five people is ideal, but it days’ travel to the nearest town, and the howls of wild animals can be
can really work with any number of players. However, large heard in the distance. The players could decide to push on through the
groups will run much slower than small groups. night to reach the town sooner but risk becoming lost in the darkness,
or they could set up camp but risk being attacked by the wild animals.
One person in the group takes on the role of Game
Master, or GM: They are storytellers and facilitators re- Assuming they choose to push on, the GM asks the players to roll
sponsible for setting the scene, describing the people en- dice to see if they manage to stay on the path or get lost. They roll poor-
countered, and arbitrating the rules. The rest of the group ly and the GM describes how after several hours of travel they realise
are the players: Each one creates and controls a character, they are in the middle of nowhere. The howls are closer now and the
and together they are the stars of the story. These charac- pack of wild animals appears, their eyes shining in the night.
ters are often referred to as Player Characters, or PCs.
The players decide to rush at the animals and try to drive them
The GM, on the other hand, controls all the minor char- away. Combat takes place between the PCs and the animals, which is
acters — for example, the storm priest they meet on the resolved by rolling dice. The players roll well, and the GM describes
road, or the glass weaver selling the PCs new weapons. The how they cut down several of the animals and the rest flee howling into
GM also controls the enemies encountered, whether they the night.
Scenes like this form part of a larger game session which
usually lasts three or four hours, and the game session in
System Summary
turn often forms part of an ongoing campaign. Many role-
When the GM decides to resolve events with dice, the game
playing groups gather to continue the same campaign every
uses a common set of rules called the Cascade System.
week or two, and some campaigns can last for months or
Gameplay is then broken down into Rounds during which
even years, but ultimately the length of the game is entirely
each player will take one Turn. On their Turn, the player
up to you.
may take a number of Actions such as running, jumping,
Roleplaying games are also about roleplaying: taking on swinging a sword, and so on.
the role of your character, similar to an actor taking on the
Some Actions are resolved through further storytelling,
role of their character in a film. Players are encouraged to
while others are resolved using a set of statistics that belong
put themselves in their character’s shoes as it were, to speak
to each character. For example one character might be very
with their character’s voice as if they were that character.
strong, indicated by having a high Strength statistic,
This is often referred to as being “in character” (or IC).
while another might be very nimble, indicated
Some people put on accents and get heavily invested in
by a high Agility. There are many of these
their character’s personality, while others keep it simple and
stats and they are covered in more detail in
just narrate what they do. Ultimately it’s up to you to play
Chapter 2 (see page 79).
the way you feel comfortable. In contrast, some parts of
the game occur outside the narrative being constructed; the When there is an element of uncertainty, the game uses
rolling of dice, for example, is just a game mechanic and not dice rolls called Tests. Tests frequently use the character’s
something happening in the game world. These events are stats, and throughout this book the nature of the Test is
described as being “out of character” (or OOC). described using the following notations:
Within this book you will find the history and setting of Melee/+Agility
Altais, a backdrop for your stories that includes descrip-
tions of the world, its places and its people. You will also The stat or number before the slash (/) indicates how
find the rules for creating a character, a guide for being the many dice are rolled, while the one after indicates any oth-
GM and telling stories, and the system for determining the er bonuses that are added to the highest-rolling die to get 11
outcomes of combat and other challenges. the final result for this particular Test. Dice are always
ten-sided (d10s). The notation “1d” indicates a single die,

What do you need to play? “2d” indicates two dice, “3d” indicates three, and so on.

More information on the Cascade System can be


In addition to this book, you will need a group of players, found in Chapter 3, starting on page 223.
one of whom should choose to be the GM. Each player will
need a character sheet which can be copied from the back
of this book, or a simple sheet of blank paper can do the Theme: No Further to Fall
trick. We recommend pencils rather than pens for writing
on the character sheet — it will change often, so being able Altais is a game about a world that has descended into
to erase what was written will come in handy. chaos, a dark backdrop against which heroes shine. It’s
about the last sparks of honour fighting omnipresent
You will also need dice. Altais uses ten-sided dice which corruption. It’s a game about rebellion and adventure
can be purchased from any game shop. These dice are often in a world that desires neither. Because no matter how
referred to as d10s, and we recommend having five or six far the world falls into shadow, there will always be
on hand. You may find it convenient to have a set for each those determined to drag it back into the light.
player, but if this is not an option they can simply be passed
around the table as needed. Behind this backdrop there are other themes at
work: Altais is set in our future, where humanity has
Some GMs find it helps to create maps of the locations fled Earth, hunted across the stars to an alien world
the players will explore to give a visual sense of the envi- full of new dangers and discoveries. It’s about technol-
ronment. Others take it further, using a combat map with ogy mistaken for magic, exploring other dimensions,
a grid and placing miniature figures to represent the posi- and the damage that misunderstandings — political,
tions of the characters and their enemies. Accessories such cultural, and magical — can cause to the world.
as these are purely optional.
Personal Log: Entry 613
Commander Julia Barkley
SS Hypatia, ESA
July 27th, 2251

Today marks the fifth month of our journey through the rift. I used to stand on the observation deck and
look out at the view, marvelling at the way the violet rift seemed to twist and fold space, knowing that each
whirlpool of light, seemingly just out of reach, was the gravity well of a distant star. It was so beautiful I could
almost forget the terrible circumstances of our journey. Now, all these months later, I just can’t stand the
sight of purple.
What I wouldn’t give for a moment under a blue sky.
We had a leak two days ago. One of the lenses shifted out of alignment in the rift shield and the lower aft
was contaminated. The engineers were able to correct it quickly, but it’s hard to say how many people were
exposed. Three are showing symptoms already, blisters on their hands and face... the doctors have put them
in quarantine, but how long can we keep them in there? What do we do if it starts to spread? We’re adrift in
a pressurised tin can and God help us we’ve got rifters on board. People are scared. Someone suggested
we throw them out an airlock — I had to quash that idea quickly, there’d be riots… but I’m not actually sure
12 it’s wrong.
I’ve been thinking about what’s happening back home. Wondering if anyone is still alive. I remember being
airlifted into Kourou, the sky full of choppers carrying thousands of us to the CSG. I looked back and there
was so much smoke, just rising above the ocean, like the whole world was on fire. I heard later that Denver
had fallen, and the Rephaim had crossed into New Mexico. By the time the Hypatia and Maria were ready to
launch, they had reached Guatemala. I wonder if the ship at Houston made it out safely; the Cecilia was to
follow us. The Sofia and Tatyana were due to launch from Baikonur and head to Site B, but the news reported
that region fell an hour before we left. I hope they all made it, I hope they are behind us somewhere, but we
have no way to contact them.
Are we the last of humanity?
I’ve been rereading the reports we were given from the research station on Delta Draconis d: low levels of
radiation, abundant plant and animal life, nitrogen and oxygen within tolerable levels. They report it’s a beau-
tiful world, I just wish we were going under better circumstances. It’s going to be a tough few years — the
outpost is designed for a few dozen scientists and we’re bringing fifteen thousand refugees.
We’ll make do.
We have to.
Chapter 1
The World Of Altais
Altais
97.4 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Draco, safety and who watches over her people still. The second
a small blue-green planet named Altais orbits a star of the sister is Maria, the fallen one. She who fell from the sky and
same name. The planet is not really all that different from brought about the Fall. She is the slain Goddess, associated
Earth; it has a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, its surface is with death and endings. The third sister is Cecilia, the in-
mostly ocean, and the land is covered in an abundance of vader. The youngest sister, she who brought new people to
life flourishing in a multitude of different forms. the world, and with them war and chaos. She is the harbin-
ger of strife and the Goddess of battle. 13
There are two moons orbiting Altais: the largest is known
as Sahar and completes an orbit once every 24 days; the The land is divided between many Kingdoms. Most have
other is Yerah, a smaller moon that orbits significantly fast- fallen to ruin, and only a few strong powers remain, warring
er, completing an orbit in just 9 days. with one another. Magic can be found all across the land
and those who wield it do so by manipulating the Veil, a
The day is about 22 Earth hours long, and a year lasts for porous membrane separating our universe from five alien
287 Altaen days. Realms. In most places magic is shunned, outlawed, or con-
trolled in some way. Few trust those who wield it and fewer
The two brightest stars in the sky are called the Celestials.
still would seek to learn it.
They appear at night, close together just above the north-
ern horizon. They are named Hypatia and Cecilia, and it is

History
believed that they are ancient deities from a race called the
Erelim who brought the people to Altais. There was once a
third Celestial named Maria, but a thousand years ago it fell
from the sky and brought terrible destruction and chaos to
the land. Since then it has symbolised death and ill omen, Much of the history of Altais has been lost through wars,
and most avoid speaking its name. natural disasters, and the passage of time. There are schol-
ars who try to piece things back together, but there is much
There are temples dedicated to all three deities: The three that will always remain a mystery.
sisters who brought the first people, the Eesa, to this land
from far away and helped them make a new life for them- Historians divide the history of Altais into four Ages,
selves. Hypatia is the eldest of the three and the first to each marked by changes in culture and each surrounded
arrive. She is revered as a mother figure who brings life and by disaster.
Eventually a great hero rose amongst the Eesa, a man
named Visyr who rallied the people to him and began to re-
The First Age store order to the land. Gathering a great army, he launched
a full-scale attack, pushing the Nasar forces far to the east
The Age of Harmony and ending the war. He ordered a row of towers to be built
across the land to guard against their return, and peace set-
The first age began with the arrival of the Eesa, the first
tled upon the land.
people. The first two Celestials, Hypatia and Maria carried
them to Altais from a faraway land, and they brought with
them great power and strange magics now lost. It is said
that they came to the land fleeing an ancient enemy called
The Third Age
the Rephaim, hoping to find a new home free from their The Age of Kingdoms
attacks. No one really knows how long ago this was; tens of
millennia at least. After the chaos and war of the Second Age, the land was in
ruins. The people began working together to rebuild — at
While it is assumed that the Eesa built many cities — first small settlements and then huge cities. The magic that
and a few ruined buildings have been found — none of had allowed the Eesa to build their wonders was long lost
them still stand and no one really knows much about this but the people made do with hard work and determination.
time, the details having long been lost. Queen Meluis established the Kingdom of Aroja, and un-
der her wise guidance there was peace for a time.
Occasionally ancient remnants are found of this age,
powerful objects possessing strange magics able to reshape Other cities sprung up and grew, and in time they became
the ground and change the path of rivers. Such items are Kingdoms in their own right: Korm, Tryan, and Selucia.
not well understood and most of those that have been
found have no known purpose. For a few hundred years there was peace, but eventually
war broke out between the Kingdoms as they fought over
14 The first age ended with the arrival of the third Celestial, land and resources. The Kingdom War lasted for decades,
Cecilia, and the coming of the Nasar. the cities were destroyed, and the land split once more into
squabbling factions. Eventually, when there was nothing
left to fight over, an uneasy peace returned.
The Second Age
Over the next thousand years, new cities were built and
The Age of Discord ten new Kingdoms rose and divided the land peacefully be-
tween themselves. Not wishing to repeat the wars of the
According to legend, a third Celestial appeared in the sky
past, alliances were signed and an age of prosperity com-
one night and brought with it the Nasar: wild savages that
menced. There was open trade and dedication to the arts.
tried to take the land and magics of the Eesa by force. War
During this time magic was rediscovered and people began
broke out between the two peoples; the Eesa were power-
to dedicate themselves to its study.
ful, but the Nasar savagery knew no bounds and they did
not hesitate to destroy all that the Eesa held dear. Cities As thousands of years passed, magic spread until it was
were reduced to ruins, farms burned, and people died by taught all across the land as an essential skill. Everyone from
the thousands. the high lords through the learned scholars to the common
peasants could use it, and with magic to help them they
The Nasar War went on and on, becoming less and less
flourished. The Kingdoms continued to grow and they be-
organised as it became not about territory but simply about
gan to use magic in the construction of their cities until
struggling to survive. The armies of both sides were broken
each had become a mighty wonder. Among these wonders
and much of the knowledge of magic was lost. The battles
were counted a city made of steel, one that floated through
continued for centuries.
the air, another built under the water, and more.

People travelled from across the world to visit them.


The Fourth Age
The Age of Ruin The Kingdoms
Altais is a world just like our own. It has oceans and con-
Then came the Fall. The Celestial Maria fell from the sky tinents, rivers and forests, and most of it is unexplored. The
and hit the ground. Dust clouded the sky for months, and majority of the human population lives on the continent of
magic started to go haywire. To the west, at the site of the Orcia, and although there are shipping routes between its
Celestial’s impact, the Veil between the Realms was torn cities and some of the surrounding islands, no other conti-
asunder and the Rephaim, the ancient enemy of the Eesa, nents have been fully explored.
re-entered the world and began their invasion.
Most people are born and die within one of Altais’
Priests claimed the Fall was due to the sins and debauch- Kingdoms, all left over from before the Fall. Some of the
ery of the people, kings blamed each other, and many Kingdoms survived better than others; some are almost in-
blamed magic. tact while others have fallen to ruin completely, and at least
one is mysteriously missing…
In the chaos that followed, buried resentments bubbled
to the surface. Those who had been plotting for decades
saw an opportunity to strike. Rulers were assassinated, the
Kingdoms fell, and society was plunged once more into
ruin.

It has now been over a thousand years since the Fall.


Society has begun to mend but corruption and war are
still common. While the Kingdoms bicker amongst
themselves, scholars look to the sky in fear: the two
16 remaining Celestials seem to grow closer every year,
and the world will not survive the coming of an-
other Fall.
This is a land that knows what it is to suffer.

When the Red Knights ride by, the people keep their heads down, watching
the tired earth struggle to grow, to flourish in a wistful dream of green. Green
which they cherish with all their hopes, only to see it taken and fed to those who
value argent and iron, who never realise how rare and beautiful that green is.
And so they spend their lives, property of the Baron, working the land of the
Baron, living for the Baron, dying for the Baron, a Baron who does not care a
mark for their lives. But when those Red Knights have passed by, they lift their
eyes and watch them go and in their eyes I see a promise. A promise of blood and
justice. One day.

I was following a trail of rumours regarding the Flowers, an elusive group


with a poetic name but who seemed larger in story than in truth. This path was
leading south towards Fara, along the Ironrun, and I saw a convoy of aubex
dragging a barge of iron upriver to the city. I joined one of these groups, a mess
of soldiers and merchants. Fara was not yet in sight when I had my first taste of
what was coming for the land of Rust.

It began with a flight of arrows. Arcing high over the motley crowd, they
fell among the escorting forces — two Red Knights and their team of lancers —
setting the mounts a-startle and raising merry havoc. But of course, as with any
good ambush, the opening was all distraction. As the lancers charged off into the
prairie in pursuit of imagined foes, I glimpsed the real culprits sneaking among
the grasses and vanishing in all directions. There was another cry of dismay from
the river — the chains holding the ferry in place had been broken. As the iron
went downriver and the guards went up, their domars began squealing in that
unsettling way they do when injured, falling down and thrashing as their riders
scrambled clear. When the chaos resolved (and heartier entertainment I have not
yet found) our company had lost two lancers, six domar (poisoned by some sort of
trap), and most of the iron without the enemy even being engaged.

As the Red Knights seemed keen to find some scapegoat for their tragedy,
I thought it best to part ways that evening.
19

Ita’Ikaran
is mostly abandoned, save for scavengers and brigands who
The Kingdom of Rust take shelter within its rusting iron walls.
”I will ask you this only once, heretic: in the name of the First Ones, Magic is blamed for bringing about the Fall. Practising
who taught you this sorcery? Answer and I will spare you further it is illegal and those who do are branded heretics, hunted
torment.” and executed by the Conservators so that their evils do not
— Conservator Villis of the Conventicle, spread. It is believed that only the Eesa were pure enough
lying to a mage. to wield magic, and the Fall was punishment for the arro-
gance of a society that saw itself as their equals.
Introduction
The Kingdom of Rust is a region wracked by constant con- The people of this land call themselves the Ikari.
flict. The land is divided between the many Barons, who
rule from their ancient iron keeps and war frequently upon Terrain and Climate
each other. The peasants live in poverty, burdened by taxes The land is dry but fertile. Vast grassy plains stretch across
from their own lord and the religious inquisitions of the the whole Kingdom, split only by the occasional forest. The
Conventicle. Stories have begun to spread across the land southern border is covered in thick woods, and precisely
of the Parliament of Lies: a rebellion growing to overthrow where it ends and the Kingdom of Beasts begins is difficult
the Barons and restore the crown of old. to determine. To the east the Stormwall Mountains protect
the Kingdom from the Great Maelstrom beyond, and to
The land is named for its ancient Keeps that predate the the west the ashen land of the Rephaim slowly creeps fur-
Fall; grown magically from iron, they have long since rust- ther forward each year.
ed and turned red. Of all these structures, Ita’Ikaran is the
grandest. Once the capital city, it has now fallen to ruin and
The plants in the Kingdom tend to be low-growing hardy
plants that need very little water, and many different ani-
mals make their homes in the grasses and scrublands. Some
have been tamed by the people and are used for manual la-
bour, while others remain wild and pose a threat to farmers.

The land has two seasons: wet and dry. During the wet
season, the rains come in light showers every few hours
and the land turns green for months. During the dry sea-
son it rains only once or twice every few weeks and water
becomes scarce. The plants turn yellow, and reservoirs and
lakes begin to dry up. From time to time, a particularly bad
dry season lasts longer than most, leading to drought, failed
crops, and famine.

History
Ita’Ikaran rose to prominence after the destruction caused
by the Kingdom War during the Third Age. One of the first
of the new Kingdoms, it began as a small town of miners
whose people learnt to use magic to shape iron and steel.
This discovery led to great prosperity and soon the town
of Ikaran had grown into a mighty fortress grown from
living metal.

It became the capital of the Kingdom of Steel, ruled over


by Iava’Lorek, the Iron King. Under his rule the Kingdom
flourished. He created the Knights Imperial, a group of
knights appointed to be his personal royal guard. They were
entrusted with powerful magical artifacts called the Regalia
of Steel and were said to be both unbeatable in combat and
incorruptible.

Late in the Age, the Kingdom began one of its greatest


works: the construction of the Sentinels. These enormous
steel soldiers were woven together from magic and met-
al. Unfaltering and unstoppable, they were set to guard the
Kingdom’s borders against any sign of invasion.

Many stories tell of the adventures of the Knights


Imperial and they are viewed today as the folk heroes of
a bygone era. Some believe the Iron King ruled for thou-
sands of years, but this is of course impossible and most
scholars believe the title was passed from one ruler to the
next.

The Fall
The Fall brought chaos, as the magic of the sentinels mal-
functioned and they turned on their own people. Most
of the Knights Imperial were dispatched to deal with this
problem and to keep peace throughout the land, leaving the
Iron King with only a small contingent of guards — an op-
portunity his enemies seized. A group of usurpers moved
to take power; they assassinated the Iron King and hunted
and slew his family so there would be no heirs to challenge
them. It is unknown how the Knights Imperial who re-
mained were overcome; they may have been slain through
superior numbers, or stabbed in the dark, or perhaps they
betrayed their king in the end.
The usurpers became the first Barons, leading their sol-
diers to take fortress after fortress. The Knights Imperial
tried to stand against them but were disorganised and bro-
ken. Those that didn’t die on the battlefield were hunted lated to it is outlawed and shunned, and the Conventicle
and slain in the years that followed, and any survivors went employs inquisitors called Conservators who hunt down
into hiding. and kill those who use it.

In the great cathedral of Visyr to the North, the priests Social Classes
blamed the Fall on the Kingdom’s reliance on magic. They The Kingdom of Rust has a significant wealth gap between
split from the Barons and soon became the Conventicle, the different tiers of society.
dedicated to the worship of the Celestials and the preven-
tion of another Fall. Life within the larger cities is not so bad. Those who
can afford to live there are taxed exorbitantly but otherwise
The War of Broken Steel left in peace. For those born of noble blood (or those who
Four hundred years after the Fall, workers at Ta’Saral min- have claimed it by force), life is actually pleasant; they wear
ing the Stormwall Mountains broke through into a set of an- elaborate and brightly coloured outfits made from materials
cient tunnels that once belonged to the Kingdom of Gold. imported from faraway lands (shemeer from the Kingdom
Those who investigated found that the tunnels were long of Storms is particularly prized), eat bountifully of grains,
abandoned but led into the Kingdom of Storms. Seeing the meat, and exotic dishes from other Kingdoms, and live in
opportunity for a surprise raid, the Baron of Ta’Saral led an large estates. They travel the streets in domar-drawn car-
invading force through. These events soon escalated into riages and spend much of their time hosting parties, attend-
all-out war, with several Barons allying in an invasion of the ing performances by favoured artists, and socialising with
Kingdom of Storms that threatened to plunge the whole the rest of the gentry. The wealthy live lives of leisure and
region into chaos. For a while it looked like the Ikari might give little thought to the hardship of the peasants who work
triumph, but the people of Storms discovered a new weap- all day to provide their food.
on: a spell easily taught to every soldier that could shatter
The middle classes don’t fare nearly as well. They work
the steel armour of the Baron’s forces. This turned the tide
hard every day to barely make a profit, always seeking to
of the battle, and the Ikari were driven back and the tunnels 21
climb just a little higher in the social structure, but most
sealed behind them.
never move beyond the station they were born into. A few
achieve a degree of success and are able to expand their
Life and Culture business to encompass multiple shops; some of the wealth-
The Ikari live in a feudal system: The land is ruled by the iest even do business in multiple cities.
seven Barons of Rust, each laying claim to a region around
their keep which contains numerous small villages and The lower classes consist of the serfs; they wear simple
towns. The Barons in turn divide this land up into small- undyed clothes produced from local and coarse fabrics,
er fiefs tended by their knights who see to the wellbeing eat meagre meals of tubers called darga, and spend most
of their peasants when they aren’t looting and pillaging the of their life working the fields or mines. Their houses are
lands of rival Barons. usually simple but sturdy constructions of wood and stone,
containing only a single small room for their whole family
Most people in the Kingdom are enduring and hardwork- to live in. Each serf is owned by a knight or lord and works
ing, illiteracy is high, and most work their whole lives in the in exchange for having a place to live and enough food to
trade they were born into. The upper and middle class are feed their family. Serfs are not paid and have no opportuni-
sworn either directly or indirectly through another person ty to rise above their station.
to one of the Barons, and this oath is a matter of honour
and pride: many make their allegiance known and will offer Traditions
assistance to those who are sworn to the same Baron while Tradition and ceremony play an important part in the life of
shunning those sworn to a rival one. The peasants are not the Ikari. Important days are celebrated and their worship
asked to swear such oaths, as they belong to the knight or of the Celestials is highly ritualised. One of the earliest cer-
lord upon whose land they live and work, and are often emonies a young Ikari experiences is their oath day: When
little better than property. they reach age 12 they are taken before their local liege

In addition to loyalty to a Baron, the people are devot-


ed to worship of the Celestials and all pay respect to the
Conventicle’s priests and soldiers. Magic and anything re-
where they swear an oath of fealty to the Baron they serve. the Barons have tried cases involving the use of magic sim-
Those in very high and respected families may receive the ply to slight the Conventicle or because they have ulterior
personal attention of the Baron for this ceremony, while motives: a magic user can be a useful tool for both poli-
those in poorer families may swear their oath in groups be- tics and war, and the Barons are not so quick to discard
fore a low-ranking knight so they don’t take up too much such tools simply because of superstition. Similarly, the
of an important noble’s time. Serfs are not afforded even Conventicle has on occasion involved itself in civil cases
this honour. to upset a local lord who has slighted them or to achieve a
political objective.
Common ceremonies such as births, marriages, and

Factions
deaths are usually preceded over by local priests of the
Conventicle and involve prayers to the Celestials and the
Eesa. The third day of each week is a holy day and many Three major factions vie for power within the Kingdom
spend the day in prayer; in fact the number three is consid- of Rust.
ered sacred in general since there are (or were) three celes-
tials. The Conventicle
The Conventicle controls the northern peninsula and has
Other holidays celebrated include a day dedicated to the chapels and outposts throughout the Kingdom. Their main
local Baron (the day varies from region to region), Revife concerns are the spirituality of the people, and hunting
which celebrates the arrival of the Celestials, and Warsend down heretics who either say the wrong thing or involve
which celebrates the defeat of the Nasar. themselves in magic. Both are violations of the Celestial
Law. The Conventicle has the largest single army in the
Prayers are offered three times a day to the different ce- Kingdom, which is enough to earn them a degree of grudg-
lestials: To Hypatia in the morning to give thanks for bring- ing respect even from the Barons.
ing light to wash away the night and to ask for protection
throughout the day, Cecilia in the afternoon to request eas- At the core of their religion is the worship of the
ing of hardship and the ability to overcome challenge, and Celestials: These three Goddesses are the bringers of life.
Maria is prayed to before bed, asking for protection during They came to Altais with their servants the Eesa and shaped
the night and that the end of things be held at bay a little much of the land and the creatures now walking on its sur-
longer. face. According to their dogma, the Eesa were their angelic
22 messengers — the Conventicle rejects the notion held by
Crime and Justice other Kingdoms that modern people descend from them.
The justice system in the Kingdom of Rust is a divided one.
Technically jurisdiction falls to either the Barons or the Instead they tell a different tale: That once the Eesa had
Conventicle depending on the nature of the crime, however shaped the land to the Celestials’ plan, they breathed life
things rarely work out this simply. into the dead and these became the first people. All are
dead and revived. All are on Altais to carry out the will of
The Barons (or their representatives) oversee all civil and the Celestials before they return to death. In time all will be
criminal cases. Usually the accusation is brought before revived once more, and so on in an endless cycle until at last
someone of high rank who simply judges the case and pro- the Celestials’ work is done. The Rephaim are an affront
nounces sentence. There are no lawyers or juries; all deci- to this process: They died but did not return to the cycle,
sions rest in the hands of the presiding noble. instead they stayed on Altais and abandoned the Celestials’
divine plan. This makes them worse than even the mages.
The exception is if the crime is heretical or magical in
nature, in which case the Conventicle judges the crime. The Conventicle considers the Barons to be corrupt and
Usually a Conservator comes to do so and their system is probably heretical rulers whom they will one day overthrow,
equally as totalitarian as the Barons’ justice. but for now war would be too costly: they could defeat one
or maybe even two of the Barons, but invading would un-
Punishments range from imprisonment to maiming or doubtedly unify the squabbling Barons against them and
death depending on the seriousness of the crime. Using then they would be outnumbered. So the Conventicle waits
magic is almost always punishable by death. for the Barons to weaken themselves through infighting,
and occasionally acts to intensify these disputes to ensure
Complicating this system are the politics between the
the Barons never ally with one another.
Barons and the Conventicle. On more than one occasion
The Conventicle contains several different orders that
each dedicate themselves to the worship of the Celestials
and the eradication of heretics in their own way:
The Preceptors are the scholars of the Conventicle.
ØØ
  Celestials (and some may even be genuinely devout), most
They claim to study the mistakes of the past so that view the Conventicle with a distrusting eye.
they are not repeated, but most of their work goes into
devising new ways to fight and torture heretics. Although the Barons are the top of the food chain in
their lands, they do not rule alone. Each appoints nobles
Conservators are the keepers of the Celestial Law. They
ØØ
  to positions of power — some are granted specific respon-
lead soldiers across the land in the hunt for heresy, and sibilities such as the Minister for Trade, or the Treasurer,
the most feared amongst them are the six Crucifers who while others serve as advisers and tacticians. Together they
keep captured mages on magical leashes. form the Baron’s Parliament.
Other orders include the Chaplains who listen to
ØØ

the prayers of the people; Ascetics who tend to the The Barons also grant those of military skill knight-
Conventicle’s libraries; the Templars that form the rank hoods which often come with land and other duties. These
and file troops; and the Proctors, a secretive order that knights are gifted armour made from a magical red iron
that appears to be rusting, and so they are often called the
deals in espionage and assassination.
Red Knights or Knights of Rust.
The Barons of Rust
The Red Barons rule most of the region, imposing laws The families of the Barons and knights are considered
as they see fit and warring amongst themselves for terri- noble and are often afforded positions of honour within
tory. Those on the western border also face the threat of the Parliament, but spend most of their time attending high
invasion from the Kingdom of Ash, and as a result they society parties and festivals. Other important roles within
tend to war with one another less than the others do. The the Parliament include Magistrates who are appointed to
Barons are interested only in their own personal power, deal with day-to-day legal matters, Heralds who carry the
and although they pay various degrees of lip service to the word of the Barons to the people, and Councillors who
serve the Barons as advisers.

23
throne of Ita’Ikaran once more, the Flowers know that
they lack the power to challenge the Barons directly and
The Parliament of Lies so work slowly through espionage and misinformation. So
After the Knights Imperial were slaughtered during the Fall, subtle are they that the existence of this rebellion is a hotly
a few escaped and began calling themselves the Wardens of debated topic amongst many nobles, although not one ever
the Lost Crown. They gathered in secret and talked of re- spoken of where the Barons can hear.
storing the Iron Crown and the rule of the King, but this
first generation lacked the numbers and the power to act. No concrete evidence of them has ever been uncovered
Over time they passed their legacy on to their descend- by the Barons’ forces, and all the Barons have declared that
ants who rallied more rebels to their cause and eventually the Flowers don’t exist and speaking of them is treason.
founded the town of Steel’s Heart, deep in the Iron Wood. Yet stories of them have spread throughout the whole
These rebels have started calling themselves the Parliament Kingdom. The serfs in particular enjoy tales of adventure
of Lies, named in mockery of the Barons’ courts. and rebellion to keep their morale high.

Their symbol is a white flower called the lyse; pro- Ranks within the Flowers
nounced “lies”, it was chosen to ironically represent their
Flower: Catch-all term for all members.
ØØ

use of misinformation (or “white lies”) to fight the decep-
tion and corruption of the Barons. This has earned them Nectar: Leader.
ØØ

the colloquial name “The Flowers”, which is used by the Petal: A politician. Someone who
ØØ

common people who incorporate them into stories of dar- fights using politics and manipulation.
ing adventure and heroic rebellion. The Flowers have em-
braced this legend and work flower motifs into many of Thorn: An assassin. Someone who fights
ØØ

their traditions. They have developed a language of flowers physically.
to communicate secretly with their allies while infiltrating Leaf: Someone who performs support tasks
ØØ

the noble courts, and use flower and plant related names but doesn’t directly fight or involve them-
for the different ranks within their organisation. selves in politics. Includes scribes, craftsmen,
farmers, etc.
Although they ultimately hope to topple the rule of the
Barons, restore honour and nobility, and put a king on the Sepal: a servant or guard.
ØØ

24
Fruit: A term for a scapegoat or the bait
ØØ

in a trap.
Bud/Budding: Refers to someone who is
ØØ

Recruitment showing some potential in becoming a flower
but is not yet trusted.
For those seeking to escape a hard life, there
are two paths to take. Some choose to join the Economics and Trade
Conventicle, and the chaplains in each town The Kingdom is famous for its iron production and has
keep an eye out for those restless souls who thousands of mines producing metals and gemstones of
could be better directed towards serving the all kinds, but it also produces several other trade goods.
Celestials. The Templars in particular are always Farms grow sweetgrass which is processed to produce sug-
ready to recruit strong and able bodies, and ac- ar, carpets are also woven and traded, and the Kingdom
cept soldiers who have become dissatisfied with has had more success breeding new varieties of domar than
the Baron they serve. any other.

The riskier path is rebellion. Most people do Their rarest resource is an unusual type of iron, red in
not believe in the Parliament of Lies, but they colour, and found growing in the shape of trees only within
certainly believe in the wrath of the Barons. the Giladi Forest. Highly prized but also heavily restricted,
Even if they are willing to take the chance, it this red iron is considered the property of the Barons and
would be impossible to find a Flower in order to used to make magical armour for their knights. It is traded
join. Caught between a life of servitude or devo- only in special circumstances.
tion, these people often turn to heresy or crime.
The Kingdom has wood and food in abundance, but im-
It is no accident, then, that the Flowers’ fa- ports dyes, glass, and stone as well as wool, furs, and other
vourite recruiting ground is the cells of the con- cloths.
demned.
The Kingdom has official trade deals with the Kingdoms
of Glass and Storms which are conducted overland through
the city of Valuin. Unofficially the Conventicle has ocean The first part of the name is the honorific or title. They
trade with the Kingdom of Serpents, and it is rumoured are commonly used to indicate respect, and only dropped
that some trade may even occur with the Kingdom of Ash, amongst trusted friends or lovers. These prefixes differ for
although any such arrangements would be frowned upon people and places; for example, the Barons claim the hon-
by both the Barons and the Conventicle. Any merchants orific “Va” meaning “Lord” which indicates similar impor-
looking to make a profit in this way would have to be very tance to the one granted their city: “Ta” meaning “Great”.
careful in their dealings. For people, the honorific ends in “a” for masculine or “e”
for feminine.
The Kingdom has several currencies. Historically they
used the Iron and Steel Crown, small metal coins bearing The second part of the name indicates heritage, family,
the face of the Iron King. These were mostly defaced after or origin. In times past this was often just the name of the
the Fall but remain in circulation, although they have begun person’s mother or father, but in most families they have
to be replaced by the Glass Mark and Crescent. remained the same for many generations and have become
a form of surname. Most locations use the name of the
The Language of Rust area they are located within or the nearby city they owe alle-
giance to, but in many cases this part of the name is left out.
The Ikari speak Aroji, which is also the most widely spo-
ken language in Altais. It is the national language of both An example of a person’s name would be Va’Gari’Moran:
the Kingdoms of Rust and Ash and has become a sort of Lord Moran of the Gari family.
common tongue, spoken by one out of every three people
in other lands. The ruined capital is usually called Ita’Ikaran, although
its full name might more formally be Ita’Aroja’Ikaran, “The
Aroji is descended from an ancient language originating Most Powerful city Ikaran of Aroja” since it is built on land
in the Kingdom of Aroja which once stood where Nabon that was once part of the Kingdom of Aroja. The rise of the
stands today. Aroja was destroyed during the Third Age and Kingdom of Ash where Aroja once stood has tainted this
Nabon was built in its place, now standing as the capital of title in the minds of the Ikari however, and using it today
the Kingdom of Ash. might imply that Nabon has some influence or power over
Ita’Ikaran.
The fact that the Ikari’s language descends from their
enemies to the west is an ongoing sore point in scholarly Titles for Places
circles. 25
Ita: “Greatest” or “Most powerful”, traditionally re-
ØØ

Alphabet served for the capital city.
Aroji uses a 22 letter alphabet, containing 5 vowels and 17 Ta: “Great”. Used today to indicate the Red Keeps.
ØØ

consonants. Although the language has spread far, there are
some regional dialects but they don’t differ enough to pre- Ap: “Of no particular note”, the default title of most
ØØ

vent people understanding each other. places, often left off except in the most formal of oc-
casions.
Names and Triark Upa: “Worthless”, usually added only as an insult.
ØØ

The Kingdom has an ancient naming tradition dating back
to before the Fall: It is believed that names should have
Titles for People
three parts, just as there are (or were) three Celestials. The
first part is the title or honorific, the second indicates her- Iava: “King”, not used since the Fall.
ØØ

itage and family, and the third is the given name. The three
parts are separated by an apostrophe-like symbol called Va/Ve: “High Lord”/”High Lady”, usually used by the
ØØ

the triark. This tradition is most commonly applied to the Barons.
names of people and places, and occasionally to pets or Ra/Re: “Rising Lord/Lady”, can be used for a noble or
ØØ

inanimate objects as a sign of affection. People’s names are rising star in the court, or simply to flatter someone of
often shortened in day-to-day use and the full three-part lesser rank.
version is usually reserved for formal occasions.
Ro: “Wise”. Genderless. An archaic and rarely used title
ØØ

Notably, this tradition is not used by most oth- for scholars and priests.
er Kingdoms, even those that speak Aroji. Even in the Ba/Be: “Hard worker”, the common honorific used for
ØØ

Kingdom of Ash (which it could be argued is the birthplace most people.
of the language), the triark is used only in highly formal
Pa/Pe: “Scum”, an insult.
ØØ

circumstances.
I confess a fondness for this place.

While the desert does its best to kill me, the people are some of the most
enlightened you will find, having placed their faith in coin and blade rather than
crown and stars. The Kingdom spreads its influence across the continent through
the glass mark being accepted as currency everywhere. The land seems desolate,
but on closer inspection there is enough to support industry and sustain the trade
networks which reach from (so the saying goes) “Ash to Fiends and all lands
between”. Every child knows their numbers and what a sack of grain might sell
for in Meharavia, Amonastra, and Elal Ushria.

The guilds each have a piece of the circus, and the dance has carried on very
well since they disowned their monarch. Of course, one does wonder if the only
thing holding these people together is their forward momentum, forever pursuing
profit with little thought of the future. Could they ever pause the chase? Perhaps
cooperate for some greater cause? Would even war unite them? That is the big
26
question, and I think it would be unwise to assume “no”. On the other hand it
would take only a few sleights of hand to send this pile of coins tumbling from the
table; subtlety is, I think, the key.

The most valuable thing I found in this land is the Pattern glass woven by
the Nianu. It is as strong and supple as steel, with concerning superpositional
qualities, although not even its creators understand what it is they have made.
The Nianu shape it into all manner of tools and use it to keep their spun glass
city held together; quite the waste, really. They are the only Veilweavers granted
any respect or power as, interestingly, they also craft the coin of the Kingdom. All
other Weavers learn to bend or be broken.
27

Meharavia
The Kingdom of Glass The Kingdom lies within the heart of the world’s largest
desert, and while many resources are scarce, sand is abun-
“Relics and glass sir! Objects of antiquity! How about this vase? dant. Through a thousand years of study the people of this
Pattern glass sir, forged by the finest Nianu weavers! Or what about Kingdom have learnt to shape it in ways never before seen,
this locket, sir? It’s silver! Special silver… from the west… if you and their glass has become one of the most valuable and
catch my drift sir, oh don’t believe the superstitions sir, it’s been in my sought after trade goods, yet this is not the origin of the
family for generations and never done me no harm. Or what about this Kingdom’s name. That comes from the capital: Meharavia,
gem sir? Ancient it is, once possessed by the Eesa! See how it shines in an ancient city built from glass and protected by a powerful
the light, keeps you from ageing it does!” magical barrier that has allowed it to remain standing while
— Baniatu Ansen of the Namiaven, many other cities crumbled. It is one of the few great won-
lying to a customer. ders of the Third Age to survive the Fall.

The Kingdom was once the heart of magical learning,


Introduction and they have the only remaining schools dedicated to
The Kingdom of Glass is both the harshest region in Altais
teaching its use — and yet their attitudes towards those
and also one of the greatest trade empires to ever rise to
who wield these abilities are no more lenient than the other
power. The land is ruled by an alliance of merchants and
Kingdoms. While magic is not outlawed, it is controlled,
guilds — a recent development; they overthrew the pre-
and those who are discovered to possess a talent in this area
vious government 80 years ago and in many ways the
are shackled and become one of the Herinha, enslaved to
Kingdom is yet to fully recover. The region is torn between
use their magic only in the service of the Kingdom.
those dedicating themselves to profit, those seeking to pre-
serve the ancient lore of ages past, and the ambitions of the The people of this Kingdom call themselves the Ven
remaining loyalists who seek to overthrow the merchants which means simply “people” in the local language.
and restore their own noble bloodlines.
Terrain and Climate History
The terrain is entirely desert. Great rolling sand dunes Meharavia was once known as the Kingdom of Tides — a
stretch the length of the Kingdom, made all the more great city on the ocean’s floor, woven from glass and pro-
treacherous by the pockets of chaotic magic that twist the tected by a magical dome that held back the sea. During
land in unusual ways. The Blaze — the Realm of light and the Third Age it was known as a centre of knowledge and
heat — creates rivers of molten glass that flow out to the lore, but above all they dedicated themselves to the study
ocean, the Shifting Sands can swallow a traveller with lit- of magic and it was here that many of the greatest advance-
tle warning, and luminous energy-creatures called lucents ments in the field were discovered.
haunt the Deep Sands, feeding off the sand’s warmth and
Knowledge was their primary trade, and as their perfec-
attacking anyone foolish enough to enter their domain.
tion of magical techniques spread, so did all the Kingdoms
Small stunted plants dot the desert, from hardy grasses to come to enjoy a period of great peace and prosperity. The
enduring cacti; even here, life finds a way to thrive. Likewise Third Age is most remembered for the many wonders cre-
the animals tend to be larger and sturdier than in other re- ated during this time.
gions, able to go long periods with little water as they travel
The Kingdom was ruled at this time by a council of sev-
between the rare oases that are scattered across the land.
en mages, the Miaruven. Little is known of their rule; for
The land has almost no seasonal variation. Rain falls a long time it was believed they were benevolent knowl-
briefly once or twice a year but otherwise it remains dry all edge-seekers, but scholars have since turned up evidence
year round as lingering magic from before the Fall draws suggesting that they may have been working against one
the moisture from the air and carries it to the Kingdom another in secret.
of Storms. However roughly once every thirty years this
The glass buildings of Meharavia were constructed magi-
magic inverts and for a few months the moisture is drawn
cally throughout the Third Age as the city slowly expanded,
back the other way, causing rain that lasts for months. The
and they remain a testament to the magical knowledge of
Deluge (as it is known) causes flooding and chaos across
the time: the huge structures appear delicate and yet are
the region but leaves it briefly green, although the heat re-
stronger than steel; the glass reflects light and yet this light
turns all too quickly once it’s over.
is never so bright it blinds; it allows some light through and
28 yet the interiors of the buildings do not heat up.
The Fall
When the Fall shattered the land, the earth shook and the
oceans shifted. The waves withdrew and the sandy ocean
floor became a desert with the city in its centre. The dome
This tension came to a head eighty years ago when the
protected the city from much of the chaos of that time and
Namiaven organised a coup and the assassination of the
the ancient glass towers still stand, untouched by the Fall.
Mavia. An alliance of Ranaven took control in what has
This makes Meharavia perhaps the greatest untouched since become known as the Coup of Coins due to the in-
wonder left in the world. The dome now keeps out the heat credible number of bribes openly given to make it happen.
of the desert and shields the city from the sandstorms that The usurpers declared themselves the Menata and their al-
sweep through the area. Inside the dome the weather is liance is often referred to as “The Accord”, although some
temperate, condensation on the dome’s inner surface caus- also call them “Menaya” instead, swapping the last syllable
es occasional rainfall, and plants are cultivated to provide for “ya” to indicate corruption and evil (see the section on
food, while beyond the dome there is only a wasteland. language, page 34).

While the city remained intact, the population was not Since the Coup, the Menata have ruled without opposi-
unaffected. The city had long survived on the food sup- tion... until now. There is trouble brewing to the northeast
plied by the ocean and now the population faced starvation. in the city of Tamasia where it is said Tejin Kamade, grand-
Trade routes with the other Kingdoms had been cut off and son of the last Mavia, is rallying an army to take back his
riots began in the city. The ruling class were overthrown grandfather’s crown.
and although new forms of agriculture were soon estab-
lished, it took years for the chaos to fully subside. Life and Culture
Life in the Kingdom is strongly defined by the guilds. A
Eventually one person rose to power and declared her-
person’s Ranaven governs almost every aspect of their life:
self Mavia (Ruler). Her name was Niava Kamade and she
how they dress, their profession, how wealthy they are, the
made worship of the Celestials the national religion. She
people they associate with, even what types of food and
proclaimed herself the head of the church, claimed to be
leisure activities are considered fashionable.
descended from the Eesa, and made the title of Mavia a
matter of divine birthright so that the title could pass only Each Ranaven has its own internal hierarchy. Most have a 29
to her descendants. She established the Ranaven, the guilds guild leader or council that sets the policies and procedures
that encompassed many of the city’s professions and en- that all members are expected to follow. Several broad ti-
sured all craftsmen were working to the same high standard. tles are recognised across all guilds, including Apprentice,
Journeyman, Master, and Grandmaster; however the way
For almost a thousand years the position of Mavia was
these titles are earned and how they relate to the guild’s
passed down through the Kamade family, inherited by the
internal structure can differ widely.
oldest child. Each Mavia was advised by a council contain-
ing representatives from each of the Ranaven, who ensured Those who are too poor to afford membership in one of
that the needs of the people (or at least the middle and the guilds are known as the Hiaven, and are looked down
upper classes) were met. The last Mavia was a wise and gen- upon and shamed as almost sub-human. Most have no land
erous man named Dahia Kamade who ruled the Kingdom or job and are relegated to living in slums at the edges of
well for forty years and was well liked by all, however trou- the cities.
ble had been brewing even before he took office.
Literacy is higher in the Kingdom of Glass, but even so
The Coup of Coins the majority of the population is illiterate.
In the last few hundred years, a wealth gap had begun to
appear as society split into two distinct halves: those fam- Social Classes
ilies who could afford membership in one of the Ranaven The Menata form the highest tier of society. These six in-
became the upper and working classes, and those who dividuals rule over the Kingdom of Glass as a council with
couldn’t became the lower classes. most decisions being made based on the potential for prof-
it. Three of the council seats are filled by the Namiaven or
The Ranaven had been growing steadily in power, es-
pecially the Namiaven or merchant guilds. Through their
complete monopoly over land trade with the surrounding
Kingdoms and their growing control over ocean trade, they
had grown enormously wealthy.
Traditions
Ever since the Coup of Coins, the Kingdom has been at
merchant’s guild, ensuring they control most of the deci- war with its traditions. At the heart of this conflict lies the
sions made by the council. The other three seats belong old religion: the worship of the Celestials, and their temples
to the Javana (soldiers), Tunama (craftsmen), and Vamiata that are found in every city throughout the Kingdom. The
(judges), and they usually follow the Namiaven vote; in fact title of Mavia was held by the Kamade family though divine
many whisper that their positions are purely for show and birthright, and when the Namiaven usurped this power
hold little real power. they realised that since they lacked any claim to this divinity,
they could never sway the church to support them.
The Ranaven form both the upper and middle classes,
and while prestige is afforded to individuals based on their So they sought to remove the obstacle: They couldn’t at-
personal accomplishments, skills, and rank in their guild, tack the church directly without risking the ire of the peo-
there is also a hierarchy to the Ranaven themselves which is ple, so instead they began passing laws designed to restrict
based on how well their services are respected. the times and places of worship. The priests tried to object,
and in the days that followed every dissenter disappeared.
As the instigators of the Coup of Coins and current rul- Some priests saw the end of their order and fled, while oth-
ers of the Kingdom, the Namiaven are normally afforded ers tried to make a stand with little success — they were
the highest respect and treated like royalty. Their wealth is either arrested or assassinated. As the power of the church
so great that they move through the cities in gilded palan- weakened, the Namiaven declared the image of the Mavia
quins, dressed in fine shemeer and decorated with jewellery. illegal. Carvings and paintings of them adorned almost
The other guilds are arranged below them, with the Ratia every temple and this gave them an excuse to deface and in
(artists) being held in the least regard. some cases tear down these old buildings.
Unlike in many other lands, the farmers who grow the Today many of the old churches still stand, but they are
crops are not the lowest rung of society — indeed most abandoned and often boarded up, full of shattered statues
30 are part of the Tunama guild and enjoy a middling place and ripped tapestries that once showed the glory of their
within society. The lowest are the Hiaven, the guild-less. religion. Many of the Ven are unhappy about what has
These poor people are not welcome in most areas with- occurred and some still go to these churches to pay their
in the Kingdom and are forced to live in huge slums that respects, praying alone without service or priests to guide
are usually attached to the edge of the city. Most have only them. Yet none would dare stand in open rebellion; after all,
rags for clothes and live in tiny ramshackle huts. They are this was all sanctioned by their own Ranaven, and very few
not permitted to work and many make just enough to eat would dare oppose their guild. Those who do are cast out
through begging. and made Hiaven.
Unknown to most within the Ranaven (who would never One tradition that does still hold sway is that of the glass
soil themselves by entering the slums), the Hiaven have a burial. Each city has a Glass Field nearby, a graveyard of
culture of their own and tend to watch after one anoth- sorts in which the dead are interred through a magical
er with a fierce loyalty. They grow enough to eat in small process that fuses them and the desert sand into blocks
secret farms hidden within the slums, and in addition to of glass. The ceremony is long and elaborate and involves
speaking Varin they have their own slang language they singing songs of passing as a funeral procession carries the
mockingly call Vayen, which few outsiders know about or body to the Field. There, one of the secretive Sunianu per-
bother to learn. Although it is illegal to hire the Hiaven, forms the funeral rites. A hole is opened in the plain and
it is nevertheless quite a common practice; many Ranaven the body is buried standing up. The Sunianu use Pattern
find themselves in need of extra cheap workers and no one Magic to liquefy and then solidify the location, turning the
watches the slums closely enough to notice a bunch of sand (and body) first to liquid and then to glass. Hundreds
workers being recruited for a day of hard labour. of years of this practice has created regions near some of
the larger cities where the ground is entirely glass as far as
the eye can see.

Travelling through a Glass Field for any reason other


than a funeral is considered extremely bad luck.
Crime and Justice
Two guilds are involved in enforcing the law. The Javana
serve as the city watch, keeping the peace, investigating
crimes, and arresting the guilty. Members of the Vamiata
serve as magistrates and oversee the court proceedings,
eventually passing sentence which is usually carried out by
one of the Javana. business in an area controlled by one of the Ranaven soon
find themselves run out of the city or worse.
By all appearances the system is a relatively fair one.
Although there is no jury, the Vamiata are known to con- The Ranaven are:
sider each case carefully and weigh their judgements in the
best interests of the society. Of course there are also cases Namiaven (“to trade”): The Namiaven are merchants
ØØ

of corruption, especially in matters concerning high-rank- and traders. They started off as a small Ranaven but over
ing guild members, and more than one criminal has gone time have grown to be the largest. It was the Namiaven
unpunished due to bribes. that masterminded the Coup of Coins, using the incred-
ible wealth they had gathered from trading to bribe the
Punishments often include flogging or short term im- Javana and Vamiata into recognising their rule. They are
prisonment for minor crimes, and expulsion from the city made up of the wealthiest families in the Kingdom and
or death (often the same thing given the inhospitable nature control three of the six seats in the Accord. Their main
of the desert) for major ones. trade routes include overland routes to the Kingdoms
of Rust and Storms that pass through the city of Valuin,
Factions but they also have extensive ocean trade routes to many
other ports around the world. They also control the
Ever since the Coup of Coins political power has rested in Water Caravans, the thousands of traders who bring
the hands of the Menata and the ruling Ranaven. Together water down from the Kingdom of Storms to the north,
they control most of the Kingdom, but to the north in the and through this monopoly they control life within the
city of Tamasia, other factions are growing in power to re- desert.
sist Namiaven rule.
Javana (“to die”): The military of Meharavia. They were
ØØ
  31
The Ranaven originally formed in case of invasion from the other
There are nine Ranaven that hold some degree of power Kingdoms but have since become guards and law en-
within the city today. Membership is available to anyone forcers in every city. During the Coup of Coins they
that can afford their high entry fees and yearly tithes. Each were bribed by the Namiaven to support their upris-
Ranaven has their own set of rules that their members must ing, and quickly overwhelmed the royal guard. It was
follow, mostly related to how they carry out their profes- a famous member of the Javana, a man named Niafa,
sion to ensure a minimum quality of products, as well as who slew the last Mavia. In exchange for their loyalty,
regulations on prices and trade. Each Ranaven also strictly the Javana hold one seat on the Accord but so far they
enforces their own monopoly; those who attempt to start a
Nianu (“to weave”): Of all the Ranaven, the Nianu have
ØØ

have always followed the Namiaven councillors’ vote. the most unusual position within society. They are the
Today the Javana do most of their business by hiring keepers of coin, bankers and accountants, and crafts-
themselves out to any that can afford to pay, acting as men who work exclusively with glass. Despite being
bodyguards and enforcers for the wealthy. They use a creators, they are connected to neither the Tunama or
form of sign language to communicate silently with one the Ratia. The Nianu make and sell many glass items,
another when discretion is required. including bottles and cups, stained-glass windows, and
vases. There are a few Pattern mages in their ranks who
Vamiata (“to speak”): The Vamiata are adjudicators,
ØØ
  use their magic to create glass that is harder and strong-
judges and speakers. They administer the laws of the
er than steel. Most significantly they forge the Glass
city, judge criminals, and settle disputes. Their ranks
Crescent and Mark coins that serve as the Kingdom’s
also contain heralds, announcers and town criers. For
currency and have begun to spread all across Altais.
a long time they were believed to be the incorruptible
They also act as bankers and moneylenders and run
voice of justice and truth but during the Coup of Coins
many of the city’s vaults. Their wealth and political pow-
they were bribed by the Namiaven and rewrote the laws
er has ensured they retain their monopoly over glass,
to legitimise the usurpers. They hold one seat on the
however they have remained proudly neutral in all pol-
Accord.
itics since they began almost a thousand years ago and
Tunama (“to shape”): This Ranaven consists of an alli-
ØØ
  they did not take part in the Coup of Coins. A repre-
ance of artisans of all kinds: smiths, weavers, tanners, sentative of the Nianu is often invited to sit in Menata
bowyers, fletchers, and many other professions find meetings even though they technically have no say on
themselves within the ranks of the Tunama. Anyone the council, and the Namiaven often go out of their way
who intends to create something and sell it must seek to keep them on side, as after all their trade is dependent
membership in this guild before doing so. Their inter- on the Nianu system of currency and banking.
ests overlap with several other guilds and long nego-
Ratia (“to be”): The Ratia seek to entertain and enliven
ØØ

tiations have been held to decide exactly where each
those around them through works of art and perfor-
32 guild’s jurisdiction lies: The Tunama fo-
mance. They are artists, sculptors, musicians, actors,
cus on the creation of practical things
playwrights, and performers. They focus on crafts in-
such as tools, furniture, buildings,
tended to amuse, delight and amaze, and make things
and clothes, while the Ratia cover
that are pleasing to the eye rather than practical. They
the creation of works of art and
did not take part in the Coup of Coins, and in fact
the Nianu have the sole license to
weren’t even asked by the Namiaven who hold them
work with glass. The Tunama were
in some contempt. For their part they do not like the
persuaded to join the Coup of
Menata as it often stifles their freedom and creativity,
Coins with promises of wealth,
but they are careful not to voice their distaste too loudly
and now hold one seat on the
lest they lose what freedoms they still have.
Accord.
Herinha (“to serve”): Mages, doctors, and apothecaries.
ØØ

They were originally called the Diasen which means
“to mend” and were experts in the more obscure and
specialised areas of academia. They focused on repair-
ing the body and the Veil, believing the two to be con-
nected. They were not a part of the Coup of Coins, but
were commanded at spearpoint to serve or die. They
chose to serve, and have been known as the Herinha
(literally “to serve”) ever since. Today their Ranaven is
more heavily regulated by the Accord than any other
due to fear of their magic. A strict process has begun
of indoctrinating new members from a young age to
ensure they are subservient, and Herinha who complete
their training either serve the city or are given to one
of the wealthier citizens to be their personal servant.
The Herinha always wear grey robes and their faces are
branded so that they cannot hide that they are magic us-
ers. They are taught to never look their betters in the eye
and most are extremely submissive, the idea of acting
against their masters completely unthinkable. The Keepers are in charge of maintaining Yiaja itself,
Ravahana (“to remember”): Historians, academics and
ØØ
  both in terms of taking care of cleaning, repairing, and
scriveners. They were originally dedicated to keeping maintaining every part of the keep, but also defending
records of all transactions and proceedings, looking it from outside threats. Their ranks hold servants and
after libraries, and providing their services as scribes, soldiers both. Their symbol is a tower.
historians, and linguists. During the Coup of Coins they
sided with the Mavia, believing him to be the rightful Seruhin (“to watch”): The Seruhin were formed by the
ØØ

ruler. They were declared traitors in the aftermath, and first Mavia in the early years after the Fall to watch
since they had no soldiers they were forced to flee the over the borders of the land and to warn if any other
mainland to an old military fort called Yiaja on a nearby Kingdom tried to invade. They were scouts and spies,
island. Yiaja had been abandoned since the Fall due to and some were sent to infiltrate other lands or sow
belief that it was cursed and haunted, but the Ravahana discord. They are rumoured to be always watching for
found little evidence of this when they moved in. A few signs of treason, unseen and unheard, even within the
years later they made peace with the Accord so that the capital itself, and so they are rarely spoken about even
preservation of history could continue. Today they have in a whisper. Despite their reputation, they didn’t see
grown in power and have both a small army and mages the Coup of Coins coming and failed to save the last
amongst their number. They continue to operate from Mavia. This became a point of great shame for them,
their island fortress and mostly stay out of politics, ded- and refusing to serve the Accord they vanished into the
icating themselves to finding relics and lost knowledge desert. To this day they continue to perform their func-
of the past. tion, going unseen and unannounced, and some believe
they are little more than a legend told to scare people.
Within their ranks they have four orders called Many Seruhin are recruited from orphaned children
Archives. Members wear a badge bearing the symbol who are taken away to be trained in secret camps.
of their order: 33
The Tejin Rebellion
The Preservationists record modern history, often The city of Tamasia is the only large city in the Kingdom
travelling to remote places to record events as they un- to reject the rule of the Namiaven. When the Mavia was
fold. They also seek out modern copies of books and overthrown during the Coup of Coins, not all his descend-
documents for preservation and are dedicated to ensur- ants were found and killed; a few survivors fled north and
ing that no further information is lost. Generally they sheltered amongst the noble families of Tamasia.
limit their studies to things that have occurred since the
Fall. Their symbol is a quill. Today their support lies with Tejin Kamade, a 14-year-
old boy and the grandson of the old Mavia. Around him
The Restorationists dedicate themselves to uncover- a rebellion has gathered; they call him Dahia’s Legacy and
ing what has already been lost. They seek to find out have proclaimed him the one true Mavia. Tejin is guided
about events from before the Fall and collect ancient (and perhaps controlled) by three powerful noble fam-
documents and manuscripts. They try to learn from the ilies who support his rule. They date back to before the
past and restore lost knowledge. Their symbol is a scroll. Ranaven were formalised, and seek to bring back a day
when birthright and noble blood ruled instead of guilds
The Artificers seek and study artifacts from before
and commerce.
the Fall. Any item counts, whether magical or not, al-
though they are dedicated to understanding the physical The Tejin Rebellion has gathered a significant army,
functions and properties of things more than the his- mostly mercenaries (many from the Kingdom of Rust),
tory. They sometimes overlap with the Restorationists, and they have the support of the Seruhin who have helped
for example if an ancient document is found the them set up secret trade routes with other Kingdoms. Many
Restorationists care more about what the document of the Ratia throughout the Kingdom also secretly work for
says while the Artificers are more interested in what the Tamasia; overlooked during the Coup of Coins they have
document is made from and how it was written. Their
symbol is a cracked vase.
now sided with the rebellion. Amongst them is a secret The Language of Glass
group that calls itself The Pale Brush — a brush that has Varin is the official language of the Kingdom of Glass, and
never been dipped in paint, because their true talents lie in their trade networks have carried it all across Altais. Many
spying, espionage, and assassination. of their merchants refuse to trade in other languages, fear-
ing that a lack of fluency may lead to a bad deal, and so
The Namiaven is aware of the threat Tamasia poses and the language has become the Trade Tongue. Even in other
has gathered an army in response. It’s only a matter of time Kingdoms, Varin can be found spoken by sailors and trad-
before the two clash and civil war rips the Kingdom apart. ers in addition to the local dialect, ensuring that no matter
where two merchants come from they can still make a deal.
Economics and Trade Alphabet
The trade routes of the Kingdom of Glass stretch across the
In the Varin language, each symbol of the alphabet is a com-
whole continent. From Meharavia they pass through Valuin
plete sound rather than a letter, and each of these sounds
and then split to either spread throughout the Kingdom of
has an ancient meaning dating back thousands of years.
Rust or to pass through the Kingdom of Storms and then
on to the Kingdom of Serpents. Their ships travel along The alphabet is usually arranged into “Resa”, groups of
the southern coast, visiting villages on the edges of the sounds that share a common meaning. These are some-
Kingdom of Beasts and even stopping at the Kingdom of times used to add extra nuance to a word. The capital city
Ash (a dangerous place to trade, but a profitable one). Meharavia for example can be broken down into the Resa
“Me” (city), “ha” (under), “ra” (enduring), and “via” (wa-
Some ships make it around the cliffs of the Kingdom
ter) which could be read to mean something like “the city
of Fiends, reaching Serpents and Ghoskoya from the sea.
that endures under the water”. Although the ocean that
Others trade with the Sorrowborne out at sea.
once covered the city is long gone, the name remains.
There are only a few places these trade routes don’t
The Resa
reach: No one has found a way past the Watchtowers to the
The meanings behind the Resa are mostly used by poets
34
Kingdom of Fiends, and there is no one to trade with in the
and politicians when they want to add extra nuance to
Dead Isles and the Kingdom of Tears even if visiting them
their words and most of them don’t affect everyday usage.
safely were possible.
The syllables at the start of a word are more likely to mean
The most sought-after trade good from the Kingdom is something than those at the end, and sometimes the Resa
the glass produced by the Nianu, which is crafted to a high- are ignored entirely. The syllables of each Resa have the
er quality than anywhere else in Altais. Salt, ivory, and per- same meaning, for example there is no difference to the
fumes are also exported, and in recent years the Namiaven meanings for “Me”, “Ma”, “Mia”, “Min” and “Mu”.
have begun exporting the Hiaven as slaves.
Of particular note is the Resa for “Ya”, “Yia” and “Yen”.
The city of Tamasia exports gold and sandstone mined There are no syllables in the language for the two missing
from the mountains to the north, although this trade is not sounds “Ye” and “Yu”; it’s theorised that these sounds were
sanctioned by the Namiaven and so the Javana are often once used but fell into disuse, and no modern example of
sent to raid these trade caravans. them exists. Because of this these sounds are often referred
to as belonging to the “broken Resa” and they have come
By far the largest import is water: the Water Road is the to symbolise that which is incomplete or evil. Parents al-
name of a well-travelled trade route between Meharavia and most never use these syllables when naming their children,
the Kingdom of Storms. Caravans in the thousands make for example; to do so would curse the child to a life of
this trip, bringing as much water into the Kingdom as they misfortune.
can carry. There are so many of these traders that a traveller
walking this road will pass one every few minutes. The other unusual Resa are for the “F” syllables.
Whatever meaning they may once have held was lost, and
Other imports include wood, fabrics, steel, and gem- for a long time these sounds fell into infrequent use and
stones. were often seen as being bland and neutral. Recently they
have begun to reappear amongst the youth of the Kingdom
in various forms of slang, used insultingly to imply that a
person is dull or ignorant. Although not officially accepted
by academics, this is a new Resa forming.
Resa (meaning)
Me Ma Mia Min Mu First, great, important, above, city
He Ha Hia Hin Hu Lesser, under, beneath, last, town
Re Ra Ria Rin Ru Wisdom, patience, past, enduring
Ve Va Via Ven Vu Water, deep, life, person
Ne Na Nia Nin Nu Water, scarcity, value, glass, wealth
Se Sa Sia Sen Su Dark, secret, sand, cave
Te Ta Tia Ten Tu Mountains, high, clouds, sky
Je Ja Jia Jin Ju Distant, far, horizon
De Da Dia Den Du Lucky, blessed
We Wa Wia Wen Wu Near, abundant, lacking in value
Be Ba Bia Ben Bu Future, uncertain, unwise
Ya Yia Yen Broken, incomplete, evil, misfortune
Fe Fa Fia Fen Fu Unofficially: bland, boring, ignorant
En An Ian In Un Light, day, flame, bright
Visitors are rare in the land of Storms.

For one thing, the Storm is loud. You don’t realise quite how loud it will be
until you’re standing at its edge, staring up at the clouds that tower into the sky
and envelop a nation. I have heard sailors boast that while I might think the Storm
is bad, compared to a summer squall it is simply a stiff breeze. I have never seen a
squall lift a domar from the ground and toss it over a tree. I had to cut the pitiful
creature’s throat and finish my travel on foot. The sea-damned sailors don’t know
what they’re talking about.

The howling quiets during the day around the towns, as the locals perform their
rituals and whatnot to permit the day’s labour to be carried out, but then it returns
with the dusk, wailing under doors and into cracks. It screams like children and
sobs like the brokenhearted, and it has kept me from sleep for three days now. To
this, I attribute my poor decision-making.

At first I could not find passage Heartwise, not for any quantity of coin, save
for riding a Windskip. Windskips are, as far as I can ascertain, twigs and sinew
held together by prayer, blowing about the land and bounding after the leviathans
of the sky, seeking to bring them down with bolts fired from an undersized ballista.

Clearly, the other reason visitors are rare in the Land of Storms is because the
inhabitants have all been driven beyond reason by that accursed wind!

I eventually persuaded one of their priests to take me to the capital; a more


harrowing journey I have never travelled, walking in a bubble of calm a few
lengths across through a storm that could rip me limb from limb if my guide’s
attention wavered for even a moment. I assured him, persuasively, that it
wouldn’t.

Elal Ushria is more temple than city, run by priests for priests. Everyone spends
so much time in prayer and contemplation, and I could do nothing but hear the
eternal howling of that wind! That Storm may prove as insurmountable as any
mountain and twice as costly.
37

Elal Ushria inhabited once more, while throughout the Storm villag-
The Kingdom of Storms es survive only through the magic of the Elanshi, priests
who calm the raging winds. No other land is so close to the
“Life is suffering! Life is pain! I see you all working in those fields, Tempest, the Realm of wind and lightning. Lucents plague
facing the wind, and I see your struggle! But this is the way of the this Kingdom constantly, feeding on those unfortunate
Storm. The Eesa gave it to us so that we might suffer as they suffered! enough to encounter them without the protection of the
It hides the Celestials from our eyes so that we might learn faith! Erishala who hunt these threats with javelins of lightning.
When you work in that Storm, when you give up your crops to feed
the Eesa’s chosen, you prove yourself worthy! You prove yourself a true To the east stand the Watchtowers, an ancient row of
child of the Ela!” structures built during the Second Age to keep the Nasar at
— Roshiari of the Uelaushi, bay. In the thousands of years since, no Nasar has ever been
lying to the people. seen west of the towers, and it’s been a long time since an-
yone kept serious vigil over the border. A few scholars still
visit the towers, using them for research and studying their
Introduction ancient construction, but the land is ill prepared should the
The Kingdom of Storms is lush and green, a fertile valley
Nasar return.
— and yet much of it is as inhospitable as the desert sur-
rounding Meharavia. The Great Maelstrom rages within the Unlike other Kingdoms, magic is considered a sacred
heart of the Kingdom, a giant hurricane that fills the whole calling and those who manifest these skills are expected to
region with winds powerful enough to uproot trees and de- enter a life of service to the people and the priesthood.
stroy buildings, and the people survive only within pockets Mages are neither persecuted nor enslaved, but instead
of magical safety. Here worship of the Celestials is strong- bound by stifling obligation and duty. Suffice to say this
er than in other Kingdoms and the four highest-ranking society has no tolerance for those who would reject this
priests, called the Tetrarchs, rule over the land. “honour” and use magic for their own purposes.
In the heart of the Great Maelstrom lies the city of Elal The people of the Kingdom of Storms call themselves
Ushria, shattered and abandoned for centuries but now the Shi, which means “blessed ones”.
Terrain and Climate wind becomes bitingly cold. Regardless of season, there is
The terrain is hilly and green, often muddy in places from always an abundance of rainfall and the land remains sod-
the near-constant rainfall. Yet the soft soil easily soaks up den and wet.
38 the water, draining it to the north where it flows out to the
ocean through the Kingdom of Serpents, making floods
within the Kingdom of Storms rare.
History
Elal Ushria was the youngest of the Third Age Kingdoms.
The steep hills shape the wind, in some places providing It was built by a group of wealthy mages who sought to
a barrier against the Storm while in others channelling the create a work of magic unparallelled in its time, and under
fury and intensifying it. Many towns are built into the lee- their guidance a great city of shining towers was construct-
side of hills to shelter them from the worst of the wind. ed atop a mountain. Once completed it was cut free and set
to soar through the sky, timed so that it circled the world,
The Storm limits the forms of life that can survive in this chasing the sun, in a state of perpetual dawn.
Kingdom. Plants tend to be flexible and tough, easily bend-
ing in the wind and not breaking. There are many types Its creation was so successful that thousands of the most
of grasses and small plants that have extensive structures wealthy flocked to live within and millions came to see it
underground while only small leaves protrude above. The pass overhead. So was born the Kingdom of Dawn, marvel
largest plants are the nala, long whip-like grasses that would of the Third Age, and perhaps the greatest work of magic
grow as tall as trees if the wind didn’t keep them flat against ever undertaken.
the ground. Trees and other wooded plants are found only
There are many conflicting records about this Kingdom’s
around the edge of the region, where the Storm is weakest.
culture, and separating truth from fiction has frustrated
Animals have adapted to the Storm in their own ways. many a scholar. Certainly, early in the Kingdom’s history, it
Large and heavy many-legged insect-like creatures cling to is known to have been a place where only the wealthy could
the ground and burrow through the earth, while kite-like afford to live and there are many stories of lavish parties,
creatures drift on the air, carried at the mercy of the Storm. expensive celebrations, and debauchery. It is said that they
had wine that looked like liquid gold and food that resem-
There are only two seasons within the Kingdom: warm bled diamonds, and that no one ever suffered or died.
season where the Storm brings in warm air from the other
Kingdoms and makes it humid, and cold season where it Yet despite these stories there are stranger things too,
carries the chill down from the upper atmosphere and the records of mages searching for new Realms and finding in-
Much of the city was destroyed and the people killed, and
for a long time the region was completely uninhabitable as
Family the winds ripped the land apart and devastated everything
in the area.
Families in the Kingdom of Storms are large,
Hundreds of years passed, and in time the Storm less-
and can trace their lineage back hundreds of
ened as the Veil began to mend. The people living on the
years. Families that produce one of the Elanshi
edge of the Storm started to explore deeper and deeper,
are considered blessed, and the Elanshi are often
and developed new magics to shield themselves from the
sought-after as partners in the hopes that their
wind. Eventually they reached the ruins of the capital and
blessing will be passed to their children. Four
found many pieces of it still floating through the heart of
or more generations can often be found within
the Storm; some drifting slowly, others spinning out of
a single household, usually related through the
control.
matrilineal line. It takes a strong reason to cause
a family to divide and set out to build a new They built villages in the calm eye at the centre, used
home, and as numbers grow they prefer to dig ropes and grapples to catch pieces of the city and anchor
out new rooms beneath the floors of old ones, them to the ground, and built bridges through the air be-
rather than build a new and untested home in tween the chunks.
the Storm.
Today the city of Elal Ushria is inhabited once more, now
as a cluster of floating islands. The buildings on the central
islands have been rebuilt and attached to one another by
stead even stranger worlds. Most of these are dismissed by hundreds of ropes and bridges, with chains anchoring the
scholars as the ravings of the debauched, and yet one leg- whole city to huge stone structures on the ground called
end persists above all: a tale told in countless books, penned the Anchorages. While most of the inner islands have been
by many authors in many diaries; the story of the Ela. captured, many of the outer ones continue to drift on the
wind, too fast to easily board, uninhabited and unexplored.
According to these legends, towards the end of the Third
Age, a new group of people called the Ela came to the The Kingdom has hundreds of small towns and villag-
Kingdom from the sky above. Tall and beautiful they were, es throughout the Storm, protected by the magic of the
39
with marble skin and golden wings. The people looked Elanshi and connected by Ropeways and Wind Roads, but
upon them and fell to their knees in worship, and gifted most live within the eye or in one of the large cities around
them the city. It is said that they turned the people from the edge.
a life of endless debauchery to one of purity and nobility,
that they brought the greatest qualities out in all who stood The War of Broken Steel
within their presence. When the Knights of Rust found their way through the
Stormwall Mountains and fell upon the towns and villages
Some scholars believe they were the Eesa returned (and around the edge of the Storm they met very little resistance.
point to the similarity of name as evidence), others that Homes were looted and pillaged and thousands of refugees
the ruling mages grew tired of what they had created and fled around the Storm or deeper into it and were lost. It
worked an even greater feat of magic, changing themselves was only through the work of a group of Tempest mages
into something more than human. Others have theorised that their advance was stopped. They discovered a crude
that the Ela came from another Realm, or even that they spell, easily taught to every soldier, that could weaken or
were once the native people of Altais who had remained even shatter armour and weapons. It demoralised the Ikari
hidden, but no one really knows for sure. soldiers who had always relied on their steel, and allowed
the Shi to push them back and seal the passage through
The Fall the mountains.
As the shock wave from the Fall passed over Elal Ushria,
bringing with it a cloud of dust tainted with the energies These magics are still practised today by a small
of other Realms, it disrupted the magic holding the city group of soldiers called the Iron Breakers, who have
aloft. The Tempest energies surged out of control and the refined the techniques even further and continue to
Great Maelstrom sprung up around it, ripping the city to watch for signs of a new invasion.
pieces and sending those pieces crashing to the ground
in the southern region of what once was the Kingdom of
Dragons.
Life and Culture Leeside faces anti-clockwise around the Storm. Those
who travel Leeside do so with the wind at their back.
Central to the land’s culture is the Storm itself. It appears
Villages nestle on the Leeside of hills and valleys, sheltered
through symbol and metaphor in almost every aspect of
from the wind. Doors open Leeside. When planning a trip,
life, belief, and tradition. Believed to have been brought by
most travellers will arrange their path to exploit all available
the Celestials to test the people, it represents the distrac-
Leeside shelters. Leeside represents ease and comfort.
tions and chaos placed in the way of a peaceful life. The
great trial, respected and feared, neither good nor evil: it Heartwise is the direction towards the heart of the Storm,
simply is. which the Shi consider to be the centre of the world. To
travel Heartwise is to head towards the mighty city of Elal
The Shi are an enduring and resilient people who do not
Ushria and the spiritual heart of the Kingdom. It represents
complain or lament their lot in life. Against the hardship of
wisdom and returning home.
the Storm which they have accepted as unchangeable, all
other problems seem trivial. The common folk are accus- Wanderway is the direction away from the Storm’s heart,
tomed to relying on each other to survive in the Storm and travelling out towards the other Kingdoms. Those who
so teamwork is customary and taken for granted. travel Wanderway are heading away from Elal Ushria. It
represents leaving home, wandering aimlessly, turning away
Religion within the Kingdom of Storms is based around
from faith, or embracing foolishness.
a contemplative worship of the Celestials. They are usually
hidden from sight behind roiling clouds, visible only occa-
sionally within the eye of the Storm, and so the people rely
Social Classes
The Kingdom is a theocracy ruled by a council of four
more on their faith that they are up there watching even
powerful priests known as the Tetrarchs. They oversee the
though many go their whole lives without ever seeing them.
running of civil matters and are also the spiritual leaders.
The priests teach that, like the Celestials, the right path is
Each Tetrarch is associated with one of the four Storm di-
always present but may be hidden by distractions. Staying
rections which symbolically indicates their responsibilities
on the path involves the virtues of charity, honesty, and
and the reach of their authority.
oath-keeping. Only those who follow the path can avoid
40 being swept away by the chaos of life. The Heartwise Tetrarch rules all within the heart of the
Storm, including overseeing the day-to-day affairs of Elal
These virtues often take a darker turn, however. Charity
Ushria. They are the head of the church and hold a slightly
can mean giving more to the church than an individual can
higher position than the other three Tetrarchs on matters
spare, honesty is upheld through interrogation, and those
of spirituality.
in power often exploit the oaths sworn to them.
The Wanderway Tetrarch rules the cities beyond the
The Cardinal Directions Storm and is in charge of the defence of the Kingdom.
As a result of the Storm, the Shi have a different set of They control by far the largest armies, however to prevent
cardinal directions to the rest of Altais, viewing the world any attempt at a coup, by covenant these armies are not
not in terms of north, south, east and west, but as a series permitted to come armed or in large numbers into the
of directions relative to the Storm itself. heart of the Storm. This Tetrarch handles foreign affairs
and interactions with the other Kingdoms. They are also
The four directions are Windward, Leeside, Heartwise,
in charge of maintaining the Watchtowers and defending
and Wanderway. Each one embodies an aspect of the Storm
against Nasar invasion. This last role has been left untended
and plays an important role in Shi life.
for hundreds of years, as most who have held this position
Windward means to travel clockwise around the Storm, believed the Nasar to be a myth.
facing into the wind. Windmills are planted to look
The Windward Tetrarch oversees the middle classes, in-
Windward. Windward is the direction you travel at the start
cluding smiths and artisans, merchants, and traders of all
of the day when you are fresh and ready to face the day’s
forms. They ensure there are enough guards to keep the
challenges, so you have an easier return at dusk with the
paths clear of bandits so travellers may pass freely through
wind pushing at your back. Windward represents labour
the Storm, and govern trade and transport between cities.
and hardship.
The Windward Tetrarch takes dues from all traders and
merchants, and is the wealthiest of the four.
The Leeside Tetrarch oversees the safety of the farms to the rank of muishi and so most merchants and artisans
and villages and looks to the needs of the common peo- remain part of the lower class.
ple. They are in charge of the Elanshi and ensure there are
enough to protect each village and those who travel within The lowest tier of society is the lashi, those who carry
the Storm. They maintain the Ropeways, Wind Roads, and the burdens of others. They include most of the working
other pockets of safety within the Storm. In representing class: farmers, merchants, artisans of all forms, and many
the common people, they are often associated with the rank and file soldiers. Most live in small villages within the
poor, but also with the production of the necessities of life: Storm, protected by the Elanshi so they can work and con-
food, warmth, and clothing. tribute to the greatness of Elal Ushria through the food
they grow, the goods they create, and the taxes they pay.
Below the Tetrarchs are numerous scribes, advisers, and Despite this hard life, the Tetrarchs are not cruel rulers,
adjudicators who are afforded the respect given to nobility and most lashi have a small but comfortable home and are
purely because of who they serve. They and all members treated well enough (if only just) that there has never been
of the priesthood are considered to be ushi: noble and of any significant rebellion or unrest.
high rank.
Traditions
The Kingdom of Storms has only a small middle class Most Shi are hardworking and grounded people who focus
called the muishi, which includes a few large businesses lo- on their daily lives and the struggle against the Storm, rath-
cated within the bigger cities. They include some of the er than on matters of thought or philosophy, which are left
more successful merchants and artisans, and many of the to the priests. Their rituals and traditions tend to be equal-
warrior orders such as the Wind Knights and Thunder ly simple, pragmatic, and often brief. Most ceremonies are
Spears. Unlike other societies where rising to middle class overseen by a member of the priesthood, but in many small
is a matter of wealth, only the priesthood can lift people villages they are conducted by the local Elanshi.

41
When symbology is present in their ceremonies, it usually village, a single mound often holding the dead for a doz-
involves a short piece of rope or ribbon. Ropes hold the city en generations. In some places, ancient ones can be found
of Elal Ushria together and help guide people through the with no village still standing in the area.
Storm, and are an important symbol in their lives. Another
common theme are the cardinal directions, which are of- Life in the Storm
ten part of phrases used to wish someone well or refer to Villagers live within houses made from earth and stone,
a person’s actions. “Leeside well” for example is a way of carved into the ground with curved or sloped roofs level
wishing someone a safe journey and quick return. Telling with the surrounding area so that the wind flows over and
someone to “Look Heartwise” is a form of blessing, a re- around them without causing damage.
assurance that the Celestials are watching over them. Some
people will use “Windward way” to refer to difficulties and Around villages, people create trenches and rises to
hardship, in the form “The crops gave us little this year, it’s shape the course of the wind and lessen its impact. In some
been a Windward way”, and “Gone Wanderway” can refer areas these earthworks extend for hundreds of meters be-
to someone leaving the Kingdom or being overcome by yond the buildings, forming curving mazes of subtle rises
madness or poor judgement, considered to be more or less that help dissipate the wind and direct what remains back
the same thing. out again. Although this does not counter the force of the
Great Maelstrom completely, it eases the work of the local
Funerals are simple affairs. The immediate family holds Elanshi who keep the winds under control. Most villages
a small farewell ceremony and the body is buried within a have two or three Elanshi who take it in turns to keep the
mass grave in one of the many large burial mounds that winds in the area calm enough for the people to move free-
dot the Kingdom. These barrows are found outside every ly outside without fear of the Storm.

42
The Shi wear simple but colourful clothing, woven from
thick and waterproof wool. A common accessory is the Crime and Justice
raincape — a rigid hood woven from wicker fibres that ex- Laws are enforced by dedicated groups of laity, citizens in
tends down the back like a cape to the wearer’s knees, and the public service who follow the orders of the Uelaushi
is secured across the chest with a strap. This keeps them dry (priests) and the Tetrarchs. Judgement is made by the
while allowing the use of their arms. Ishrila, investigators and enforcers who serve the will of
the Tetrarchs. They travel with their entourage across the
Travel regions, consulting with the priests and senior members of
There are several ways to travel the Storm. The wealthy can the towns on their route, and calling in the military to deal
afford to hire an Elanshi to escort them personally, calm- with threats beyond their skills.
ing the winds along their path, but most cannot afford this
extravagance. The Wind Roads are paths carved magically Most crimes are punished with compensation, either via
through the Storm, connecting the many towns and villages coin or service, while more extreme crimes can result in
together and ensuring there is always a safe way to travel. being cast into the Storm.
The Wind Roads vary in width; some are a hundred metres/
yards wide or more, while others are barely wide enough for
one person to move through. Within them the air is com-
Factions
By all outward appearances, the priests rule as a unified or-
pletely calm, as if an invisible wall has been raised on either der, free from political troubles and strife. This is a care-
side to shield them from the wind. Left alone these paths fully constructed fabrication, however. In reality the four
slowly degrade over time, but the Elanshi travel the Wind Tetrarchs constantly seek to gain power over one anoth-
Roads frequently, using their magics to maintain them. In er, vying for control of the Kingdom’s different assets and
places old and forgotten, roads have been abandoned and industries, and sending spies and saboteurs to undermine
reclaimed by the Storm. their rivals’ works.
Another way to move something through the Storm is The effects of these machinations spread down through
by the Ropeways. These systems of ropes and pulleys criss- the rest of the priesthood and their aides and servants, who
cross the Kingdom, carrying goods (and occasionally peo- are often caught up in these plots, usually without even re- 43
ple) through the air. They were designed to help merchants alising it. Priests can be sent on obscure missions without
move their goods and were never designed for people, but ever knowing the reason why, servants asked to report on
sometimes the desperate will attempt to travel this way — a other servants, goods redirected, and orders countermand-
dangerous and unpleasant experience that involves holding ed, all while keeping up the public appearance of solidarity
onto a moving rope, strung a few meters above the ground, within the Tetrarch.
as it carries them through the full fury of the Storm. Like
the Wind Roads, these ropes and pulleys must be main- Uelaushi
tained to avoid breaking, and Cordwrights travel the land The presence of the Storm hangs over the Kingdom as an
making repairs where needed. ever-present reminder of the Celestials’ power, and through
it the Uelaushi shape the beliefs of the people. For an or-
The final method — and the most dangerous — is the
ganisation which teaches mastery of the wild and chaotic
Windskip. These small crude sailing ships are made from
Tempest, the Uelaushi are conservative and cautious. They
wood and wicker and held together by rope and twine.
see themselves as providing a calm central philosophy for
They skate across the muddy ground, carried by the wind,
their people so that they may navigate the constant struggle
and must be carefully controlled lest they tip over and
of their lives.
send their passenger tumbling away into the Storm. Few
are reckless enough to entrust their lives to such vessels; The Uelaushi oversee the Kingdom’s
most are youths seeking to prove themselves against the spirituality from a distance, acting as
Storm. Some larger Windskips have space for a whole crew high priests and staying in the larger
and contain quarters for them to sleep while the skip is an- cities where they are safe. Most con-
chored, while others are fitted with small ballistae for hunt-
ing asurk and aloshi. The Cordwrights curse the Windskips,
as a carelessly-steered skip can destroy a Ropeway, requiring
weeks of repairs.
sider tending to the common-folk directly to be a duty that The Kingdom is like an ocean, with the towns forming
is beneath them. The Elanshi on the other hand are present islands of light. Life beyond these islands is nigh impossible
in every town, village, and hamlet, often serving the vil- — people need warmth, food, and shelter, and the Storm
lage in which they were born. At dawn their ceremony of rips these away whenever it can — but there are some who
calming begins, easing the howling hurricane into a sighing do scrape a living. In cracks and crevices between rock fac-
whimper. In the wake of this the people leave their burrows es, in newly-made crude shelters and in the ruins of old
and move out to the fields and halls where they will work villages and towns long abandoned, the Lost gather and
for most of the day. As the Elanshi tire, the calming weak- take shelter. Most are touched with the Storm madness and
ens and all must be back inside by dusk. This limited time find contact with the rest of the Kingdom difficult, instead
for outside activity leads to most of the Shi taking on at forming a kind of shadowy reflection of the Kingdom —
least two crafts, one for outside and one to practise in the their citizens are lunatics, heretics, outlaws, and the outcast.
evenings indoors, to maximise efficiency. There are also rumours of more coordinated and sinister
organisations living in the Storm, although these have never
The Storm Heresy been confirmed.
The Uelaushi teach that the Celestials are always present,
always watching, and that one should live life in accordance
with their virtue. But for those who live battered by wind
and rain, and under the ever-present clouds of the Storm, it
is tempting to believe in a power you can see. Storm Madness
The Storm Heresy began decades ago, spreading among The howl of the Great Maelstrom is always pres-
some of the smaller communities living in the Storm. It ent and can be heard even within the sheltered
spoke of dissatisfaction with the rule of the Tetrarchs. heart of the Storm. The constant noise combined
Every time disaster struck they blamed the priests for pre- with a life of strict ritual, tradition, and discipline
suming they had mastery over the will of the winds. can drive some to despair. This storm madness
can reduce even the most stalwart to hysteria and
The Heretics hold that the Storm is alive and aware, that lunacy. The Shi view it as a curse, warding it off
44
it is cruel, and that any attempt to hold it back in one area with gestures and charms worn about the neck.
will only create ruin in another. Believers recruit bands of Those who have been touched with storm mad-
outlaws and roam the edges of the Storm, raiding the Wind ness vary widely, from the merely antisocial to the
Roads and villages. Elanshi who join this group embrace severely deranged. Most eventually flee into the
unleashing the Tempest instead of controlling it. Storm, almost as if by confronting it they can fi-
nally make the noise stop, and some villages have
The Lost
driven those afflicted away.
The Shi aren’t always safe from the Storm, especially in a
small village with only an Elanshi or two to protect them.
Some villages have fallen to bandit raids, the survivors flee-
ing into the Storm; others have collapsed after the local
Elanshi passes without warning, leaving the village without
protection. Economics and Trade
The Kingdom of Storms has some of the most fertile lands
Madness can take people as well; the wind howls over in all Altais. They grow food in abundance and farm several
the houses, wailing through the cracks in the walls, the con- plants and animals that produce tough fibres used to create
stant noise eating at the minds of those living within until high-quality cloth.
someone loses their senses and decides to go out and face
the Storm. When someone is lost, the other villagers form a Most Shi do not like to travel far from the Maelstrom so
search party, tying themselves together and creating a chain they have few external trade networks of their own, but the
so they can explore beyond the village and still find their traders and merchants from the other Kingdoms all stop by
way back. Sometimes the lost come home again, sometimes the Kingdom on their way to other places. Naturally, trade
they don’t. usually occurs in the cities at the edge of the Storm, as few
outsiders are willing to brave its winds to reach the capital.

Food produced here is traded far and wide, accounting


for as much as a third of the food consumed by some oth- the Shi prefer it this way. Although they wouldn’t admit it,
er Kingdoms. The most common crop farmed here is the many are at least slightly offended when they hear foreign-
darga, a small plant that prefers flooded soil and produces a ers mangling their holy tongue with their barbaric mouths.
tuber that is bland but nutritious. Grown in great quantity,
it is one of the staple foods of the peasant class all across Alphabet
the world and can be eaten raw, baked, fried, or made into Elali uses a flowing script where each character represents
a soup. Darga can be dried and ground to produce flour, one or more sounds that can be strung together. There
and the juice of the stems is sticky and can be mixed with are no spaces between the words, which can make the lan-
the flour to create dough. Most bread and pasta is made guage very difficult for newcomers to learn. The language
from darga flour and in this form it can even be found in has split into two different forms: a formal version used by
the kitchens of the noble and the wealthy, usually flavoured those in high standing and on important occasions, and a
with more expensive spices and fruits. casual variant which contains many abbreviations and has
become popular in day-to-day use, particularly among the
Another plant grown in this region is the nala, a plant poorer people.
with long fibrous fronds that are flexible enough to be
whipped around by the wind without breaking. The plant Most can understand both versions, but depending on
exudes a sticky sap which helps it catch moss and small their station some may view formal Elali as too rigid, stuffy,
insects carried on the wind which are then slowly absorbed and pompous, or they may view the casual version as crude
for nutrients. The fronds can be boiled to make a thick sa- and impure. When words are shortened, an apostrophe is
voury stew which is often eaten for breakfast. Alternatively, used to denote where letters have been removed.
they can be dried and treated to make tough fibres that are
woven into ropes. The sounds of the Elali language are:
45
Other common exports include cloth, water, steel, dyes, A E I O U Th
and marble. Their most admired (and expensive) trade La Le Li Lu Sh
good is shemeer, a lightweight fabric that emits a faint light Ra Ri Ru N
as it moves, shimmering with all the colours of the rainbow. Ya Ye Yi R
This fabric is highly sought-after by the wealthy looking to
impress their peers. It is very hard to produce, coming only Wa We Wi Wo Mu L
from the nests of one species of animal that lives in the
Stormwall Mountains. Combination Words
Elali contains a lot of combination words; long words built
The Kingdom imports glass, gold, hardwood, and spices. out of many smaller words that combine to form the full
Precious gemstones and amber are also in high demand, as meaning. New combinations are frequently invented which
are the medicinals of the Kingdom of Serpents. is one of the features that makes the language appealing to
poets.
The Language of Storms For example, priests are called the Uelaushi - U (Great)
The language of the Kingdom of Storms is Elali. Described ela (sky) u (great) Shi (people), or “Great people of the
by poets as a beautiful language of soft sounds and whis- Storm”. Similar combination words are invented as need-
pered words, the Shi believe it is a holy language that was ed to describe foreigners. For example those from the
given to them by the Ela before the Fall. Kingdom of Rust are the Muiothi or “iron foreigners”.
Aside from the occasional poet seeking to write long
songs in the language, it is rarely spoken by outsiders, and
I expected a swamp to be disagreeable, but nothing prepared me for just how
unpleasant my journey to Amonastra would be.

First there was the jungle and I swear it had more venomous reptiles than there
were leaves on the trees, they practically dripped from every surface. I was led by
a particularly dour individual with a face painted like a savage, dressed in leather
and scales and carrying a surprisingly effective-looking polearm. At least they were
worth their price. They stood between myself and a hungry monstrosity on no less
than three occasions! Had I been forced to defend myself, I certainly would have
gotten blood on my clothes and that would have been far more costly.

From the jungle I ventured onto a river. There are hundreds of them snaking
their way through the Kingdom, all converging on the ocean, and despite being
filled with hungry bekhetu they are far safer to travel than the land. This leg of my
journey, perched on the back of what I can only describe as a gigantic slug, was no
more pleasant — they stink with a foul odour and their slime gets everywhere.
46
At last I made it to Amonastra, a waterlogged city of ancient moss-covered
stone temples dedicated to Gods long dead. The people’s fervour is commendable
and certainly those creatures they worship are worthy of considerable respect, but
they are deluding themselves if they think those things are returning any time soon.

If they ever do reappear in this dimension, I suspect their followers’ devotion


will very quickly turn to terror, assuming of course they survive even that long.

To be on the safe side my lord, I recommend we close any gates to the Wild we
find on our foray into these lands.
47

Amonastra
The Kingdom of Serpents
so’s ride from one another. The largest of these, and the
“I am sorry Ast, I don’t want to cause you further pain. Help me and capital of the region, is Amonastra, a huge city built atop
the Hekari will forgive your crimes. Tell me who paid you to desecrate the ruins of ancient buildings that predate the Fall.
our most holy of places and you can go free. A name, that’s all you The people of the Kingdom of Serpents hold reptiles
have to give, speak and you will be absolved, you can go home to your to be sacred, which is the origin of the Kingdom’s name,
tukufi. Now, give me the name.” but above all they worship a group of gods they call the
— Ptamon of the Khu, Drakari. It is said that the Drakari were reptilian humanoids
lying to a thief. that once ruled the land but nobody has seen one in at least
a thousand years. Beyond the borders of the Kingdom,
Introduction most believe they are a myth.
The great Storm over Elal Ushria carries rainwater away
from the Kingdom of Glass, leaving a desert behind, and The Kingdom is home to many experienced sailors, and
deposits it over the Kingdom of Serpents where it falls upon the region boasts more ocean vessels than any other. The
the three Storm Spire Mountains before flowing down riv- majority are for trade, but they also have the largest navy
ers into the floodplains below. As a result, the Kingdom of in the world.
Serpents has become mostly swampland and marsh.
The people of this land are called the Kamasi, which
The difficult and dangerous terrain makes large cities un- means literally “people of the serpent”.
common. Instead the population is clustered around many
small villages scattered along the rivers, most only a day or
Terrain and Climate region at this time was not as wet as it is today and there
The swamps and marshes of the Kingdom of Serpents were temperate plains and forests instead of swamps. They
contain some of the most diverse and abundant life in all began farming and lived off the land, and for several centu-
Altais. The murky waters flow slowly and provide an ideal ries had little contact with the rest of the world. During this
breeding ground for all manner of plant, animal, and insect. time they traded with small tribes who lived in the forest
Mosses, lichens, and fungi are the most common plants, and learnt of their Gods: ancient reptiles who watched over
some growing to enormous size, while giant trees with long the forest and its people.
drooping branches are common and form a canopy over
most of the region. The villagers and tribespeople began to intermarry and
eventually became one. It is said that the Gods began to
There are thousands of species of snake and eel living appear and walk amongst the people. They were called the
in the waters. Giant reptiles prey on large birds that come Drakari, and they gave the people magic and armed them
to eat the insects, and the largest serpent of all, the Amasi with steel and led them to war with the surrounding lands.
Monarch, moves through the forests knocking trees over
as it passes. Fear of the Drakari spread. It was said they walked like a
human but looked like a reptile, that they rode upon huge
To the west a narrow pass through the Stormwall winged serpents that breathed fire. They conquered hun-
Mountains leads to the Kingdom of Rust, and past the dreds of other small towns and villages and soon all in the
Storm Spires to the south lies the Kingdom of Storms. To region had surrendered.
the north and east the Kingdom of Serpents is bordered
by the ocean, and beyond lie many islands and the lands of Through conquest, the village grew into a mighty city
Ghoskoya. and the people built huge stone temples in honour of their
Gods. These buildings could be seen shining from far out at
The region has two seasons, warm and cold, each of sea and the city was renamed Amonastra, the Great Jewel.
which lasts for about half the year. During the warm season
the swamp becomes hot and humid, there is an increase in In neighbouring regions other Kingdoms had also begun
the number of insects, and the waters flow fast and treach- to form, and while there were some early conflicts it was
erous. During the cold season the temperature drops sharp- here that the advance of the Drakari was halted by the pow-
ly, the waters move slowly, and on rare occasions can even erful magics of the nascent Kingdoms. Treaties were drawn
48 freeze. up, bringing an end to war and dividing the world up be-
tween them, and the northeastern quarter of the continent
became the Kingdom of Dragons.
History
The Kingdom War of the Third Age left many cities in ruin. Amonastra became a mighty civilisation, one of the great
Refugees fleeing the burning of Korm travelled south and wonders of the Third Age. The Drakari ruled it for thou-
settled a village in a forest at the mouth of a large river. The sands of years and people came just to lay eyes on a living
God and to see the huge reptiles they rode. There are sto-
ries that the Drakari blessed those who were most loyal to Most Kamasi live in small villages with populations
them, changing them with lost magics so that the Blood of of only a few hundred, densely scattered throughout the
the Dragon flowed through their veins. Called the Kakari, Kingdom, each about a day’s travel from its neighbours.
these people were said to have skin like bronze and serpent’s Most people wear clothes made from animal hide, predom-
eyes, and possessed a great magic of their own. They were inantly soft scaled leather due to the relative abundance
put in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the Kingdom, as of reptiles in the environment, but some also wear furs.
the Drakari gradually became more reclusive and tended to Fabrics woven from plant fibres are uncommon.
keep to the temples, content to be worshipped. The land is divided into provinces, each controlled by
one of the largest families, called the Stikati. The head of
The Fall each Stikati rules and is called the Kari. Above them stands
Very little is known about what occurred in Amonastra dur- the Amonkari, the king of kings who rules over the whole
ing the Fall. Unlike other Kingdoms there were not many Kingdom from their palace in Amonastra. While the Kari
records kept at this time, and what little is known is largely are the Kingdom’s nobility, the Akubesh are the priest-
guesswork. There are descriptions that the ground shook hood, acting as the voices of the Drakari and tending to the
and new mountains appeared, the air filled with dust, and spiritual needs of the people.
magic began to fail. A great wind swept over the Kingdom
that lasted for months, then the rain began to fall and the The Kamasi have a very different view of each type of
whole region flooded. It has been swampland ever since. magic: Wild Magic is believed to be a divine gift and the
It is known that the city of Amonastra was at least par-
tially submerged, the Drakari disappeared, and the Kakari
turned on one another in a struggle for dominance. It took
hundreds of years for the wars to subside and the Kingdom
to unify once more, only now it was a fraction of its former
size.

The city of Elal Ushria had crashed in the Southern 49


Plains, an area that once belonged to the Kingdom of
Dragons. The Storm Spire Mountains had appeared during
the chaos, and a great storm now filed the area just beyond
them. The northern peninsula had shattered during the
Fall, and split away to become a collection of islands and
the land of Ghoskoya. What land the Kingdom retained
had become swamp, the Drakari were gone, and the Kakari
had fought each other to extinction.

Guided by the priests, a new government slowly formed,


and the city of Amonastra was rebuilt. The people began
to style their lives after the legends of the Drakari, taking
words from their language and worshipping serpents. The
people began referring to the region as the Kingdom of
Serpents and the name stuck.

Life and Culture


Kamasi culture is heavily influenced by their belief in the
Drakari, and many seek to emulate their gods in all things to
show them honour and respect. The Kingdom of Serpents
is one of the few lands where there is no worship of the
Celestials; indeed the Kamasi find the idea of worshipping
a light in the sky to be a bit strange — after all, their Gods
actually walked among them, and they believe it’s only a
matter of time before they return.
The Sacred Three
Three is also a sacred number. The Drakari are believed to
be born without gender and they adopt one of three as they
reach adulthood based on the needs of the population.

So the Kamasi do likewise:

Children are not differentiated into genders based on


sole province of the Akubesh; those outside the priesthood their physical sex, instead they are considered genderless
are forbidden from practising it lest they anger the Drakari. until they reach the age of twelve and undergo the rites
Blaze Magic was the gift of the Kakari and only those of of adulthood. The gender assigned depends on the career
noble blood may wield it, while Tempest and Pattern Magic they are entering, although this is rarely a choice; most chil-
are believed to be foreign magics that will taint the spiritual dren adopt one of their parents’ professions. For example
purity of the Kamasi and are therefore frowned upon. Void it is common to find families of blacksmiths who all share
Magic is outright forbidden as the source of all impurity the same gender which is passed, along with their profes-
and sin. sion, from parent to child. The one exception is that any
Kamasi may choose to forswear their inherited profession
The Sacred Six and gender by joining the Akubesh, taking on a new role
The statues of the Drakari all clearly show their six limbs and gender as given to them by the order. In order to make
— two arms, two legs, two wings. Upheld as the epitome of sure their gender, profession, and tukufi is obvious to all,
form, the people are encouraged to adopt this symbology the Kamasi paint their faces with a set of complex patterns,
in their daily life. Six is considered the most holy of num- each of which represents part of their life and who they are.
bers; there are six days in a week, and the sixth day of the These markings are considered to be their “face”, more so
month is considered a fortuitous day. Six people are the than the flesh and blood beneath. To not wear these mark-
ideal start to a new household, buildings are built with six ings, or to paint the wrong ones, is considered extremely
sides, and the Kingdom has six provinces. deceptive and dishonourable.
The basic unit of Kamasi society is the household or Once a gender has been assigned it is considered difficult
50 tukufi which usually forms around six adults who pool to change: the person is expected to carry out all the duties
their resources, possessions, and land for the benefit of the of their profession and gender, and can only change after
family. Forming a new tukufi is treated more like a business seeking permission from the Akubesh and undergoing a
arrangement than a matter of love, and it is common for difficult rite of spiritual change which is never undertaken
there to be heavy negotiation between the members’ fami- lightly.
lies before the household is finalised. Children of a house-
hold are looked after equally by all members regardless of The genders are more than just a description of a person,
who physically gave birth to them, and there is no concept they suggest certain traits about their personality, and con-
of “mother” or “father”, just family and parents. Having six tain metaphors both intentionally emphasised by society
children is considered to be very fortuitous for the family and those that run subtly beneath the surface. Each gender
and is believed to bring the whole household good luck. contains associations described below, and while a person is
expected to behave in a manner appropriate to their gender,
Children usually inherit the profession of a parent that many of these associations are contradictory and no one
seems to suit them best, although this doesn’t often provide tries to hold them all.
a lot of choice. Most families form around shared experi-
ence and social status so it is common for only two or three The Genders are:
different professions to be represented within a tukufi —
and even then they are usually similar ones. Ka: Neutral or without gender. All people are born
ØØ

neutral and indeed “Ka” is the Kamasi word for “peo-
The youngest child is expected to stay in the family home ple”. It is also symbolically associated with impulsive
and look after the parents as they grow old, and they usually behaviour, and children are said to run and play with the
inherit the house and land when the last of them dies. impatience and recklessness of Ka. This non-gender is
replaced with one of the other three genders once a per-
son reaches adulthood and takes up a profession. Only
the Amonkari remains Ka — simultaneously genderless
and of all genders.
Tatra: This gender is characterised as warm, nurturing,
ØØ
  The Kamasi also do not distinguish between sexualities.
and deadly. It is the provider of life, and can take life People may hold a personal preference for one gender or
away just as swiftly. It is both the protector and the be- physical sex but there is no specific word for it.
trayer. The swamp is Tatra and so is a bloody blade. This
gender includes soldiers, midwives, butchers, apothecar-
ies, and merchants.
Asti: The Asti is believed to be pragmatic, enduring, and
ØØ

flexible, and it both shapes and destroys. Asti includes
Gender Pronouns
the ocean, stone, wood, and a sturdy ship. This gender
In the Kamasi language the genders also serve
applies to blacksmiths, farmers, military commanders,
as pronouns, often shortened for convenience.
and shipwrights.
If referring to a soldier for example, instead of
Djama: The Djama is thought of as knowledgeable,
ØØ
  “he/she has gone to fight” they would say “Ta
wise, and deceptive. It is imagination and creation, but has gone to fight”. When talking about the
also subterfuge and illusion. It is prone to flights of fan- Amonkari, it’s “Ka has decreed…”, and likewise
tasy and moments of insight. The rain is Djama, as is when referring to a child at play it is “Ka is out-
the written word. It also covers beautiful paintings, the side in the yard”.
song of birds, and ancient books. This gender includes
scribes, priests, poets, artists and cooks. The shortened pronouns for each gender are:
The physical sex someone is born with is not something Ka Tatra Asti Djama
the Kamasi give much thought to. They have no words in
their language for “male” or “female” and the issue only re- He/she ka ta ast dja
ally comes up when talking about a family’s ability to repro- His/hers kas tas asts djas
duce, something which is usually a private affair. If neces-
sary they simply use the words for the physical reproductive When in doubt you can always refer to them as
51
organs involved and might mention the number of “kupta” the neutral: “they” or “them”.
and “fadra” in the family (“There will be no children, it’s a
six fadra household.”).

There are many professions and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of the common ones and the
gender they belong to:

Ka Tatra Asti Djama


Children Karimatet* Makheba* Nesenti*
The Amonkari Tekhet* Basentu* Djaren*
Katesh Khu Hekari
Soldiers Blacksmiths Scribes
Midwives Farmers Priests
Butchers Military Commanders Poets
Apothecaries Builders Artists
Merchants Shipwrights Cooks
Assassins Caretakers Performers
Judges Sculptors Dyers
Sailors Tailors Musicians
* Indicates the gender of those who follow the martial teachings of their Stikati (see below), however not all do. For exam-
ple a blacksmith who is part of the Karimatet family has the Asti gender of their profession, rather than the Tatra gender
shared by those who follow the Karimatet teachings.
Social Classes and other life-forms that thrive in the wet environment.
The upper class of Kamasi society contains the wealthy and The peasants are taxed heavily by the Stikati and are often
powerful and is dominated by the Stikati families. Other quite poor as a result.
tukufi who have also achieved a measure of wealth and
power may also be counted as part of the upper class but Even lower in the social hierarchy are the swamp slaves,
are always subservient to the Stikati. those who have been so heavily disgraced that they have lost
all right to be considered Kamasi at all. They are treated as
Unlike in other Kingdoms where most of the upper class animals, worked as slaves, and provided the bare minimum
live in excessive privilege at the expense of those less fortu- needed to survive. It is tradition to pretend such people do
nate, most within Kamasi society take an active role in the not exist except when an order needs to be given to them.
running of the Kingdom and it is common for nobles to
tend fields, fight in wars, or work a blacksmith’s forge. They Crime and Justice
certainly still enjoy the luxuries of their wealth and are likely The legal system in the Kingdom of Serpents is built around
to have more servants to help them, better tools, and an the Adjakari or “Tenets of the Dragon”, a set of holy laws
easier time than those with less wealth, but all must do their passed down from the time before the Fall. The Akubesh
part for the glory of the Amonkari. are the interpreters of these rules, claiming they were put in
place by the Drakari and are a sacred part of Kamasi life. It
The middle class consist of traders, crafters, sailors, and is therefore not simply illegal, but actually blasphemous to
similar laborious professions. They run the shops, create break any of the rules of the Adjakari.
the weapons and armour used by the Stikati, and generally
form the backbone of the Kingdom’s labour. The Akubesh In addition to covering laws against theft, murder, and
are also often counted amongst their number, although the similar, the Adjakari also prohibits speaking the name of
wealth of each individual priest varies greatly and some may the Drakari, using their gifts without the sanction of the
find themselves spending their time advising nobility while Akubesh, heretical speaking, and the violation of temples.
others bring the blessings of the Drakari to the peasants in
the fields. Notably the laws go on at length about the heresy of
harming or mistreating that which bears the divine form.
In the lower class are the peasants who tend to the This is usually interpreted to be a prohibition against harm-
Kingdom’s swamp farms, cultivating edible mosses, eels, ing any reptile with four legs and two wings, and is consid-
52
ered one of the most serious crimes.
Factions
Power within the Kingdom of Serpents is stretched thin be-
tween the rule of the Amonkari, the political machinations While all within the Stikati are considered noble, not all
of the five other Kari, and the secret plots of the Akubesh. are equal. At the head of each is the Kari who rules over
the family and one of the Kingdom’s provinces. Those with
The Akubesh — Priests of the Drakari direct blood ties to the Kari are considered higher ranking
The Akubesh are an order of priests who preside over the than the more distant relatives, and this keeps the leader-
rituals of life and death and the passage from childhood to ship confined to a small core bloodline of just a dozen or so
adulthood. They provide dispensation for those who wish members while the family as a whole may grow to encom-
to move against the common flow and be realigned to a pass hundreds. Of the six Stikati, one stands above others
new profession and identity. They also administer the sac- — the Karimatet has long held the reins of power within
rifices to the Drakari of blood and wealth. Those who have the Kingdom, and their ruler bears the title of Amonkari,
committed a great shame can volunteer their bodies as sac- King of Kings.
rifice and so prevent that shame from tainting their family. The leadership within a Stikati usually remains with the
The Akubesh uphold the laws of the Adjakari and punish same bloodline for hundreds of years, although coups do
those who break them. They also act as advisers to the no- occasionally occur which results in one branch of the family
bility and as spiritual leaders to the people. Some seek out usurping control from another. Competition between the
divine visions to commune with their gods, while others different Stikati is also common and they frequently vie
use their status for political power and wield the will of the with one another for the Amonkari’s favour. Some have
gods as a weapon for personal gain. even plotted to take the title for themselves, although none
would openly admit to such treason.
Publicly the Akubesh serve the Kari as advisers and dip-
lomats, helping with matters related to learning and faith. The Kari have a strained relationship with the Akubesh,
Privately they believe the Kari’s claim to divine descent to believing them to be antiquated troublemakers and fearing
be heresy but dare not stand against them for fear of their their claim that the Drakari may return and take back their
military might. positions of power. They dare not act against the Akubesh
for fear of angering the people.
Above all they prepare for the return of the Drakari and 53
do all that they can to hasten the coming of that day. Each Stikati has its own martial combat style consisting
of secret techniques they carefully protect from rival fami-
Within the Akubesh there are several orders: lies. They view these martial styles as an art form and some-
times put on displays of prowess, but they are also used
The Hekari are the priests of the Drakari, spreading
ØØ
  to uphold law and order, and many political disputes have
their teachings and practising the divine gifts of Wild been resolved with duels between members.
Magic that their Gods bestowed upon them.
Not all within the Stikati follow military teachings. Those
The Katesh look after the temples and tend to the sa-
ØØ
  who marry into the families bring their occupations with
cred creatures. They swim with the serpents and look
them and their children may choose to pursue those crafts
after the divine karifi, eels that are used in holy cere-
in place of learning the art of war, however it is common
monies.
for the eldest and sometimes the second eldest to take up
It is whispered that the Akubesh have a third order, the
ØØ
  the Stikati’s martial arts.
Khu: Assassins who strike down those who threaten the
return of the Drakari. The six Stikati are:

The Stikati — Imperial Families Karimatet: The Children of the Dragon and the School
ØØ

While the Akubesh are the spiritual leaders of the Kamasi, of the Burning Blade. They are the ruling Stikati, the
six noble families hold the political and civil power within family of the Amonkari, and claim to be the descendants
the Kingdom of Serpents. Larger by far than other fami- of the Kakari. Their draconic blood grants them alone
lies, these households encompass hundreds of members, the right to rule and through it they practise a secret
some of whom married in while others have been adopted
as a reward for past services. These families are called the
Stikati, and each one is dedicated to perfecting a form of
combat or warfare.
technique called the Breath of the Dragon. They are Djaren: The Twin Fangs practise duelling with two
ØØ

immediately recognisable by the distinctive wave-blad- blades. They are renowned for their speed and aggres-
ed swords they wield and their ability to conjure flames siveness, never allowing a defeated foe to live. It is ru-
on their blades. moured they have ties to organised crime, which they
Tekhet: The Serpent Knights patrol the swamps hunt- of course deny, but their agents become more open and
ØØ

ing large prey — the bigger the better. They claim to reckless with their activities every year. Many Djaren be-
be protecting the villagers from wild animals but take a lieve they can do whatever they like and no one would
little too much pride in the trophies they collect, often dare stop them… and they may be right.
hunting beasts that are nowhere near any civilisation. Nesenti: The Chain Dancers merge combat and perfor-
ØØ

They wield a long-bladed polearm called a tekmaku. mance, believing more than any others that their skills
Basentu: The Dragon Fists were once a small family are an art form. They wield the senka, a blade on a long
ØØ

within the Tuashi Stikati, but after the Tuashi were dis- chain which they whirl about their bodies with speed
graced, hunted and executed, they swore off all weap- and grace in what is as much a dance as an attack.
ons and instead embraced new techniques involving un- Makheba: The Iron Walls take the least interest in the
ØØ

armed combat. They are the youngest and smallest of politics of the Kingdom. They are stoic and resilient,
the Stikati, and many do not trust them fully, believing believing in law and order above all. They guard the
that they may still hold some allegiance to the disgraced border with the Kingdom of Rust and in many cities
Tuashi. they have taken over the duties of the city watch and
the local law enforcement. They wield a spear and large
shield.
The Senkhet — Pirate Syndicates
The Senkhet are privateers that usually shelter in the
Kingdom of Serpents. From there they sail all the oceans
of Altais, trading between the many Kingdoms and com-
mitting acts of piracy against those foolish enough to en-
counter them in open waters. Under Amonastra law, they
54
are granted amnesty for all their crimes so long as none
of them are committed against Kamasian interests, and of
course they pay a percentage to the Amonkari. Excellent
sailors, fighters, and traders, they can be found in almost
every port in the world and are often hired as smugglers,
thieves, and worse. Although they are skilled in such are-
as, they are not always the most reliable and can often be
bribed to abandon a mission.

The Tuashi — Fallen Usurpers


The southeastern province around the city of Eptatu was
once ruled by a Stikati called the Tuashi. They specialised in
a fighting style using a three-bladed katar called the Claws
of the Dragon. Their Kari, Kashut, was a power-hungry
youth who expanded his land into rival territories and won
battle after battle. It’s said that the Tuashi grew increasingly
unstable over time.

Fifty-three years ago, Kashut plundered the temples of


the Akubesh, going deeper than was permitted, deeper than
even the Hekari were allowed to go. It is said that down
below in the chambers that only the Drakari are allowed
to see, Kashut underwent a change. The creature that re-
turned was more reptile than human, twisted and mutated
by whatever lay deep below the ground.

The creature that was once Kashut proclaimed it-


self Drakari and led the Tuashi to march on Amonastra.
They won many battles along the way and may well have
conquered the land, but the changes had begun to affect The Kamasi use a system of currency involving two types
Kashut’s mind. By the time they reached the capital, the of coins:
Tuashi Kari was ranting at the sky and shouting for the
Amonkari to come out and fight in single combat. The Rit are small square coins forged from ritra. They are
ØØ

Amonkari obliged and easily slew the deranged Kashut, usually filled with impurities, dark in colour, and quite
who charged snarling and hissing without form or finesse. brittle. They are sometimes broken to make smaller de-
nominations. Most peasants earn 1–2 rit per day.
With Kashut dead, the people’s faith in the Amonkari Dema are short sticks carved from adema, from which
ØØ

was restored. The Akubesh were quick to proclaim the they get their name. They are about as long and thick as
Tuashi Kari a false god (but only after Kashut was dead), a finger, polished to a dark shine, and covered in intri-
and the Stikati rallied to defeat the remains of the Tuashi cate carvings that make them difficult to forge. Dema
forces. The survivors retreated back to their home city of come in two different denominations: a 1 dema rod
Eptatu where they held out for months. They finally fell worth 6 rit, and a slightly larger rod worth 6 dema.
when a small branch of their family, the Basentu, betrayed
them from within.
The Language of Serpents
The Tuashi family were slain, the city of Eptatu was Kamash is the language of the Kingdom of Serpents. It
razed to the ground, and the Basentu were rewarded for evolved from an ancient language spoken in Korm during
their loyalty by being elevated to the Stikati. Their monas- the Third Age and its development was heavily influenced
tery Nemet in the nearby hills became their seat of pow- by Dras, the language of the Drakari. Although not widely
er, and they have been expanding it into a city ever since. spoken outside the Kingdom, the Senkhet have carried it
The Tuashi are said to be extinct, but every now and again to many trade cities around the world where it has blended
rumours of them resurface. So far no surviving members with the slang languages used by sailors. It’s often joked
have been found. that you should never sail on a ship unless the crew can at
least curse in Kamash.

Economics and Trade Alphabet


Food is bountiful in the fertile swampland of the Kingdom The alphabet is among the most complex ever used on
and is traded to nearby cities. Other trade goods include Altais. With over forty different letters, many of which have 55
leather, precious stones (most commonly quartz, agate, and multiple sounds, it can be a difficult language to learn.
opal), and adema — wood that has spent hundreds of years
submerged in the swamp and has begun to fossilise. It is Words tend to be built around 2–5 consonants with vow-
hard and strong, and the marshy environment stains it dark els in between each one. The vowels are always pronounced
brown or black. It can be carved into beads, amulets, and with a long sound.
other decorative items, and often fetches a good price in
trade. As A E I O U
Several types of durable hardwood also grow within the Gh Ba Be Fi Mon Bu
swampy environment, and are harvested and traded to Kh Dra De Dji Yo Hu
neighbouring Kingdoms. Some varieties are particularly Pt Ha He Ri Gu
good for shipbuilding and fetch the highest price. Sh Fa Me Si Ku
One of the more unusual trade goods to come out of the T Ga Ne Sti Tu
Kingdom is medicine. No other place in Altais has such a St Dja Ren Ti
large variety of tinctures, salves, and poultices to soothe all Ka Sen
ailments. Poisons are also more common although no less
Ma Te
illegal than in other regions.
Ra Ye
Iron is harvested from natural deposits which build up Tra
in the swampy water, however it tends to be crude and
filled with impurities compared to that produced by other
Kingdoms. This iron is called ritra or bog-iron, and while
used locally to make cheap tools it is generally inferior, mak-
ing high-quality iron and even steel one of the Kingdom’s
major imports.
56 Nabon
The Kingdom of Ash shape of the royal crest using fine sprays of white silver. For
these wonders the region became known as the Kingdom
The westernmost Kingdom, and the site of the Fall, is of Fountains and many of the Vaelyth still use this name,
named for the grey dust that blotted out the sky and which but to everyone else it’s the Kingdom of Ash.
continues to blanket the area. It’s a harsh land, struggling
During the Fall, the King was slain by his son Prince
to recover from the worst disaster in the world’s history.
Aradan, who swore fealty to the Rephaim. As a reward they
Plant and animal life are often stunted by the high levels of
remade him as Vaelyth, granting him immortality and pow-
radiation that still fill the area, but they are slowly adapting.
er, and named him custodian of the Kingdom.
The people of this region reflect the nature of the land, of-
ten frail and sickly in appearance. Most live in small towns The people of Nabon call themselves Nabonians.
and villages, and struggle to grow enough food to survive,
but they too are adapting. It’s not just the land that’s against The Rise of the Rephaim
them though; the Rephaim lurk beyond the Veil, and their When the Celestial Maria fell from the sky, it ripped the
servants the Vaelyth rule over the major cities in their stead. land apart, created the Bay of Sorrow, and tore a hole in the
Veil through which the Rephaim appeared. These spectral
The capital city is Nabon, built during the Third Age on figures seek to conquer all the places where humans dwell
the ruins of mighty Aroja. It became famous for its many and to add the conquered to their armies.
magical fountains that used magic to spray liquid diamond,
rainbows of light, and jets of flame. The grandest of Scholars have identified two different kinds of Rephaim:
all floated in the centre of the city: hundreds of carved The Greater ones retain a semblance of the person they
figures slowly orbited one another as they created the once were, and being still partially solid, are able to enter
our universe and interact with it normally. Only two ap-
peared during the Fall, ancient and powerful, and wielding
technology from a past age and a past world. Most of
the Rephaim are of the Lesser variety, people who
have succumbed to the radiation of the Void. They
lack free will and are only extensions of the Greater
Ash grows. Year by year the grey land steps a little further east, bleeding the
colour from the lands of Rust and Beasts. The people who live in these wasted
lands also lose their colour and their heart. The young grow sickly and the old die
early.

The Rephaim are blamed for this blight. The whimpering Conventicle preaches
this to their huddled masses. It is said to be their fell touch upon the world that
taints it, that even beyond the walls of the Veil they drink the life of the land.

Idiots.

The land is dying thanks to the poison which seeps from Maria’s corpse. The
Fall opened her tainted heart and nothing living can survive her rot. It’s not the
Rephaim that taint this land, but their own blessed Celestial.

57
Rephaim’s thoughts, communicating through a form of
hive mind. They are ephemeral and can only enter our uni-
verse for a short time. If they stay too long, they begin to
fade away and are forced back into the Void, a fact which
makes direct attacks by Rephaim armies very rare. During
the Fall an army of Lesser Rephaim appeared, many wear-
ing foreign and alien clothing and carrying unrecognisable
weapons. Since then many of the Altaen people have suc-
cumbed to the taint of the Void and joined their ranks.

The Rephaim create human servants called Vaelyth to be


their eyes and hands on Altais. They are the Rephaim’s gen-
erals, their soldiers, and their spies. Their flesh and bones
are woven together within huge machines deep in the Void
where they are instilled with an uncompromising loyalty to
their masters. Sometimes this programming doesn’t hold
and a Vaelyth manages to break free and develop a per-
sonality of their own; these Unbound are forced to flee
their former masters and take refuge amongst the other
Kingdoms.

In addition to Prince Aradan, three other Vaelyth have


been promoted above the rest. They rule over the Kingdom
of Ash from separate keeps, sometimes waging war with
one another, a sign that perhaps the Rephaim are not all
united.
58

Va’aj Ta’uk
The Kingdom of Blood so much gold that the walls of their halls were lined with
it, giving the Kingdom its name. When the Fall came, the
Va’aj Ta’uk. It’s a name that makes people shudder in fear, ground shook and many tunnels collapsed. The magic that
but this wasn’t always the case. It was once a magnificent moved the Golden Gates, the mighty doors to the world
marvel, The Kingdom of Gold, a mighty underground em- above, failed and they could no longer be opened. The
pire that spanned most of the known world. Their Stone Stone Weavers found their powers no longer worked, and
Weavers could shape solid rock as if it were clay and they the entire Kingdom — millions of people — were trapped
used this to create thousands of miles of interconnected underground.
tunnels and chambers — some large enough to hold entire
cities. Without trade with the surface, food became incredibly
scarce. Cities waged war with one another over what re-
Va’aj was the source of most of the gold and other met- mained and in time even that was used up. The few animals
als used throughout the Kingdoms, and through trade with they had were slaughtered and eaten, and the underground
the surface they soon became incredibly wealthy. They had lakes were fought over for the fish they contained. The few
edible fungi and moulds that grew on the tunnel walls were
not abundant enough to feed the whole population, and
Under the earth lies darkness. In that darkness, which drowns your sight and
chokes your breath, lies terror. Terror which walks just out of hearing, following
you as you stumble through slick tunnels. You trip blindly, and who can say if
you tripped over ancient wonder or ancient corpse? Will you spend your limited
light to see? Will you burn a torch to light up this enormous tomb, lined in gold,
drowned in blood? What will you do when you see what has been following you,
creeping closer and closer with every heartbeat, and hungry — so very hungry?
When you see what has survived in these halls, what will you do?

There is nowhere to flee to when you venture under the earth.

And eventually, your torch will go out.

I would not walk there again.

59
people began raiding and looting. It wasn’t long before
they began eating the only thing that remained: each other.

For over a thousand years they were trapped beneath the


ground, until people on the surface started excavating old
ruins in search of ancient treasure and reopened the passag-
es to the world below.

They found the gold walls, covered in blood, preserved


by the same magic that once preserved the tunnels. They
found the ancient chambers littered with bones. Then they
found the tribes of pale cannibals, and their expedition
came to a sudden end. The population of millions has fall-
en to a few dozen small tribes that view meat as sacred. It
must be worshipped and consumed so its divine essence
may be taken into the body. Meat must not be wasted. To
allow meat to go to waste is the greatest crime one can
commit. These tribes call themselves the Ti’gu, but oth-
ers call them Fleshlings.

Now that the passages have been reopened,


the Fleshlings have begun raiding the sur-
rounding villages, abducting people and
carrying them back down into the tun-
nels to be devoured.
Migration. No one knows the oceans like the Sorrowborne,
in fact their navigators are the only ones who can keep a
Arda steady course while away from shore, and so they alone can
travel the deep ocean between continents. They do this us-
The Kingdom of Tears ing no tools or instruments, instead relying on their own
senses, the stars, and the movement of the currents to guide
Far across the sea to the east lies the only Kingdom locat- them. These techniques are a carefully kept secret, passed
ed on another continent. Once the Kingdom of Song, the through oral tradition and song.
people that lived there were some of the greatest musicians
of the Third Age. Their magical music could conjure vi- Sorrowborne culture revolves completely around the
sions of mighty castles and brave heroes and could shift ocean and the weather. They think of the world in terms
the emotions of even the most stalwart listener. Some trav- of the waves and currents, chart coastlines with no care to
elled to this land to hear music that healed the body and what lies further inland, and view the other Kingdoms as
brought peace to the mind, while others came just for the strange and alien. Families are the most important part of
entertainment. their society, each ship is a family and people only change
ships when marrying from one into another. The families
The Kingdom of Song survived the Fall intact; their are matrilineal: names and possessions are passed through
magics were disrupted for a time but they were far from the men of the mother’s side, so uncles have more impor-
the physical impact and their society emerged otherwise tance than fathers.
unscathed. Their fall came later. In the centre of the capital
city of Arda lay an ancient remnant of the Eesa, one of the All Sorrowborne tattoo their bodies with their stories.
sky ships that first carried the people to the ground. This Through patterns, shapes, and symbols they describe them-
huge structure had lain dormant for millennia until one selves and their life in a language that they alone can read.
day the ghosts appeared: pale blue apparitions that spoke On the front of the sailor are their personal marks. Their
a language that no one could decipher, and the sickness family crest is usually over the heart, with a smaller echo on
60 the right cheek. Their lives, journeys, and children they have
followed.
parented all form part of a unique pattern tracing across
It spread through the population in a matter of years. their chest in circles, swirls and lines. On their face appears
People grew pale, sickly, and started to lose their hair and their rank, ship and family, depicted through an intricate
die. No cure could be found, no magical treatment worked, pattern of interlocking symbols. The face is also reserved
and with the rest of the world still recovering from the Fall for the markings that brand someone a traitor or criminal.
there was no one else to ask for help. The people took to
their ships and fled to the ocean. They tried travelling to Across their back, designs represent the ports the sailor
other lands but everywhere they went they found chaos has visited. Beginning above the pelvis the symbol of their
and war and moved on. Eventually they stopped trying to ship is first inked, then winding up the spine there will be
find a new home and stayed at sea, the Kingdom be- circles indicating the ports visited. Fine details around the
came the Kingdom of Tears and its displaced people edge of each may describe the connections made in that
the Sorrowborne. place, or trouble found. Triangles and trapezoids link the
circles, indicating passages at sea that the Sorrowborne
The Sorrowborne has navigated. All of these tattoos are updated constantly
Today the Sorrowborne travel the oceans of throughout the sailor’s life.
Altais in great fleets of ships numbering in the
thousands. Occasionally small groups will break
away and make port at a city, conducting repairs
and trade before once more returning to the
The Children of Tears are known all along the coasts of Altais. Their ships carry
luxuries and gossip, and the tattooed sailors profit from their life on the move,
continually sailing from one dawn to the next. Their customers rarely ask — where
is Tears? Or, more accurately, where was Tears?

Out of reach to most, far beyond the horizon, lies the Kingdom of Tears. The
ships of the Sorrowborne are the only reliable way to reach this place, and they do
not take passengers on this voyage. It is the Long Road, and at the end of it lies a
city of spires, shrouded in mist from the sea. It is said that it is death to walk the
streets of this city. It is said that the life drains from your body with every breath.

So naturally, I had to go and see for myself.

No lonelier place have I ever walked, no place that so seemed to weep for what
it had lost. Not even the holograms with their warnings could
offer comfort from the sense of emptiness that filled those
streets.
61

The Fountain
Standing tall out in the deep ocean, where none but the
Sorrowborne would venture, the Fountain is a citadel from
the First Age: a tall lattice-work tower of iron with roots
that reach to the sea floor. Within its heart are great ma-
chines and many pipes that seep a steady supply of naph-
tha — highly prized across Altais. Many nations would give
a great deal to know where the Sorrowborne obtain their
supply, and the sailors only encourage speculation with tall
tales and contradictory explanations.

The Fountain is the closest thing the Sorrowborne have


to a capital city. Away from the eyes of the mainland, the
Captains use it to meet and pool information about the
currents and deeps of Altais. It takes a crisis that threatens
all families to summon all the Captains to the Fountain at
once, to meet in council and make lasting decisions affect-
ing all the tall ships. Some choose to live at the Fountain,
tending to its maintenance and looking after those who are
too sick or old to travel the waves, but most visit it only a
few times in their lives.
I read the pompous words of an ancient poet who described the Land of Flowers
as some form of surreal dream. As I understand it no two animals or plants were
alike; indeed, the distinction between plant and animal was all but erased. The trees
sang and flocks of skites would bloom in the grass, only to take wing and soar in a
dazzling display of colour. The people used their ready access to the Wild to grow and
breed life in a multitude of forms, striving towards some fragile image of beauty that
only they understood. Their works were carried by tourists all across the land and it is
difficult to say now that any creature you find today does not have an ancestor who
grew in Flowers.

Today, Beasts have overrun Flowers. While you may think yourself still in the
dream, the fantasies are now of blood and fang, and they will rip you apart to water
their blossoms.

Lesulani
The Kingdom of Beasts has mostly healed but pockets of unpredictable time still re-
main, making travel through the region perilous. The city of
62
Little remains of the Kingdom of Flowers. Lesulani was Lesulani lies in ruins, empty and abandoned, for it remains
once a thriving city that prided itself on its gardens and the most dangerous location in the Kingdom, its streets still
menageries, but its greatest achievement was the Shapers. warped by the temporal magic the Shapers
These mages mastered magic to such a degree that they unleashed. The few descendants of its
could use it to breed all manner of unusual plants and ani- people are called the Kanaka and
mals, weaving Pattern to make genetic alterations and Wild they roam the land as nomadic
to evolve a species thousands of generations in a day. tribes who live off the bounty
of the forest and shun out-
When the Fall occurred, they saw the light of the im- siders.
pact in the distance and the shock wave of dust and debris
rushing towards them. In a panic, several of the most pow-
erful Shapers reached out with their magic and sought to
stop time, to undo what had been done, but the Veil was
stretched thin from the impact of the Celestial and ripped
wide open. The world and the Wild merged and time
went haywire. In some areas a hundred years passed in
a second, while in others time came almost to a stop.

In the thousand years since, the beautiful gardens


have grown into forests filled with alien and terrifying
creatures never seen anywhere else on Altais. The Veil
When one is weary of the civilised lands, there is always a new horizon to explore.
The empires of the past reached to every inch of this continent — and beyond — so
the intrepid can always leave the familiar behind and seek out treasure in forgotten
places.

But what those who seek adventure often forget is that some places are desolate
not because they are forgotten, but because they are perilous. In my travels I have had
reason to venture into the dark, into the wild, into the cold and the blighted. I have
never found any treasure worth the dangers — but then I am perhaps overly fond of
the sanctity of my own skin.

Sometimes I am asked: What of these dangers? Are they simply monstrous — full
of strength and power, but easily tricked and out-thought? Are they easily avoided
once understood, like a trap that has snapped closed and now hangs useless? I reply:
If you are looking for a simple guide — look somewhere else. You will not find
answers here. Just ask yourself: are you truly wiser, stronger, swifter, than all those
who came before you?

63

Urkrym Quallisar
The Kingdom of Fiends The Lost Kingdom
A land feared and whispered about but never visited. During Quallisar is a Kingdom mentioned in ancient manuscripts
the Second Age, the Eesa defeated their enemy the Nasar and old tomes. It was said to be the largest and most beau-
and pushed them back to this area. A row of watchtowers tiful of all the Kingdoms, although accounts seem to disa-
were built to guard the border and most of them still stand gree wildly about the specifics. It was supposedly filled with
to this day, although few bother to keep watch any more. wonders the likes of which have never been seen since;
It’s been thousands of years since anyone encountered one streets lined with gems, magics long forgotten, and there
of the Nasar, and many now believe they are a myth. are even stories that it was inhabited by a race of Gods, tall
and beautiful.
The Watchtowers prevent anyone from entering or leav-
ing the Kingdom of Fiends, reducing all who try to ash in It’s impossible to know for sure if any of this is true.
a flash of light, but those who have stood at the border The Kingdom (if it even existed at all) vanished without
have seen signs of civilisation on the other side: lights in the a trace during The Fall and no one even seems to know
distance, the occasional monstrous figure riding across the where it once stood. Many adventurers, treasure hunters,
hills on beasts never seen before. It is said the Fiends have and thieves have searched for the Lost Kingdom, hoping
grotesque faces, huge mouths, and horns on their head, and to win riches, fame or glory, but none have found any trace
that they ride strange animals with only four legs. of it. Many believe that it is but a fairy tale and that no such
Kingdom ever existed, but that doesn’t stop scholars from
There are many tales of this place and the monstrous coming up with all sorts of theories about where it might be
people who live there. Stories of horrible depravity are found or what may have happened to it.
common, but all are rumour and myth, no one has been
there to see for sure.
64

Ghoskoya
The Frozen World from the sky and shattered the world, slain in battle by the
other giants.
To the North of the Kingdom of Serpents lies the frozen
land of Ghoskoya. The people, known as Ghoski, are di- Their society is built around these beliefs, and a philoso-
vided into two nations: The Sea Clans mostly live in small phy that all things are born from the Sky and perish in the
tribes and villages along the coast and frequently trade with Ocean. This duality shapes their culture and they tend to
the Kingdom of Serpents, while the Sky Clans live in the frame all ideas in terms of sky and sea.
frozen heart of the land and shun all outsiders. The two In their view, ice falls from the Sky and forms the land,
group have a bitter rivalry going back centuries and fre- thus it represents creation. Ice can be melted to provide
quently war with one another. water, so the Sky brings life. Birds fly down from the Sky
The Ghoski worship a pantheon of giants. They teach and can be hunted for food, so the Sky provides. The first
that the world was carved from ice by a giant named Uthka, people came down from the Sky, brought by Uthka, so the
who put the people upon the world and taught them how Ghoski were born of the Sky.
to live. According to their stories, it was Uthka who fell The Ocean on the other hand is salty and undrinkable.
Its salt taints water so represents waste. Water that runs to
the Ocean is lost. Even the ice that makes up the land melts
I am in two minds about which would be the worse fate: To live in the burning
cold of the Ghoskoya highlands and battle the weather and wildlife for your daily
survival, or to die in the snow being slowly devoured by butterflies. Or even worse
still, to believe that this is the best you can hope for in existence, to enjoy a brief time
in the light before the giants of darkness and ice eat the world.

What I mostly took from my visit to the frozen dung-heap off the coast of Orcia,
was that there are only so many ways you can prepare ohkar to make it edible, and
if you refuse to cook it then it will inevitably taste like medrei vomit. The people
who live here have lost the great gamble of life, they eke out their existence scattered
across the ice and take pride in testing their strength against the uncaring world.
When they do venture to warmer places, it is only to raid and to loot, bringing their
plunder home to help the clan survive until the next raid.

in summer and flows to the Ocean. The dead are given to The Ghoski revere ice and darkness: it represents safety
the Ocean, and birds that are not hunted leave across the and stability, for when the sun shines and warms the air it 65
Ocean. The Ocean symbolises death and passing and loss. causes the ice to melt, leading to avalanches and cracking
icy plateaus. They see the light and warmth as an intruder
The land of Ghoskoya is shrouded in night nine months that brings danger to their otherwise quiet lives.
of the year as a great structure called Uya’s Shield hangs
over the land and blocks out the sun. For the other three
months the sun rises in the correct position to cast a few
hours of light beneath the Shield each day, and this is the
closest thing the land has to a summer.
66

The First City For several centuries it has been a land of peace under
the management of the Cult of the Voice, but is now torn
Land of the Blue Sun between the Old Ways defended by the Cult and the desires
of a growing merchant class.
This small island located to the south of the Kingdom of
Glass formed around a volcano that erupted during the The First City
Fall. For hundreds of years it remained volcanic and barren, The largest city on the island is the First City; it bears no
but eventually the lava cooled and life spread to the island. other name. It is constructed atop the volcano and its
It wasn’t long before people settled the land and a new cul- streets run in tiers down the mountain’s sides. Most of the
ture arose around the remains of the volcano. buildings are shaped from the basalt and obsidian of the
mountain. Built around the lowest ranges are canals, hang-
The island was named by one of the original settlers who ing gardens, and terraces in which many plants and vegeta-
arrived at dawn and saw the flax flowers in full bloom, cre- bles are grown.
ating beautiful fields of blue that covered the island. Today
the island has a temperate climate. A large city is built on At the base of the mountain, where it reaches the ocean,
the top of the volcano, called the First City due to its peo- a section of the city is dedicated to trade and the harbour-
ple’s belief that it was the original landing site of the Eesa. ing of ships. Although still part of the First City, many of
Many smaller villages and farms line the coast, reaping the the islanders treat this port area as a separate city due to its
bounty of the land and sea, and the volcano contains de- size and impressive structures. In many parts of this district
posits of copper and gold which are mined for trade. the merchants have begun to take over government duties,
leading to the area being dubbed the Merchant City.
Social Classes
The land is ruled by the Assembly, a council comprised of
the priests of the Cult of the Voice and a chief appointed by
en before one of four specialised courts within the First
each village. The Assembly decides on the general day-to-
City; The Court of Second Instance tends to civil and
day affairs of the land, including taxes, trade, and city main-
criminal cases, the Military Court oversees matters of war
tenance, while the Cult sees to the religion of the people.
between the villages, the Ecclesiastical Court specialises in
The middle classes are comprised of merchants and ar- matters of faith, and the Court of the Market handles issues
tisans. Through trade with the outside world, many people of trade and barter. Each of these courts is overseen by
in the middle class have become quite wealthy, and these three judges.
material distractions have begun to draw people away from
One final chance for appeal exists — people not satis-
the teachings of the Cult.
fied with a judgement from a lesser court can appeal to the
Things are difficult for the farmers and villagers of the Court of the Voice. Nine judges stand in attendance, and
lower classes. Taxes are often high and many villages strug- every nine days the High Priestess of the Cult also joins the
gle to pay them in full, which can lead to possessions being court. Its sentences are irrevocable.
claimed and sold to make up the difference. This leads to
The Court employs soldiers to help enforce the law and
some discontent amongst the common people, but the Cult
carry out sentences. These Knights of the Voice are well
pacifies them through sermons about the good they are do-
trained in matters both martial and legal, and make sure
ing for their Goddess.
all judgements are followed and respected by the parties
involved.
Religion
Through the guidance of the Cult, the people of the Blue
Sun worship the spirit within the volcano upon which they
Economics and Trade
The main crop cultivated in the grasslands is flax. Its fibres
have built their city. It contains many caves and chasms,
are used to make clothing, and its seeds can be processed
and those who venture deep within find the mountain
for oil which is used in cooking and the manufacture of cer-
has a voice and a face. The locals call it the Herald of the 67
tain dyes and pigments. Other exports include exotic birds
Celestials and worship it as a Goddess. Few are allowed to
and their feathers, obsidian, and copper and gold from the
commune directly with the Voice, a privilege usually re-
mines. Imports include iron, spices, hardwood, and gem-
served for the priests of the Cult, but those who have heard
stones.
it find the Voice to be knowledgeable and wise, if some-
what lacking in empathy and emotion. It appears as a spec- The island uses its own coins which are rarely found in
tral humanoid figure, flickering weakly in the mountain’s other lands, and visiting merchants often prefer to barter
caves. Its voice is vaguely feminine, and it seems to know for goods rather than trust this foreign currency. As a result
a great deal about the previous Ages but refuses to answer no system of currency exchange has been established.
many questions, often stating simply “You are not ready
to access that archive”. The Voice provides the Cult with Three different coins are found on the island. The larg-
advice and guidance on many things, from the perfect time est is the Maiden, a gold coin marked with the face of the
to plant crops to whether a marriage between two parties Voice and a flax flower on the other side. The second is the
would result in children. Rock, made from a dark purplish alloy of gold and copper,
marked with an image of the First City’s main gate on one
Crime and Justice face and a mace on the other. The coin with the smallest
value is called a Tear. It has a star on one face and a skull on
Crime is not frequent on the island, at least in the areas
the other, and is forged in copper. One Maiden is worth 30
still following the advice of the Voice. Under its guidance
Rocks; one Rock is worth 60 Tears.
the islanders have established one of the more sophisticat-
ed justice systems on Altais. Each town possesses its own
court, led by the local noble and the village priest. People
from the village can file a complaint as long as it’s about a
local problem, and such issues are usually handled locally.
Cases involving nobles or priests are judged by a travelling
court of two persons; one a magister of the law, the other a
knight of the Voice.

Appeals and judgements on more serious crimes are tak-


away from the interference of the Kingdoms. All manner of
things are traded in the markets of Valuin; raw materials like
steel and wood, rare commodities such as gems and exotic
spices, as well as wondrous things excavated from ancient
ruins. There are shrines to forgotten deities and schools of
Valuin forbidden knowledge. Nations meet here to parley and no-
bles meet here to politic. The Kingdoms cast greedy eyes in
The Changing City its direction and there have been several attempts to annex
the city and its wealth, but so far it has resisted all would-be
Before the Fall, the place that would someday become Valuin conquerors.
was a simple port town, the gateway to the Kingdom of
Tides. Ships would moor at its piers with holds full of won- Layout
ders from the Kingdoms of Song, Flowers, and Fountains, The city is arranged in districts around the famed Silver
before setting off to trade with the other Kingdoms. These Heart, the largest market district in all Altais. Spiralling
ships were unlike anything that sails the seas today. They streets filled with shops and merchants trade almost
defied wind and wave with their designs, towering over the everything imaginable. Water flows down from the
water, balancing impossibly on their too-lean keels. Stormwall Mountains, carried by a long series of qanats,
and is released into five small artificial lakes within the city’s
When the land changed during the Fall, the sea fell back
centre.
and left these marvels landlocked. The warehouses were
ransacked and the ships stripped of anything useful until Many of the buildings are built in the bones of the ancient
only the skeletal struts of the once-wondrous vessels re- ships, which provide an enduring foundation that shows no
mained. Centuries passed and the grass grew where the signs of wear even after a thousand years. A high stone wall
waves used to swell, the other Kingdoms began to rebuild, stands around the whole city to dissuade invaders, yet the
and trade once again came to Valuin. gates stand wide and open to welcome travellers.
Today the city has grown to be a huge trading hub,
68 not beholden to any Kingdom. It rests on Social Classes
the plains between the Kingdoms of Valuin is ruled by the descendants of some of the wealth-
Glass and Storms, within short reach iest merchants of the region. They are called the Argent
of Rust, and is managed by an in- Coterie. The Coterie provides Valuin a semblance of order,
dependent alliance of traders protecting it against threats to prosperity, and making the
and others who prefer to live laws that govern the city’s trade. Occasionally wealthy indi-
viduals seek to join the Argent Coterie, but they are high-
ly selective. All who would sit on the ruling council must
have lived in Valuin for at least seven years, a rule that pre-
vents outsiders from buying their way into influence. While
most of the Coterie are merchants, other businesses also
maintain a presence — including the Scholars (collectors The Sisters offer spiritual advice to any who will accept it
of forbidden and forgotten knowledge), the Sisters’ Hand and often undertake humanitarian works across the city,
(an alliance of Celestial worshipping orders), and the Grey including feeding the poor and tending to the sick. They
Hearts (who dominate the black market, the gambling halls, have a loose alliance with many of the other religious orders
and the houses of pleasure). of Altais, including the Conventicle and the priests of the
Kingdom of Storms, but this is mostly for appearances and
The middle class is made up of the merchants and traders the different orders have been known to disagree violently
that come and go, the artisans who ply their trade, and the from time to time.
farmers who are hired to work the fields. Most of the city
falls within this category. The Grey Hearts
Criminals and assassins, the Grey Hearts oversee most of
Slavery is common within the city, and they are bought
the crime in Valuin and are rumoured to have networks of
and sold like any other commodity; thus slaves make up the
agents and sympathetic merchants spread all across Altais.
lower class and are granted only the rights afforded to all
The Grey Hearts are said to have a strange sense of honour:
property.
never robbing the same person twice, never taking what a
person could not afford to lose, and never striking at an
Factions innocent. Others dismiss these ideas as romantic fables
Valuin has hundreds of factions. Some are organised guilds, and claim they are little more than petty thieves. Certainly
while others are less formal and may have few or even no they have their hands in every type of crime found in the
rules. They often form around a group of like-minded in- city, from theft to smuggling and the trade of forbidden
dividuals seeking to achieve a goal, and dissolve against just substances. Perhaps most infamously they are rumoured to
as quickly, but several have endured and become quite pow- employ assassins of considerable skill, perhaps surpassed
erful in their own right. only by the Khu from the Kingdom of Serpents.

Song of Coin
The dominant force on the Argent Coterie, and arguably
the source of much of the council’s influence, the Song of
Coin is the society for merchants, moneylenders, and trad-
ers. It handles the exchange of currency in Valuin and offers
69
loans to members in good standing. The goals of the
Society are to continue Valuin’s path to prosperity,
to support projects that will attract custom, and
to build the image of the city as a trusted place
of business and negotiation.

The Scholars of the Hidden Road


On the surface, the Scholars often serve society as ad-
visers, town criers, record keepers, and scribes, but one of
their worst-kept secrets is their desire for hidden and for-
bidden knowledge. They keep some of the largest librar-
ies in all of Altais and buy and sell knowledge of all kinds,
including records from the ancient past, political rumours
from near and far, and people’s personal secrets. Everything
they acquire is recorded and available for sale, and they
pay a good price for truly rare or secret information. This
makes them somewhat controversial and many argue that
their desire for knowledge is dangerous. The Scholars place
no restraints on their members and they are just as likely to
collect maps of the world as they are to seek the forbidden
knowledge of the Void.

The Sisters’ Hand


The Sisters believe in a more personal relationship with the
Celestials, and their teachings focus on stories about the life
and personalities of each star. These stories teach moral les-
sons and are used to guide others in walking a devout path.
Four Regents The Flowers
The four largest theatres in Altais are all located within It is hard to tell if the Parliament of Lies is present within
Valuin, and nowhere else are the performing arts held in the city. Certainly its more bohemian nature would make it
such high regard. The theatres get their names from a line a natural fit for their ideals, and with information so readily
of ancient poetry engraved above their entrances. No one for sale their agents would no doubt find the place use-
remembers who carved it there but the words read “Kings ful, but as always they remain secretive and silent. If they
and Queens no loyalty earned but any who steps foot on a stage a true are present at all, they certainly aren’t making themselves
Regent be. For a heart that entertains is more Noble than a head known.
that bears Four Crowns.” The theatres not only put on plays
but also employ a diverse range of musicians, performers, The Namiaven
acrobats, and actors, who perform in squares and on street The trade guild of the Kingdom of Glass eyes the city hun-
corners all across the city. Over time they have combined to grily. All of their goods go through its streets and for it to
become an unofficial performers’ guild. be in the hands of a foreign government irks them greatly.
In recent years they have been buying up every caravan and
The Silver Sigil external stall they can find, as if trying to subvert the whole
Silver is one of the rarest metals, and the smiths of the city to their will by simply owning as much of the trade
Silver Sigil claim to be ironworkers and creators of arms around it as possible. Valuin law prohibits foreigners from
and armour of the rarest quality in all Altais, a claim that owning much land inside the city, which limits their reach,
the smiths of Rust and Storms naturally disagree with. but rumours that their spies have infiltrated the upper tiers
Nevertheless the Silver Sigil is a large and successful guild of the Argent Coterie have been circulating for years.
containing many skilled crafters whose wares are sold
throughout the city. The work of the Silver Sigil can be
easily identified as they embed their works with a maker’s
mark, a glyph etched into the item and filled with a thin
coating of silver.

Foreign Factions
Valuin’s prominent location between the Kingdoms of
70 Rust, Glass, and Storms has made it one of the world’s larg-
est trading hubs and many have begun to refer to the city
as the centre of the world. Naturally organisations from
the surrounding Kingdoms have come here to represent
the interests of their orders; these include ambassadors and
government officials, representatives of guilds and compa-
nies, priests from churches come to spread their faith, and
spies of every kind.

The Conventicle
The Conventicle maintains a significant presence in
Valuin, not just in the form of diplomats but also a sizable
military force. Many decades ago they managed to purchase
some land in the city, exploiting loopholes in laws that
usually would have prevented this, and have built a walled
compound that acts as their centre of operations within the
city. The Argent Coterie was quick to fix these errors in
their laws and has since made it abundantly clear that the
Conventicle has no authority within the city, and yet their
influence grows day by day. Magic users have learnt to
tread carefully, for while the Conventicle has no
official authority to arrest them, they tend to
be found dead in the early hours of the morn-
ing. The Conservators, of course, deny any re-
sponsibility.
Everyday Life The nature of these activities not only varies from
Technology Kingdom to Kingdom, but also between the different fac-
The level of technology on Altais has shifted greatly over ets of society: the rich often play different games than the
the ages. When the Eesa arrived during the First Age, poor. The following is a list of just some of the different
they brought with them powerful devices now beyond the games and sports you might encounter in Altais.
knowledge of modern Altaens. They built structures from
strange materials and huge machines that no one alive Triumphs
knows the function of. Most of this technology was lost Triumphs is a gambling card game played between two or
through the countless wars of the Second and Third Ages more people usually with a deck of 40 cards, although re-
although remnants still survive to this day and can occa- gional variants exist that use different decks. The standard
sionally be found amongst the ruins. deck contains four suits commonly called Crowns, Spears,
Shields, and Stars, which are each made up of ten cards: A
Realm magic began to appear during the Second Age, and Triumph, a Falter, and a Fall card, and the numbered cards
it increased in use and popularity. By the end of the Third 2 through 8. The Triumph, Falter, and Fall cards are picture
Age magic had become omnipresent. Every person used it cards that show a different image for each suit:
in their day-to-day lives, and understanding of it advanced
to the point that it became the new technology. Magical Crowns: King, Merchant, and Peasant.
ØØ

factories made magical devices, manipulating the Veil at the Spears: General, Soldier, and Deserter.
ØØ

microscopic level to create increasingly minute and detailed
effects, and people had magical tools that allowed them to Shields: Conservator, Preceptor, Mage.
ØØ

manipulate the Veil more precisely than they could without. Stars: Hypatia, Cecilia, and Maria.
ØØ

This age of magical advancement ended with the Fall, and The objective of the game is to play the highest scoring
the secrets to many of these techniques were lost, although two cards each round. Players begin with five cards and
relics from this time can still be found. choose two to play, trying to trump each other’s play until 71
Altais is now experiencing a new medieval age. In most everyone runs out of cards and a winner is determined.
places technology is equivalent to 16th century Europe.
Metallurgy is relatively advanced and wars are fought with
swords and bows by soldiers wearing plate and mail ar- There is a game played all across
mour. Shipbuilding is approaching its peak and large galle-
ons ply the ocean. Gunpowder has not been rediscovered Altais. In Glass they play with sandstone
so there are no guns or cannons of any kind. The planet has pieces, shaped by the desert wind, upon a
an unstable magnetic field which has prevented the creation
of the compass. Without this relatively simple device, ships round table inlaid with shell. In Serpents
must stay within sight of land or risk becoming lost at sea, they play with wood that has been
so for those other than the Sorrowborne, far-away lands
may as well be on one of the moons. dredged from the bogs, and in Storms they
There are many cities with populations in the millions,
use the cocoons of insects that fall from
and some have begun to construct sophisticated sewage the sky. In Rust the nobles wager wine
and plumbing systems, although usually only the wealthy
can afford such extravagances.
and iron on the outcome while the rebels
wager blood; and in the ivory courts of
Games and Sports Ash, where the dead play with the living
Every society invents activities to entertain its population
during their free time, and the Kingdoms of Altais are no
using obsidian pieces that cut the unwary
exception. Games usually involve painted cards, dice, or a hand, only there, is the aim of the game to
simple board and pieces. Some are used for gambling, oth-
ers simply to entertain. Other people prefer more active
lose.
sports, many of which evolved from warfare or hunting.
Korm are played as dim-witted and slow, and the player
ØØ

Stones usually acts the role of the idiot while nevertheless exe-
This simple strategy game can be played with a handful cuting well-thought-out tactical moves.
of stones using a board scratched into the ground, which
makes it popular with soldiers on campaign and travellers
on the road. More elaborate versions with carved stone
pieces and wooden or stone boards also exist, but are usu- On several occasions I have watched
ally found as decorations on someone’s mantelpiece. The
board is a five by five grid and players take turns to place
nobles play Four Kingdoms, and they seem
stones and capture each other’s pieces until a winner is de- to delight in putting on these ridiculous
termined.
performances. They’ve turned the collapse
Four Kingdoms of their own society into an absurd piece
Four Kingdoms is an ancient board game played within the
courts of the Kingdom of Rust. It originates from before
of theatre, ignorantly mocking their own
the Fall but the rules and design have changed considerably culture as they paint themselves the
over the centuries. The game is one of battlefield tactics
set during the Kingdom War of the Third Age. It is played
villains.
with four players and uses a simple board and sets of small
square tiles (usually made of wood or stone) that represent
fortifications and military forces. One player is chosen to Sixes
play the Kingdom of Aroja which has risen to dominance This simple gambling game is found in the Kingdom of
early in the Age; they arrange their tiles in the centre of the Serpents and played with a wooden spinning top. Players
board in a preset formation. The other players each repre- take it in turns to add bets to a pot and spin the top which
sent one of the other Kingdoms of this time: Korm, Tryan, is carved to have six flat sides, each with a different symbol.
or Selucia, and they take it in turns to place their own tiles After each spin the player may win back a portion of the
72
in an effort to capture pieces. pot based on which symbol landed face up. The original
meaning of the symbols is lost, but as part of the game they
The game is highly favoured in high society, and there is often mean “All”, “Double”, “Equal”, “Half ”, “One”, and
a common tradition that players act out the character of the “None”. Spinning the All symbol is the best result, winning
Kingdom they are playing, often with the house rule that the player the full pot; Double, Equal, and Half win back a
if anyone drops character, they must forfeit a piece (or buy portion of what the player just bet; One wins a single coin;
everyone a drink; the rule varies). and None wins nothing.
Aroja is believed to have been quite corrupt and deca-
ØØ
  Sandball
dent and the cause of the war. The Aroja player usually A ball game played in the Kingdom of Glass with two
acts the part of the villain, putting on an overtly sinister teams and a small leather ball filled with sand. The ball is
voice and overacting every move and at every provo- thrown between the two teams who try to reach a goal area
cation. without the ball being dropped on the ground. The game
Selucia plays the part of the honourable knights who try
ØØ
  is a contact sport and depending on the local rules can be-
to get everyone to work together against their common come quite bloody.
enemy. The player is expected to act surprised and of-
fended every time someone acts against them. Domarback Wrestling
Wrestling from the back of an animal is a popular sport
Tryan is often played as air-headed and mischievous,
ØØ
  played in many places. The most famous version involves
agents of chaos that are unpredictable and always look-
domar; two riders move their animals next to each other
ing to betray their allies. Tryan players have a tradition
and then try to pull the other off their mount. The wres-
of losing deliberately while causing everyone else as
tlers are only allowed to grab each other, not the mounts,
much trouble as possible.
saddles, or bridles, and the winner is whoever unseats their
opponent first.
I have just returned from the Herinha guildhall; I had to let myself in. During my
visit — the ultimate purpose of which is not truly relevant to my story, suffice to say
that the transaction was beneficial for all concerned — I had the opportunity to listen
to a class discussing the nature of the Realms.

“Consider this cup,” the teacher began, raising a metal goblet into the light. “See
the shadow it casts? See how the shadow follows the light? In this way the Realms
cast a shadow that creates this world we walk in.”

Momentarily distracted, I took a seat.

“We see this cup by virtue of the Blaze, we touch it by virtue of the Pattern, feel
its weight by virtue of the Tempest, and the metal tarnishes — for good or ill — by
the virtue of the Wild. It casts this shadow upon our world, and by knowing the
nature of the shadow we can sense the Veil and the forces which influence it.”

Amused, I pondered asking what manner of shadow I cast, but instead I continued
upon my errand.
73

The Realms The Blaze


Beyond the physical universe and the world of Altais lie oth- No other Realm is as directly destructive as the Blaze. It
er Realms, extradimensional spaces with their own unique is the source of all heat and light, from the gentle warmth
properties. Some can be visited, others are dangerous and given off by a person’s skin to the blazing inferno of a star,
chaotic, and all of them can be useful in the hands of those and it is a favoured Realm for spell casters wishing to wreak
with the power of magic. The Realms are separated from destruction.
our universe by the Veil, a porous membrane that keeps
them from colliding while allowing them to influence each The Blaze is an infinite space filled with intense levels
other in small ways. of electromagnetic radiation. All forms of light are pres-
ent, including the visible spectrum, infrared and ultravio-
Magic is achieved by manipulating the Veil to allow more let, X-rays, gamma rays, microwaves, and radio waves. The
of another Realm’s energies into the physical world, or to Altaens understand little about most of these however, and
cut them off completely. consider the Realm to simply be the source of all light and
heat.
How Altaens gained the ability to manipulate the Veil
isn’t well known; certainly such power is passed down Spell casters can weaken the Veil to allow more energy in
through the generations and has been with them for mil- from the Blaze, creating a bright light or raging inferno —
lennia. They have stories of the Eesa and Nasar wielding or they can strengthen it, separating the Realms and bring-
Realm magic during the Second Age, but little is known ing cold and darkness to the area. These techniques are
about magic before that time. often used offensively to burn, blind, or freeze one’s foes.

The five Realms known to Altaens are the Pattern, Wild, While it is certainly possible to weaken the Veil enough
Tempest, Blaze, and Void. It’s possible other realms exist as to step into the Blaze, doing so is almost certainly fatal un-
well, but there is no known way to access such places. less the would-be explorer can find a way to shield them-
selves from the heat on the other side. For this reason the tween each other and occasionally colliding and neutralising
Blaze has never been thoroughly explored, and while it’s in a spectacular explosion of sparks.
generally assumed that no native matter or life exists within,
it’s impossible to be certain. Those with Tempest Magic can weaken the Veil to in-
crease the amount of gravity or electricity in an area to pull

The Tempest
an object across a room, crush a foe, or summon light-
ning bolts. Strengthening the Veil cuts off the Tempest’s
Named for the fierce storms it can invoke, the Tempest is influence, either removing gravity and making everything
a strange Realm, the source of both gravity and electric- weightless, or shutting off any electricity or lightning in the
ity. Favoured by spell casters with an elemental flair, the area.
influence of this Realm can be used to move objects at a
distance, fly, or summon lightning. There are powerful mages who can open a rift and step
into the Tempest — a dangerous act that is like stepping
Within the Tempest lies a great open sky filled with float- into a lightning bolt, but those who survive the journey
ing islands and rocks, some only a few metres across, oth- find themselves floating in the Tempest, free to explore
ers the size of continents. Gravity originates in this Realm. the many islands for new wonders. Of course, perils still
It fills every point in space, pulling from every direction remain; the Tempest is also home to new forms of ener-
at once and cancelling itself out, leaving all matter floating gy-based life called lucents that feed on any source of ener-
freely. Matter in other Realms pulls on the Veil, weakening gy they come across, including human body heat.
it and allowing gravity to flow through, creating the im-
pression that gravity comes from matter. The space within Some have explored the islands within and reported see-
the Tempest also contains pockets of very intense electrical ing ancient ruins from a distance, but were unable to get
charge that drift through the Realm, arcing lightning be- close due to the large numbers of lucents flocking around
the area.

74
The Pattern
A Touch of Science
The Pattern is the source of the forces that hold matter
together. It binds subatomic particles into atoms and atoms
into molecules. It naturally flows into the world, holding
The people of Altais don’t have a strong grasp
everything together; solids form where it is strongest, and
of how magic really works; to them, it just does.
as its influence weakens they melt into liquids and eventu-
But in order to give players a better understand-
ally gases. One of the more utilitarian magics, spell casters
ing of what is possible, here is an explanation
can use this Realm to shape matter to their whim.
long lost to those who practise it.
The Pattern itself is filled with an incredibly strong and
Altais (and the rest of the normal physical
dense crystalline substance that forms wherever its energies
universe) occupies a vast, possibly infinite space
are permitted to flow without restriction. Since exploring a
filled with stars and planets. Many theorise it
solid Realm is difficult, little more is really known about it.
is the place where all the Realms converge, al-
Through Pattern Magic, spell casters can weaken the Veil though some have argued that the Realms have
to allow more of the Pattern into the world, turning gases no centre.
and liquids into solids; or they can strengthen it and cut
As matter moves through the universe, it
the Pattern out. Deprived of its influence, solids quickly
drags on the Veil and is slowed, and this re-
melt, liquids evaporate, and even gases begin to break down
sistance creates many of the forces we take for
into individual particles. However many who focus on this
granted, including mass and inertia. We feel the
Realm aspire to finesse: by manipulating the Veil carefully,
weight (and therefore the mass) of an object
objects can be reshaped, strengthened, and improved.
when we try to lift it; the more massive it is, the
Rifts into the Pattern are usually used offensively by al- more it pushes against the Veil and the more
lowing a huge amount of energy in at once and solidifying the Veil pushes back, making it feel “heavy”.
everything in the area. Travel into the Realm is all but im- Likewise when we try to push a large object,
possible. According to legend, some very powerful Pattern we have to overcome this resistance to move
mages once attempted to shunt the energy away into other it, which is inertia. This principle was referred
Realms, melting the matter within, but this was like trying to by the scientists of ages past as the Higgs
75
to tunnel through a glacier and they gave up after several mechanism.
days of work that yielded a tunnel only a few steps long.
This “friction” with the Veil also temporarily
weakens it, allowing more of the forces from
The Void the other Realms through into the universe,
While less directly destructive than the Blaze, no Realm is and these are often mistaken as being natural
as dangerous as the Void. It is the source of space and di- properties of matter. When an object moves, it
mensionality, causing distance to exist between places and generates heat. This appears to be a result of
separating one thing from another, but it is filled with ex- friction, but is actually caused by the Veil weak-
otic energies that influence the mind and corrupt all matter ening to the Blaze and allowing more heat in.
that comes into contact with it. Matter is often thought to possess gravity, but
this is a force leaking through the weakened
The Void is an infinite space filled with a thick swirling Veil from the Tempest. The incredible amount
purple-black energy, a form of cold plasma as thick as wa- of matter in a planet weakens the Veil so much
ter. Moving a single step in the Void can translate to cross- that enough gravity leaks in to hold people to
ing thousands in Altais, and this Realm was once used by its surface.
the Celestials to carry the Eesa and the first people across
the vast distances between the stars. When objects get truly massive, as massive as
stars, then we see tremendous amounts of ener-
In addition to its space-bending nature, the Void has gy leaking through, creating the heat and light
several other interesting (and dangerous) properties: The of nuclear fusion and the intense gravity needed
plasma within the Realm vibrates in response to sentient to hold a solar system together.
thoughts, and these ripples can carry the emotions that cre-
ated them to the minds of others, allowing limited forms Magic users abuse these rules, bending the
of telepathy. This is caused by the electrical signals in the Veil to allow energy through where it shouldn’t
brain, and those who bring lightning into the Void find it exist and thereby performing feats that seem
creates violent tidal waves. extraordinary.

The plasma of the Void also reacts slowly with matter,


eating away at it and replacing it particle by particle until it and this Realm is also the home of the Rephaim who are
has completely become Void-stuff. This makes the matter immediately hostile to any intruders they find.
more fragile and insubstantial, often able to pass through
normal matter with little effect, but its effects on living
creatures are particularly severe. The mind is corrupted as
The Wild
The Wild is the most hospitable of the Realms. It is be-
the body changes, and they eventually become one of the
lieved to be the source of time, which flows considerably
Rephaim.
faster within than it does in the other Realms and appears
Spell casters use the Void to alter space and mind. By to leak across the Veil like the energies of the other Realms.
thinning the Veil, they can compress space and cross con- Because of this, most Altaens think of time as just another
tinents in a single step, or read and influence minds in the form of energy like light or heat that can be manipulated
area by shaping the ripples in the Void plasma. Thickening through magic.
the Veil can stretch space or shield the mind from any at-
Within this Realm lies a whole other world, one created
tempts to manipulate it.
quite by accident. According to legend, when people first
Entering this Realm is a relatively easy affair, particularly began to explore the Wild, they found it contained anoth-
in the Kingdom of Ash where the Veil is still weak. Those er planet in exactly the same place in space as Altais. This
who enter find that the thick plasma supports them like world was a barren and volcanic one, with oceans of toxic
water and they can traverse it by swimming. There is no chemicals, devoid of life, and with a more intense sun.
air within and travellers must hold their breath, but since
Despite the hostile terrain, the compressed time within
space is so compressed most don’t need to spend much
made it a convenient way to travel: someone could enter the
time within. Travellers face two other significant dangers:
Wild, travel for months, and emerge on the other side of
the longer they are exposed the more tainted they become,

76
the continent to find that only a few seconds had passed in
our universe. Permanent gates were opened and soon thou-
sands of people were using this Realm as a way to travel. Other Realms
It wasn’t long before the Realm began to change. Scholars have found many references to other
Gradually people were bringing bits of Altais in with them: Realms in ancient documents and often debate
seeds clinging to their boots and clothes fell to the ground, exactly what these could be. In some cases they
wild animals found their way in through the gates, and peo- could simply be different names for the known
ple dropped their rubbish which introduced bacteria. A few five Realms, but some appear to describe only
hundred years of use for the Altaens translated to millennia parts of a known Realm and there are theories
in the Wild, and the life that had found its way in began to that either the Realms have merged or the peo-
spread and fill the Realm. ple of previous Ages were able to separate them
In the time since the first gates were opened, hundreds of more finely. Some terms that have been found
millions of years have passed within the Wild. The volcanic from the Third Age include “Spark”, “Drift”,
activity has died down, the world has cooled, and the oceans “Flux”, and “Dream”, while even older docu-
have stabilised into salt and water. The Realm is filled with a ments written in old Eesan and dating back to
verdant wilderness full of megaflora and fauna. Huge fungi the First Age mention travel through “The Rift”
and trees blot out the sky feeding on the intense sunlight, and describe different “Fields”.
and enormous reptilian predators stalk the jungles.

Today most spell casters use the Wild to alter the speed
of time. By weakening the Veil they allow more time in,
speeding events up, and by strengthening it they can reduce
the Realm’s influence and slow time down. Particularly
powerful mages can even bring time to a stop, but one rule
all agree on is that time can never be made to flow in re-
verse.

Most of the permanent gates to the Wild have long since


77
collapsed, but some spell casters can still create temporary
ones. Those entering the Wild find themselves in an un-
charted wilderness. It can still be used to travel quickly an-
ywhere in Altais, assuming the travellers can find their
way past the many predatory plants and animals that
would prefer to make them into a meal.
The Vaelyth’s Tale
I remember my first steps on this broken world. I was made, whole
and yet unfinished, full of purpose but without vision. Newborn I
stepped from the Void and onto the obsidian steps of Nabon. Oh
Nabon! What can I say about the City of Fountains that you have not
already heard?

It stands in memorial to Ages past, still whole and perfect. While


other cities crashed and broke under the catastrophic energies
unleashed in the Fall, Nabon felt the storm pass through it and stood.
Still whole, still perfect, only now empty of the music which once gave
it life. Delicate arches reach to the heavens, in supplication to the
stars. Fountains stand dry, with ash covering the coins once gifted to
their waters. The people who once lived in these streets are long gone,
leaving only the Vaelyth engaged in their own intrigues.

78

It is fitting, I think, that the most beautiful city of humanity’s age of


glory is now a hollow shell inhabited by the living ghosts. Rephaim and
Vaelyth look more at home here than the dull-toned humans ever did.

I remember seeing a tree, weighed down with blossoms. It once


stood tall in the heart of the city, a proud symbol of life. Now it is only
a ghostly echo of the Void, its bark twisted and shimmering in purple
majesty, made of the same flesh as the Rephaim. It’s a symbol still,
forever scattering its petals across the courtyard, never to wither and fade.
Seeing this on my first day of life, I understood what my creators had in
mind — an eternal garden for humanity, forever peaceful, never fading,
filling the void between stars.
Chapter 2
Character Creation
Your Character
In order to play Altais, each player will need their own char-
acter, their hero who will take part in the story and seek to
Step 2
overcome the challenges placed before them by the GM. Choose Attributes
Each character begins with a concept: Who are they in All characters have five Attributes that determine their
the world? What are the motivations that drive the charac- general capabilities, each with a Rating between 1 and 5. A 79
ter through the story? Are they seeking to right a wrong? To character with 1 or 2 in an Attribute is considered average,
avenge a loss? Through their concept, a character shapes while one with 3 or higher is considered exceptional.
the flow of the story and defines their role in the world.
This is just the beginning, however. All characters are more All characters begin with 1 point in each Attribute
than just a concept, they also have stats that determine their and may divide an additional 5 points between them. No
abilities. Are they good with a sword or a bow? Can they Attribute may be raised higher than 3 at this stage.
use magic? How many injuries can they suffer before they
die? All these things are determined through character cre- Strength represents the character’s overall physical
ØØ

ation. prowess — their ability to lift heavy objects, run for a
long time without becoming tired, and their resistance
to pain and injury. Example uses: Lifting heavy burdens,
Step 1 breaking down a door, resisting disease or poison, climbing a cliff,
inflicting damage on an enemy.
Character Concept and Background
Agility represents how nimble a character is and how
ØØ

The first thing you should do is work out what kind of well they perform delicate and intricate tasks requiring
character you want to play. Will they be a warrior? A magic fine manual dexterity. Example uses: Dodging an attack,
user? Will they be sneaky and cunning or perhaps strong picking someone’s pocket, sneaking, hitting an enemy.
and enduring? Mind indicates a character’s intelligence, knowledge,
ØØ

and problem-solving ability. It is used whenever a char-
Select a Background from the list on page 84. This will
acter is searching for information, using their intellect,
determine where you grew up and how you were trained,
and provides you with some starting Skills, Talents, and
Advantages that will set you apart from everyone else. A
character can only have one Background.
a new bonus of some kind. Some provide a passive effect
or trying to remember something. Example uses: Research- that is “always on”, while others must be activated and usu-
ing in a library, appraising valuables, remembering important de- ally have a cost. Activating a Talent is not an Action unless
tails, concocting a cunning plan, understanding another’s motives. specified in the description.
Charisma represents the character’s social aptitude, a
ØØ
  Also unless specified, bonuses to the same stat from dif-
combination of physical appearance and charm. Exam- ferent Talents do not stack, and each specific Rank of a
ple uses: Persuading others, making friends, performing, deceiving Talent cannot be activated multiple times in the same Turn.
others, calming wild animals.
Focus represents the character’s attention to detail, All Backgrounds provide two Talents that the character
ØØ

determination, and their ability to remain focused on has been trained in. These Talents begin at Rank 1 and your
the task at hand. It is used when the character’s percep- character always treats them as Affinity Talents for the pur-
tiveness is in question or when casting spells. Example pose of determining how much XP they cost to increase
uses: Searching for hidden things, casting spells, tracking someone (see page 82).
through the wilderness. You may then either:
Each Background lists recommended Attributes that are
likely to suit that character’s playstyle, however the choice Increase one of your Affinity Talents to Rank 2. You
ØØ

is up to you. will also be able to raise this Talent higher than you oth-
erwise could in Step 6, but you will only ever have two
Affinity Talents.
Step 3 Gain a third Affinity Talent (choose from any of the
ØØ

Choose Skills non-unique Talents). It begins at Rank 1 like your oth-
ers. You won’t be able to start with as high a Rank in
While Attributes indicate your character’s general innate Step 6, but you will have three Affinity Talents instead
ability, Skills represent specific things you have learnt. Each of two.
Skill is rated 0 to 5, with 0 indicating no learning in that area Note that there is no other way to gain new Affinities
80
at all, Rank 2 being about average for most professions, and during play, so any Talents that are not chosen as Affinities
5 indicating exceptional mastery. during this step will cost more to buy later. Players do not
The Rank of a Skill determines how many dice you roll need to meet a Talent’s prerequisites when assigning these
when testing to see if your character succeeds or fails in starting points, however they will need to do so if they want
a related task. For example you might need to make an to increase the Talent further.
Athletics roll when trying to jump over a chasm. Descriptions of the Talents can be found starting on
Your Background lists five starting Skills and you begin page 116.
with 1 Rank in each of these. A description of the Skills
begins on page 107. Step 5
Advantages
Step 4
Talents Each Background lists the languages you are fluent in to
begin with, and provides several other Advantages that
Talents are special abilities possessed by heroic (and vil- set them apart from each other. Some Advantages list
lainous) characters. They represent special training, magic, “(Magic)” next to them to indicate they are magical in na-
or advanced techniques that the character has learnt. Each ture.
Talent has 5 Ranks. Record your languages and other Advantages on your
Talents do not have a single effect but rather represent character sheet. Note that most people in the medieval
a specialised area of expertise, with each Rank providing world of Altais cannot read or write even their native lan-
guage, and your character will need at least 1 Rank in the
Academics Skill if you want them to be literate (see page
108).
The Character Sheet
The character’s name and Background. Try to choose a Experience (XP): You can keep track of the amount un-
name that fits the language of the Kingdom in which they spent and the total earned throughout the whole campaign.
were born. See page 82 for rules on spending XP.

The base values for Secondary Stats are calculated from


your Attributes (page 83), and there is a space to record any
modifications from items, spells, or other effects.
Name: Re’Fiore’Juana Player: Erin
Background: Thorn of Lyse Experience:
The character’s level in each Attribute. See page 79. Unspent Total Earned

Attributes Secondary Stats Vitals

Record your current and total values for Health, Stamina, 2 Wounded
Strength: Initiative: 2d/+0 = 2d + 0 Health: 35 35 -1
15
Agility: 3 Speed: 4 = 4 + Stamina: 4 4
and Valour (page 83). Current values will change frequently
Crippled
Mind: 2 Defence: 12 = 9 + 3 Valour:
-3
7
1 1
throughout the game. Also note the level at which a charac- Charisma: 3
1
Armour: 1
Total
= 1
Base
+
Modifier
Taint:
Total
Current Dead
-10
Focus:
ter becomes Wounded (half), Crippled (quarter), and Dead
Skills Talents/Realms
(see page 232). Academics Courtly Influence 1 Aff
Rank Group
Animal Handling 1 hour. Politics/+Char. Learn gossip.
Appraise 1 Stamina: re-roll Politics die that shows a 1.
Skills and their Ranks can be recorded here. Artistry and Artistry -
Artistry -
Performance have multiple rows so that you can record dif- Artistry -
Athletics
Unseen Strike 2
3 Stam. +1 dmg die. Double dmg. Rank
Aff
Group

ferent specialisations, each of which is treated as a separate Brawl


Intimidation
1 Stam. Ignore AR.

Skill. Skills are listed on page 107. Larceny


Medicine Evasion 3
Rank
Com
Group
Melee 2 +3 Def. 1 Stam: Move away from enemy.
Perception 2 Stam: Half dmg from AoE.
Talents and Realms are recorded here, along with their Performance - Dancing
Performance -
2
1 Valour: Dodge attack.
Rank and whether they are an Affinity, Common, or Rare Performance -
Politics 3 Rank Group

Talent. Space is provided beneath each to record important Ranged


Ride

details for quick reference. Talents begin on page 116. Seafaring


Social 1
Rank Group
Stealth
Streetwise 1
The languages known. These are determined by your Subterfuge
Survival
2

character’s Background (page 84) and can be further modi- Swim


Veilcraft
Rank Group 81
Veilsense
fied by Blessings and Talents. Rank

Languages
Rank Group
Aroji

Weapons Armour & Shield


Stiletto Gamberson 1 -1 0
+1 1d/+Strength 2
Accuracy Damage AP Range Ammo Armour AR Skill Pen. Speed Pen.

Shield Defence Skill Pen. The weapons, armour, and shield currently being used
Accuracy Damage AP Range Ammo
by your character. Each has space for you to record their
Equipment
Fancy Clothes
Advantages/Blessings
stats for quick reference. See the Equipment section on
The Thorn’s Sting: Quick Action. Spend 1 Stam.
Ink Social/+Charisma. Target loses Complex Act. page 186.
Quill
Paper (x5) Noble’s Deceit: 3 Stam to turn die to 10 and
Sealing Wax Cascade on Subterfuge Tests. Other equipment can be recorded in this space.
Signet
Amongst the Flowers: Streetwise/+Mind to gain
assistance from allies. Details about the character’s Blessings (page 182) and the
Advantages provided by Backgrounds (page 84).

This space can be used for any other notes, including more
Notes information about your character’s history, the people they
have met, and any important clues discovered through the
adventure.

The character’s wealth can be recorded in this box. Some


GMs might choose to use all the different currencies of
Altais, while others might keep things simple and use only
Wealth
a couple. See page 186.
47 steel
Attributes
Step 6 Increase Cost
From 1 to 2 4 XP
Spend Creation Experience
2 to 3 8 XP
Player characters in Altais are not freshly trained recruits, 3 to 4 12 XP
they have years of experience. To represent this, all charac- 4 to 5 16 XP
ters begin with 30 Experience Points (XP) which you may
spend to increase aspects of your character during creation. Skills
However there are limits on how high each stat can be in- Increase Cost
creased during this step:
From 0 to 1 2 XP
Each Attribute can be increased to a maximum of Rank 3.
ØØ
  1 to 2 4 XP
Each Skill can be increased to a maximum of Rank 2.
ØØ
  2 to 3 6 XP
Each Talent can only be increased by 1 Rank. You may
ØØ
  3 to 4 8 XP
purchase a first level in any non-unique Talent during 4 to 5 10 XP
this step, or increase one of your Affinity Talents by
1. Those who chose to give up a third Affinity Talent Talents
during Step 4 will thus be able to increase their Rank 2 All Talents fall into one of four Groups: Affinity, Common,
Talent to Rank 3, while those that didn’t will be limited Rare, and Unique. Each Talent lists which Group it belongs
to Rank 2. to in its description, however your starting Talents chosen
during Step 4 always count as Affinity regardless of which
GMs may also allow players to purchase Celestial
Groups they are normally in. The Group determines how
Blessings (see page 182). These optional advantages and
much XP a Talent costs to increase. Unique Talents cannot
disadvantages are thought to represent the whims of higher
be purchased at all unless they have been made Affinity by
powers, fate, or just plain luck, and they help to further set
your Background; such Talents are very difficult to acquire
characters apart from one another. Some grant a bonus and
if you haven’t spent a lifetime studying them.
82 cost XP, while others inflict a penalty and grant the player
additional XP to spend.
Increase Affinity Common Rare
From 0 to 1 – 6 XP 8 XP
1 to 2 8 XP 12 XP 16 XP

Starting Wealth 2 to 3
3 to 4
12 XP
16 XP
18 XP
24 XP
24 XP
32 XP
A character’s starting wealth is determined by 4 to 5 20 XP 30 XP 40 XP
their Background, displayed in both the local
currency and the glass crescent (crs) which has Celestial Blessings
spread from the Kingdom of Glass and become Each Celestial Blessing lists the amount of XP it costs to
the universal unit of exchange. Other coins in- purchase or the amount it provides for taking it. See page
clude the mark (mk), crown, rit, and steel. For 182.
a full list of currencies, their abbreviations, and
exchange rates, see page 186.
Step 7
Vitals and Secondary Statistics
Starting XP may also be spent to increase starting wealth, There are a few more important stats to record, including
gaining 10 crs for every 1 XP spend in this way, and this is how tough your character is, how quickly they move, and
often a good way to use up any excess XP. Any unspent how difficult they are to hit. Many of these secondary stats
Creation XP is lost once the game begins. are based on Attributes, and they increase and decrease
whenever the Attribute changes.
Players usually earn 5 XP for their characters at the end
of every session, although GMs may wish to award more or Valour
less depending on how fast they want characters to advance Player characters are heroic individuals often destined for
(see page 248). Each Attribute, Skill, or Talent can only be great things, and Valour is one of the things that sets them
increased once per session. apart from the average person. It represents their impor-
tance to the story and can be used to perform truly amazing
feats or to overcome otherwise unbeatable obstacles. Defence
All characters have a Defence rating which is used as the
A character’s maximum Valour begins at 1 and increases Difficulty for all Attack Tests made against them. A charac-
automatically as the character advances their other Abilities. ter’s Defence is equal to 6 plus their Agility.
The table below lists the conditions needed to increase a
character’s maximum Valour; the bonuses are cumulative Defence = 6 + Agility
but each only applies once (for example having two Talents
at 5 doesn’t grant the bonus Valour twice). A character can Initiative
never have more than 5 Valour. Initiative represents a character’s quickness of thought and
action, how swiftly they are able to act and react to events
Condition Max Valour around them. This is represented by a number of dice
Starting 1 which will be rolled at the start of each combat to deter-
mine the order in which characters act.
Character has an Attribute at 4 or higher +1
Character has a Talent at Rank 5 +1 Write down on your character sheet the number of dice
Character has two Skills at Rank 5 +1 rolled, which will be equal to either your Agility or Mind,
whichever is lower.
Character has 30 total Ranks in Skills +1
Initiative = Agility/+0
Health or
A character’s Health is a measure of their physical wellbeing Initiative = Mind/+0
and hardiness. It can decrease due to sickness or injury, and (whichever is lower)
the character falls unconscious when it reaches zero.
For example a character with Agility 2 and Mind 3 would
To determine a character’s maximum Health, start with have an Initiative of 2d/+0.
20, then add an extra 5 for each point of Strength and max-
imum Valour the character possesses. For example a char-
acter with Strength 3 and Valour 1 would have 40 Health. Step 8
Health = 20 + (Strength x 5) + (Valour x 5) Purchase Equipment 83

Stamina Anyone planning to venture far from the safety of the cit-
Stamina measures a person’s ability to put in extra effort ies should first ensure they are properly equipped. A good
and keep going even when exhausted. Stamina can be spent weapon and suit of armour can make all the difference.
to use Talents and to fight on when otherwise incapacitat- Although some towns and cities impose laws governing
ed. who can carry weapons, it’s quite common to see all but
the poorest citizens carrying a sword or at least a dagger to
A character’s maximum Stamina is equal to 3 plus either ward off thieves and bandits.
their Strength or Focus, whichever is higher.
All characters begin with basic clothing and the equip-
Stamina = 3 + Strength ment listed in their Background. Starting funds are also list-
or ed, which can be spent at this point to purchase addition-
Stamina = 3 + Focus al starting equipment from their home Kingdom. Those
(whichever is higher) wishing to buy items found only in other Kingdoms will
need to pay extra to cover the import costs (see page 189).
Speed
During combat, characters can move a number of metres/ A description of the equipment available in each
yards equal to their Speed rating as a Quick Action, or they Kingdom begins on page 186.
can run three times that amount as a Complex Action (see
page 228).

All humans (and humanoids like the Vaelyth) have a base


Speed rating of 4.
Background
Ahbkahdee — Clan Champions
Region Page
Ghoskoya 101
Backgrounds
Asular — Wraith Hunters Ash 102 Each character begins with a Background that represents
their life up until the start of the game. It includes where
Basentu — Dragon Fists Serpents 97 the character lived and what profession they were trained
Conservator — Heretic Hunters Rust 84 in, as well as the skills and abilities they have learnt, the
languages they can speak, and the equipment and wealth
Desert Mage Glass 88 they begin play with.
Djaren — Twin Fangs Serpents 97 Most people live their whole lives in one place. Your
Elanshi — Storm Calmers Storms 92 character was likely born in the same Kingdom in which
they were trained, and probably followed in their parents’
Erishala — Thunder Spears Storms 92 footsteps with their choice of career. Of course there are
Hekari — Dragon Priests Serpents 97 always exceptions and your character could have been
born in one Kingdom and then emigrated to another, or
Herinha — Enslaved Mage Glass 89 even moved around a lot and had several different profes-
Ishrila — Adjudicators Storms 93 sions along the way, but regardless they may only have one
Background which represents the years of training dedicat-
Javana Yen — Dancing Scimitars Glass 90 ed to their greatest proficiency.
Karimatet — Children of the Dragon Serpents 98
Katesh — Serpent Keepers Serpents 98
Khu — Temple Assassins Serpents 99
Makheba — Iron Walls Serpents 100 Starting Coins
Muiyar — Iron Breakers Storms 93 In addition to providing starting equipment, each
Namiaven — Merchant Aristocrat Glass 90 Background lists the amount of money the char-
acter begins with. This is listed in the local cur-
84
Nedeshti — Wave Hunters Kahstra 102 rency, with the equivalent in glass marks and cres-
Nesenti — Chain Dancers Serpents 100 cents provided in brackets for those that don’t
want to deal with exchange rates.
Nianu — Glassweavers Glass 91
Noble of the Rust Court Rust 85
Preceptor — Clerics of Order Rust 85
Red Knight Rust 86 Kingdom of Rust
Seruhin — Desert Scouts Glass 91
Street Heretic Rust 87 Conservator — Heretic Hunters
Mage hunters and inquisitors, the Conservators travel the
Tekhet — Serpent Knights Serpents 101
Kingdom searching for signs of magic and heresy which
Thorn of Lyse Rust 87 they put an end to with sword and fire. They are usually
heavily armed and armoured, and trained to resist mag-
U’laothi — Storm Barbarians Storms 94
ic, focusing their will on preventing its corruption from
U’lawa — Sky Pirates Storms 95 spreading through the world. The six Conservators who
have most proved their devoutness to the cause are called
Uelaushi — Storm Priests Storms 95
the Crucifers. Each is followed by a captive mage bound in
Vaelyth Unbound Ash 103 a Spell Harness, an ancient remnant which forces the magic
user to obey the one holding their leash. These Crucifers
Vahgehnyev — Sin-Eaters Ghoskoya 103
are called out to deal with only the most dangerous heretics;
Warden of the Lost Crown Rust 88 the Conventicle abhors mages and uses them only as a last
resort.
Yafika — Wave Dancers Kahstra 104
Yaru’la — Wind Knights Storms 96 Recommended Attribute: Focus or Strength.
ØØ

Yehvmahnee — Ice Shaman Ghoskoya 105 Skills: Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Politics, Ride.
ØØ

Talents: Arcane Defence, Armour Expertise.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Mail, Sword, Traveller’s Kit, 50
ØØ
  Noble of the Rust Court
steel (10 crs). There are many noble families in the Kingdom of Rust,
those born to privilege and wealth, who pass their titles
Languages: Aroji.
ØØ
  down from generation to generation. A few date back to
before the Fall while others are relatively new, either earn-
Defender of the Veil ing their title for services rendered or taking it by force.
Through practice and dedication you maintain the natural
Most nobles are learned and social, focusing on politics and
order, and magic rarely works around you. Activating any
intrigue rather than violence, although more than a few ri-
Rank of Arcane Defence costs 1 less Stamina and this can
valries have ended in bloodshed. Most are driven by self-in-
reduce the cost to zero. Restrict the Veil (page 123) also
terest but every now and again a Noble appears who is truly
lasts twice as long, and all Ranks of Arcane Defence have
loyal to their Baron or, in a few cases, secretly in league with
double their normal radius.
the Parliament of Lies.
Life of War Recommended Attribute: Charisma.
ØØ

Through training and battle you have become hardier than
most, and your maximum Health is increased by 10 for Skills: Academics, Performance (choose one), Politics,
ØØ

every point of Valour you have instead of by 5. Social, Subterfuge.
Talents: Courtly Influence, Inspiring Leader.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Wealthy House, Fancy Clothing
ØØ

(Superior Quality), Stiletto (Superior Quality), Travel-
ler’s Kit, 250 steel (50 crs).
Languages: Aroji.
ØØ

Noble’s Deceit
A life dedicated to the politics of the court has honed your
ability to lie convincingly. When making a Subterfuge test
to lie or deceive, you may spend 1 Valour to change one
result to a 10 and trigger a Cascade. 85

Influential
As a noble, your influence extends widely. If you achieve at
least 1 DoS on a roll to use Courtly Influence, you gain 1
bonus DoS, improving the result even further.

Perfect Charm
Through natural charm you find most people very easy to
manipulate. You may spend 2 Stamina to add your Focus to
your Charisma for one Test.

Preceptor — Clerics of Order


Preceptors are the scholars and priests of the Conventicle.
They dedicate themselves both to the worship of the
Celestials and to the investigation of magic so that it can
be more easily destroyed. Most Preceptors reside in the
Citadel where they carry out experiments and dissections
on captured mages in an effort to learn how to best neutral-
ise them, but some also venture out into the field with the
Conservators. Preceptors study many areas in their fight
against magic: Some invent drugs and poisons to neutral-
ise their enemies while others focus on Eesa technology,
hoping to find new weapons amongst the remnants of the
First Age. Their greatest achievement was unlocking the se-
crets needed to control the Spell Harness, a device used by
the Conservators to enslave mages. They have been trying
to reproduce these devices ever since but so far with no
success. They revere remnants as the legacy of the Eesa You gain 1 bonus DoS on any successful Test to use a rem-
while viewing relics as the corrupting creations of magic. nant and if a backfire occurs you may add +2 to the roll on
All Preceptors learn to sense the Veil to aid their study of the Backfire table (see page 267).
the effects of magic, but none learn to control it; such a
thing would be heresy of the highest order. Battlefield Dissection
Due to your medical expertise, you know how to cut par-
Recommended Attribute: Mind.
ØØ
  ticularly vital parts of the body and those which will inter-
Skills: Academics, Appraise, Perception, Medicine,
ØØ
  fere most with spell casting. While using a Small Weapon,
Veilsense. you may spend 1 Stamina to use your Medicine Skill in-
stead of Melee when rolling to attack, and you may add
Talents: Apothecary, Research.
ØØ
  your Mind to your Strength for determining damage. If this
Starting Equipment: Paper (x10), Quill, Ink, Eesa
ØØ
  attack causes damage, it gives the target a -3 penalty on
Blade (page 268), Traveller’s Kit, 50 steel (10 crs). any Veilcraft rolls they make for the next 3 Rounds. This
Languages: Aroji, Old Eesan.
ØØ
  penalty doesn’t stack.

Remnant Expert
Through frequent study of the artefacts of the past, you are
Red Knight
The Red Knights were either born into a life of war and
less likely to make a mistake when using a remnant. bloodshed or chose it to escape their past. They are
soldiers who have dedicated themselves to one of the
Barons of Rust, rising through the ranks of the mil-
itary and earning themselves a knighthood. The Red
Knights are the symbol of the Barons’ might and op-
pression; once chivalrous and noble, most are now lit-
tle more than bandits in plate armour who spend their
lives tormenting the serfs and raiding the lands of their
rivals. All Red Knights are well-trained in war and well-
equipped, wearing heavy armour made of red iron to
emulate the rust on their Lord’s Keep, and prefer to fight
86 from the back of a domar with lance and sword.

Recommended Attribute: Strength.


ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Ride.
ØØ

Talents: Armour Expertise, choose either One Handed
ØØ

Weapons or Two Handed Weapons.
Starting Equipment: Red Iron Plate Cuirass, Travel-
ØØ

ler’s Kit, 60 steel (12 crs).
Languages: Aroji.
ØØ

Born in Armour
Red Knights almost always wear heavy armour and live vi-
olent lives that make them more resilient and accustomed
to burdens. Your Skill penalty from each individual piece of
armour you wear and from any shield you use is reduced by
1. This applies to each item individually.

Life of War
Through training and battle you have become hardier than
most, and your maximum Health is increased by 10 for
every point of Valour you have instead of by 5.

Red Fear
The Red Knights are known across Altais for their ruth-
lessness. You gain a +3 bonus to intimidate people from
the Kingdom of Rust and a +1 bonus against those from
other places.
are named in honour of the Lyse flower which symbolises
Street Heretic the rebellion even through the plant itself does not have
Magic may be outlawed in the Kingdom of Rust but there thorns.
are always a few who learn it anyway. These heretics are
hunted by the Conventicle and find little sanctuary if their Recommended Attribute: Charisma or Agility.
ØØ

nature is known. Not all practise magic openly however, Skills: Melee, Politics, Social, Streetwise, Subterfuge.
ØØ

and since most magic (with the exception of Void) leaves Talents: Courtly Influence, Unseen Strike.
ØØ

no trace on the wielder, it is possible for heretics to live
amongst the population without giving away their true na- Starting Equipment: Fancy Clothes, Stiletto, Travel-
ØØ

ture. Those with such secrets usually grow up on the street, ler’s Kit, 50 steel (10 crs).
forever on the run with the Conventicle not far behind. Languages: Aroji.
ØØ

Some find sanctuary amongst the Parliament of Lies — the
Flowers are not so judgemental about magic and accept any The Thorn’s Sting
help they can get. Barons may also hire a mage to aid their Sometimes words are the greatest weapon, and with your
own pursuit of power — they would never do so openly of scathing wit you can shock others into inaction. You may
course, that would bring the Conventicle down upon them, spend 1 Stamina and make a Social/+Charisma Test as a
but they are not above an underhanded deal to gain an ad- Quick Action to deliver a veiled insult which causes your
vantage over their peers. target to pause in surprise and become unnerved. If suc-
cessful, the target loses their next Complex Action. This
Recommended Attribute: Focus.
ØØ
  only works on those who understand your words, and once
Skills: Larceny, Subterfuge, Streetwise, Veilcraft, Veil­
ØØ
  someone has been affected by it they are immune to further
sense. uses for the rest of the day.
Talents: Evasion, choose either Blaze Magic or Void
ØØ

Magic.
Noble’s Deceit
A life dedicated to the politics of the court
Starting Equipment: Dagger, Traveller’s Kit, 10 steel
ØØ
  has honed your ability to lie convincing-
(2 crs). ly. When making a Subterfuge test to lie
Languages: Aroji, Outlaw’s Argot.
ØØ
  or deceive, you may spend 1 Valour to
change one result to a 10 and trigger a 87
Hidden Heresy Cascade.
You have learnt to hide your magic well. Whenever you cast
a spell, you may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to
disguise where the effect came from. There are no visual
cues connecting the spell back to you, and while those
trying to use Veilsense to detect your magic can still tell
that a spell was cast, they cannot work out who cast
it unless they roll more DoS than your Rank in
Subterfuge.

Born to the Street


A life of hiding has also increased your wits, granting you a
+1 bonus on all Larceny, Streetwise, Stealth, and Subterfuge
rolls.

Thorn of Lyse
The Parliament of Lies contains soldiers and knights, re-
bels and heretics, but their most successful agents are the
Thorns. Assassins and saboteurs, the Thorns infiltrate the
Barons’ courts, convince nobles to join their cause, spread
rumour to undermine those in power, and carry messages
to other agents in the field. Although trained to kill, most
Thorns prefer words and social manipulation over blood-
shed, believing that solving problems by force makes them
little better than the tyrants they seek to overthrow. They
Amongst the Flowers Recommended Attribute: Agility.
ØØ

You have allies in the Parliament of Lies that you can call on Skills: Animal Handling, Melee, Ranged, Stealth, Sur-
ØØ

for aid. Make a Streetwise/+Mind test to find one who will vival.
shelter you or provide you with information.
Talents: Animal Training, choose either One Handed
ØØ

Weapons or Archery.
Warden of the Lost Crown Starting Equipment: Traveller’s Kit, 50 steel (10 crs).
ØØ

Descended from the Knights Imperial of old, these noble
soldiers served the Iron King before the Fall and were both Languages: Aroji.
ØØ

honour guards and protectors of the realm. They were a
proud lineage, selected and bred for purity over hundreds Birthright (Magic)
of years, trained in combat, and gifted with magical arms The lineages of the Knights Imperial were said to carry
and armour; Regalia that proclaimed their station. They a blessing that protected them from all evils. You gain a
were beacons of chivalry loved by all across the land, until +1 bonus to all Taint Tests and a +2 bonus to AR which
they failed their sacred duty. The Fall brought chaos to the counts as magical and applies even against spells and magi-
land and in that moment the King was assassinated, the cal attacks that normally ignore AR. This counts as a Rank
crown shattered, and the land lost. The Knights Imperial 2 Pattern effect, and can be Counterspelled but will auto-
ended that day, most hunted and killed by the usurpers. A matically return after an hour.
few escaped and survived, going into hiding amongst the
common-folk. Now the Wardens of the Lost Crown are Ancient Inheritance
all that remain, living in Steel’s Heart or the surrounding Most of the Regalia of Steel were lost after the Fall, but a
forests to the south of the Kingdom of Rust, they wander few survived and one piece was handed down through your
the wilderness dreaming of a day when the Barons can be family, kept secret generation after generation — and now
overthrown and the crown restored. it’s yours. Choose one piece you start with from those listed
on page 259. You automatically know how to use all Regalia
of Steel without needing a roll to work out their function.

Kingdom of Glass
88
Desert Mage
Children who are found to have magical ability in the
Kingdom of Glass are forced into servitude amongst the
Herinha, but sometimes they slip through unnoticed or
their friends or family help hide them. These mages cannot
remain in a large city or they would be discovered sooner
or later, so they are smuggled out into the desert to live
in small communities away from the reach of the Accord.
Growing up away from large populations and big cities,
their untrained magic is less of a threat and they often learn
to use it recklessly with no regard for the dangers it poses
to those around them. Over time their magic grows un-
checked and many are eventually ostracised by even those
who once sheltered them. These desert mages are usual-
ly solitary and untrusting. Unaccustomed to dealing with
people, their social skills are lacking, but they sometimes
discover things about magic that others would never even
consider trying for fear of the outcome.

Wandering the desert, sooner or later they come to civi-


lisation, and then they either find a way to acclimatise and
blend in without being detected or they draw the attention
of the Accord, and the Javana and Herinha are sent to ap-
prehend them.
Recommended Attribute: Focus.
ØØ
  Recommended Attribute: Focus.
ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Stealth, Survival, Veilcraft, Veilsense.
ØØ
  Skills: Academics, Appraise, Medicine, Veilcraft,
ØØ

Talents: Choose two: Blaze Magic or Pattern Magic or Veilsense.
ØØ

Tempest Magic or Wild Magic or Void Magic. You can- Talents: Apothecary, choose either Pattern Magic or
ØØ

not choose the same one twice. Blaze Magic or Wild Magic.
Starting Equipment: Common Clothes.
ØØ
  Starting Equipment: Traveller’s Kit.
ØØ

Languages: Choose either Aroji or Varin.
ØØ
  Languages: Aroji, Varin
ØØ

Undisciplined Mage Well-Trained Slave
You were never trained to use magic and developed it with- The Herinha are one of the few orders that allow magic and
out regard to the harm it could cause to the Veil. As a result, provide structured training in its use. Whenever you make
the Surge Rating always counts as 1 higher when you cast a Veilcraft test, you may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive
a spell. Action to double your Focus for that one roll. Also, you
always treat the Surge Rating as 1 lower than normal (to
Dangerous Potential a minimum of 1) when determining whether you cause a
Developing magic without any need to hide or harness Surge.
it has given you incredibly dangerous potential. You may
spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Action to increase the Rank Marked
of one of your Magic Talents by 1 for an hour, but you must You bear the mark of the Herinha on your face and people
have at least 1 Rank already in the Talent to do this. If you within the Kingdom of Glass will treat you as little better
have multiple Valour, you can even do this multiple times. than a slave.
When you cast a spell from a Rank higher than you actual-
ly possess, the Surge Rating counts as being 2 higher than
normal and this stacks with Undisciplined Mage.

Herinha — Enslaved Mage


The Herinha were once a guild of academics and doctors,
89
but during the Coup of Coins they were forced to kneel to
the Namiaven and today serve as slaves. Children within
the Kingdom of Glass are tested to see if they possess mag-
ical ability. Those who do are given a tattoo on their face
to mark them for what they are, and are forced to join the
Herinha where they are indoctrinated to serve the Accords
and not think for themselves. Those that are too old to be
taught or refuse to serve are killed. The Herinha are trained
to be healers and teachers and to use their magic for the
good of the people. Some tend to their chapter houses, re-
searching what they are commanded to research and creat-
ing what they are commanded to create, while others are
assigned to noble families to be their personal servants
and house magi. Although permitted to use magic, they
are given few freedoms and their actions are watched
at all times. Those who show signs of disobedience or
who start thinking for themselves are beaten or worse.

Despite these strict measures, sometimes one of


the Herinha does manage to escape, but their tat-
too forever marks them as an outcast. Nevertheless
some manage to hide amongst the general populace
or flee to another Kingdom. Some find safety in the
Ravahana; this guild offers sanctuary to all, and while
the Namiaven have requested the return of these ref-
ugees on several occasions, so far the Ravahana have
refused and the Namiaven have not pressed the issue.
Namiaven — Merchant Aristocrat
The Namiaven are the wealthy merchant guilds that rule
the Kingdom of Glass and oversee most of the trade
Javana Yen — Dancing Scimitars throughout Altais. Through their wealth and influence, they
The Javana are the mercenary guilds and make up the bulk usurped power during the Coup of Coins and now control
of the Kingdom of Glass’ military. They are city guards, law the majority of the seats on the Accord. Most Namiaven
enforcement, soldiers, and thugs for hire. They owe loyal- concern themselves with the running of their businesses
ty only to coin and for the last eighty years the Namiaven and the accumulation of wealth, while secretly trying to
have kept them very well paid, ensuring their loyalty to the undermine their competition. Not all of the Namiaven are
Accord. There are many different types of Javana; some equal, since these merchant families often have dozens of
focus on a particular fighting style, others on providing a children and only the first few are likely to inherit anything
specific service. The Yen are dedicated to perfecting an un- of substance or take part in the family business. The courts
usual combat style: the art of dual-wielding scimitars. They are filled with men and women who are 14th or 15th in line
prefer to hire themselves out as personal bodyguards and to the family fortune; they have inherited a noble name, a
avoid taking on duty in the city watch or serving in the hint of respect, and an overblown sense of entitlement, but
military which they see as a waste of their talents. Their little more. Most of these youths spend their hours at so-
fierce fighting style and no small amount of intimidation cial gatherings, living off their parents’ wealth and generally
has earned them a fearsome reputation, and now they can contributing little, but some set out to make fortunes of
often be seen protecting the wealthiest nobles and mer- their own or turn to completely different professions.
chants, making them as much a status symbol as they are
practical protection. The Namiaven’s greatest accomplishments are the trade
networks they have spread throughout the world. Through
Some Javana Yen travel beyond the Kingdom of Glass, these they can touch every Kingdom, influence every mar-
either on a mission from a paying customer or to protect ket place, and take a cut of every transaction. It was the
one, and a few can be found offering their services to the Namiaven that made Varin the language of trade all across
90
wealthy in far away lands. Altais.
Recommended Attribute: Agility.
ØØ
  Recommended Attribute: Charisma.
ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Streetwise.
ØØ
  Skills: Appraise, Artistry (choose one), Politics, Social,
ØØ

Talents: Dual Wield, Evasion.
ØØ
  Subterfuge.
Starting Equipment: Scimitar (x2), Traveller’s Kit, 10
ØØ
  Talents: Charming Personality, Courtly Influence.
ØØ

crs. Starting Equipment: Fancy Clothing (Superior Qual-
ØØ

Languages: Aroji, Varin, Javana Sign Language.
ØØ
  ity), Dagger (Superior Quality), Traveller’s Kit, 50 crs.
Languages: Aroji, Varin
ØØ

Dancing Scimitars
The special techniques taught to you by the Javana Yen have Trade Web
made you particularly adept at fighting with two scimitars. Your family’s influence reaches every market in the world
While using these weapons your penalty for dual wielding and once per session, while within a major city or trade
is reduced by 1, your Initiative is increased by +1, and you port, you can seek out some of their connections. Make
may choose to share the Defence bonus you receive from a Social/+Charisma test as a Complex Action, and if suc-
Dual Wield with one ally within 3 metres/yards. cessful you find a servant, merchant, sailor, or craftsman
who owes allegiance to your family and is willing to help
Acrobatic you free of charge so long as it doesn’t lead to certain death.
The Yen are very nimble, and so long as you are not wear-
ing armour or suffering a Speed penalty, you may spend Silver Tongue
2 Stamina to move up to your Speed in metres/yards as a A life spent around trade and barter has also given you a
Free Action. You may only use this once per Round and knack for knowing what things are worth. It costs you 1 less
you may move past any enemies that block your way when XP to increase your Appraise Skill and all Tests using this
you do this. Skill cascade on a 9 or higher instead of just a 10.
a single Round, the sand becomes liquid glass, reshapes it-
Nianu — Glassweavers self, and solidifies into the new item. The whole process
The Nianu are master artisans who specialise in the crea- takes only a matter of seconds and the transformation is
tion of glass. They are the only guild allowed to work this permanent.
substance, and this affords them special privilege within
the Kingdom. They are found at all levels of society, their Imbue Glass (Magic)
skills ensuring they are always in high demand. They cre- Making Pattern glass is normally a long and slow process,
ate the glass coins that are used as currency across Altais, but you can temporarily imbue a glass item with similar
they maintain and repair the Pattern glass buildings that properties when needed. To do this you must touch the
date back to before the Fall, and they run the glassworks all item and spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action. For the
across the city. Since the Nianu control the mints, they are next 3 Rounds, or until you let go of it, the item has all the
often involved in other levels of the economy as well, and properties of Pattern glass (see page 189).
can be found running banks, assisting in the collection of
taxes, and verifying that coins are not counterfeit. Seruhin — Desert Scouts
The Nianu use several different techniques in their art; The Seruhin once watched over the borders of the
common items are made using mundane glassblowing, Kingdom of Glass. They were trained to blend into the de-
while more important ones are forged from Pattern glass sert and give early warning if they saw anything that could
using a combination of magic and artistry. These techniques threaten the land. They were loyal to the Mavia and van-
are kept secret from all outside the order, and although it is ished into the desert eighty years ago during the Coup of
widely known that the Nianu use magic in their craft, they Coins; few have seen them since. They are still out there,
are allowed this freedom so long as they don’t flaunt the watching and waiting. Some of them have sided with the
fact. Some Nianu venture into the desert to collect the sand rebels in Tamasia while others keep to their duty and watch
they need for their glass, but this is not a simple process; the borders. They have their own small villages and settle-
sand comes in different grains and qualities and they are ments deep in the desert where most others would not sur-
very particular about their materials. vive, and are completely at home there. In addition to being
excellent archers, hunters, scouts, and trackers, the Seruhin
Several suborders exist within their ranks that focus on practise a strange mental discipline which has been passed
different areas. The most unusual of these are the Sunianu, down through their order for centuries and is never taught
a secret group that conceals the identities of its members. to outsiders: They believe that thought defines existence 91
The Sunianu are the grave keepers, tending to the Glass and that all thoughts and therefore all existence is connect-
Fields where the dead are buried, interring their bodies into ed through the Void. By emptying their minds, they sepa-
the sands and turning the area to glass as a monument to
mark the grave.

Recommended Attribute: Focus or Agility.


ØØ

Skills: Academics, Appraise, Artistry (Glasswork), Veil-
ØØ

craft, Veilsense.
Talent: Expert Artisan, Pattern Magic.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Traveller’s Kit, 10 crs.
ØØ

Languages: Aroji, Varin.
ØØ

Loom of Sand (Magic)
Your finesse with glasswork is so great that you may
use Pattern Magic to create glass items almost in-
stantly. This requires a suitable quantity of sand
which you must touch, and an expenditure of
Stamina as a Complex Action. The cost depends
on the size of the item: small items like daggers
and cups cost only 1 Stamina, medium items
such as a sword or shield cost 2 Stamina, and
large items cost 3 or more. Make an Artistry
(Glasswork)/+Agility test to determine the
quality of the craftsmanship: a failed roll indi-
cates a Poor Quality item, while a 3 DoS roll
results in an item of Superior Quality. Within
rate themselves from this connection and can pass through Recommended Attribute: Focus or Mind.
ØØ

the world without being seen. Certainly these teachings
would be frowned upon today and so they keep them to Skills: Academics, Artistry (choose one), Athletics,
ØØ

themselves while using them to protect the Kingdom. Medicine, Survival.
Talents: Arcane Defence, Storm Sympathy.
ØØ

Recommended Attribute: Agility or Focus.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Quarterstaff, Healing Salve (x2),
ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Perception, Ranged, Stealth, Survival.
ØØ
  Traveller’s Kit, 5 mk.
Talents: Scouting, The Empty Thought.
ØØ
  Languages: Aroji, Elali.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Shortbow, Short Sword, Travel-
ØØ

ler’s Kit, 5 crs. Banish the Tempest
Although not their primary role, the Elanshi are sometimes
Languages: Aroji, Varin.
ØØ
  called upon to remove a lucent that is plaguing a village.
Desert Survivors You may use Arcane Defence against both free and fet-
Seruhin can survive even in the most arid environments. tered lucents almost as if they were spells: The spell casting
While within a desert they gain a +5 bonus on all Survival penalty from Restrict the Veil applies to all rolls they make
Tests. while within range, and you may use the Counterspell rules
under Mend the Veil and Hold the Veil to instead banish
Eyes of the Corix them back to the Tempest. The DoS required is based on
Seruhin are trained to watch for even the smallest change the size of the lucent: Tiny and Small take 1 DoS, Medium
in their environment and gain a +1 bonus on all Perception need 2, Large 3, Huge 4, and Gigantic require 5.
Tests.
Kingdom’s Hospitality
The Elanshi are welcomed and offered hospitality wherever
Kingdom of Storms they go, and while within the Kingdom of Storms you can
automatically find free lodging and a meal within any town
or city. This also offers you some measure of protection, as
92 Elanshi — Storm Calmers few criminals stoop to robbing the Elanshi.
Sometimes a child is born in the Kingdom of Storms
with a mark upon their skin. Believed to be sacred, these
children are taken and cloistered away, trained to be one Erishala — Thunder Spears
of the Elanshi who spend their life in service to others. Most missile weapons are useless within the Great
The Elanshi are tasked with ensuring there are safe pas- Maelstrom that fills the Kingdom of Storms. The Erishala
sages through the Storm. They guide travellers, give ad- arose to compensate for this, an order of javelineers that
vice, and occasionally protect people from the native life practise magical techniques allowing their weapons to
of the Tempest. They are greatly respected throughout the work in even the fiercest wind. Few are invited to join the
Kingdom and can always find free lodging and food in any Erishala; they look first for signs of inner strength and de-
village they visit. Most find the common-folk are keen to termination, and most of their recruits have either been lost
give what assistance they can in exchange for shelter from alone in the Storm and survived or have fought a lucent
the Storm, and for this reason very few Elanshi accumulate and lived to tell the tale. Would-be recruits are tested for a
any wealth. Some take up permanent residence within a vil- connection to the Tempest, and if they pass these tests they
lage and help keep the Storm from destroying crops, others may finally be brought into the order where their training
ensure the Wind Roads stay open for trade and travel. Most begins and lasts many years. To the Erishala, the Storm is
Elanshi also take up a craft so they can further give to socie- not a hindrance or an enemy, it is an ally. The wind guides
ty, becoming weavers, tailors, or even farmers. The study of their javelins to their mark and throws their opponents off
medicine is also common amongst them. The Elanshi fall balance. Most serve the Leeside Tetrarch and they usually
under the jurisdiction of the Leeside Tetrarch who watches spend their time protecting villages, hunting lucents, and
over the villages and common-folk. using their abilities to keep the land free from harmful
magic, but in times of war they can be called to aid the
Wanderway armies in defence of the Kingdom.
Recommended Attribute: Agility or Focus.
ØØ
  Nimble Blades
Skills: Melee, Perception, Ranged, Survival, Veilsense.
ØØ
  Ishrila are trained to focus on speed over brute force. While
using a rapier, dagger, or stiletto, you may use your Agility
Talents: Javelin’s Thunder, Scouting.
ØØ
  instead of Strength to determine damage.
Starting Equipment: Javelin (x3), Dagger, Mail, Trav-
ØØ

eller’s Kit, 5 crs. Feared Enforcers
The Ishrila are feared throughout the land and you gain
Languages: Aroji, Elali.
ØØ
  a +3 bonus on all Intimidation Skill Tests against people
Ally of the Wind raised in the Kingdom of Storms. Rumours of your or-
Erishala move through the wind unhindered by its might. der have even spread beyond, and you gain a +1 bonus to
The Speed penalty you suffer from the Wind Rating (page Intimidation against those from other Kingdoms.
249) is reduced by your Focus.
Muiyar — Iron Breakers
Lucent Hunter The Iron Breakers formed during the darkest moments of
Erishala are trained to hunt lucents and gain a bonus +2 the War of Broken Steel close to six hundred years ago.
Accuracy and Damage against them while using a javelin, Hope for the Kingdom seemed lost and conquest by the
and a +2 bonus on all rolls to know about, track, or identify Kingdom of Rust was inevitable. A group of mages focused
them. These bonuses apply against both free and fettered their efforts on finding a way to overcome the armour of
lucents. the enemy knights. Testing out different magics on cap-
tured soldiers, they developed a new technique that allowed
Ishrila — Adjudicators
While the Uelaushi take care of the administration of the
Kingdom, the Ishrila are the active hands and eyes of the
Tetrarchs, agents and adjudicators trained to investigate
crimes and enforce law and order. In times of war they can
be found as advisers to generals, providing tactical insights
for battle, while in peacetime they travel the land judg-
ing disputes and providing law enforcement for
93
towns and villages too small to have their own
guards.

The Ishrila are empowered with the author-


ity to deal with any issues of law they encounter
in whatever way they see fit, but are expected to
consult the local Uelaushi on issues of doctrine and heresy.
Occasionally an Ishrila abuses their position and becomes
anathema, excommunicated from the order and hunted by
others of their kind. Adjudicators never travel alone, they
are escorted by one or more deputies who assist in their
duties and replace them should they fall.

Recommended Attribute: Mind or Agility.


ØØ

Skills: Academics, Intimidation, Melee, Performance
ØØ

(Oration), Social.
Talents: Inspiring Leader, Tactics.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Rapier, Traveller’s Kit, 10 crs.
ØØ

Languages: Aroji, Elali.
ØØ

Skilled Deputies
Ishrila hold their deputies to a high standard. Whenever
you gain a Loyal Retainer, Personal Guard, or Coterie
through Inspiring Leader they begin with 1 extra Attribute
point and 2 extra Skill Ranks which may be put into Brawl,
Melee, or Ranged but cannot raise them higher than 3. All
other limitations still apply.
them to shatter steel. This technique started as a crude spell Recommended Attribute: Focus or Strength.
ØØ

which was taught to soldiers who possessed some magi- Skills: Academics, Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Me-
ØØ

cal aptitude; it was difficult to use and limited in its func- lee.
tion, but it was enough to turn the tide of the war and the
Knights of Rust were driven back and defeated. Talents: Armour Expertise, Two Handed Weapons.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Quarterstaff, Plate Cuirass,
ØØ

In the wake of the war, the Muiyar were formed to stand Traveller’s Kit, 2 crs.
guard in case the soldiers of Rust ever returned. They prac-
tised the techniques the mages had developed and over Languages: Aroji, Elali.
ØØ

time improved them. Direct contact was found to deliver
the magic more effectively than a ranged spell could, and a Concussive Force (Magic)
concussive blow helped the user focus the attack. It became The Muiyar specialise in using a quarterstaff, and their
an art of its own, a fighting style that evolved around the strikes with these weapons send shock waves through their
use of a staff, standardised and codified and taught to sol- enemies. While using a quarterstaff, you may choose to
diers who spent a decade mastering its techniques. deal non-Subdual damage on your attack and gain a bo-
nus to your weapon’s AP equal to your Focus. This can be
Today the Muiyar have dwindled in number; although Counterspelled as a Rank 1 Pattern effect, but it returns
their abilities are more refined than ever before, centuries after an hour.
of peace with the Kingdom of Rust has led to their de-
cline. The Tetrarchs see little reason to fund their organisa- Shatter (Magic)
tion and the public sees little importance in their function. The greatest technique of the Muiyar is to shatter steel
There are only three dozen or so of them left, guarding the and stone. You may spend 1 Valour as a Complex Action
border and passing their teachings on to the few recruits and slam the end of your staff into the ground to shatter
they find willing to learn. an object within 10 metres/yards. The effect destroys all
non-living matter in a half-metre radius around the target
point. Suffice to say objects smaller than this are destroyed
completely, while larger ones are left with a hole in them.
This only works on non-living material: metal, stone, and
even dead wood can be affected; living creatures and trees
94 cannot. This can destroy weapons or armour, and when
used on creatures made of non-living materials it deals
5d/+Focus damage. This can be Counterspelled as a Rank
3 Pattern effect, but this doesn’t prevent the Muiyar activat-
ing it again if they have enough Valour.

U’laothi — Storm Barbarians


There are tribes living in remote areas that have little con-
tact with the rest of the Kingdom, communities that date
back to before the Fall and have never been discovered in
the Storm. They have been joined by others over the cen-
turies, people from villages that get disconnected from the
Wind Roads and forgotten by the Elanshi, or individuals
who become lost in the Storm but manage to survive. It is
unknown how many of these tribes there are, but they
have their own society that owes no allegiance to the
Tetrarchs or the Celestials. They are viewed as savage
and barbaric by the Shi, and when they are infrequently
encountered, they are usually feared and distrusted.

They call themselves the Tatarnu and worship gods of


animals and elements, believing everything that they see
in the world around them has a reflection in the divine.
They pray to the spirits of animals, asking them for for-
giveness before hunting them for food, they pray to the
Storm for safe passage, and to the ground for safe foot-
ing. They have a prayer for every occasion and a name
for every spirit. They care little about the Shi, believing they When the island floats over a village, they throw down
are the misguided ones who have lost touch with the true anchors which catch on the ground and bring the island to
nature of the world around them. a halt, then descend on ropes to pillage the village before
returning to the skies once more. So far the authorities have
Recommended Attribute: Strength.
ØØ
  been unable to stop them due to the difficulty of finding
Skills: Athletics, Medicine, Melee, Stealth, Survival.
ØØ
  the island.
Talents: Battle Hardened, Two Handed Weapons.
ØØ
  Recommended Attribute: Strength or Focus.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Spear, Dagger, Leather Aketon,
ØØ
  Skills: Animal Handling, Athletics, Melee, Seafaring,
ØØ

Traveller’s Kit. Streetwise.
Languages: Tatarni, choose either Aroji or Elali.
ØØ
  Talents: Dirty Fighting, Evasion.
ØØ

Life of War Starting Equipment: Sabre, Dagger, Traveller’s Kit, 5
ØØ

Through training and battle you have become hardier than crs.
most, and your Maximum Health is increased by 10 for Languages: Aroji, Elali, Outlaw’s Argot.
ØØ

every point of Valour you have instead of by 5.
Nimble Climber
Storm Survivors (Magic) Sky Pirates have a lot of practice climbing across the Skite’s
Your people have lived for a thousand years in the Storm Gambit, and falling is almost certainly fatal. So long as you
and it no longer bothers you quite as much as it does oth- are either not wearing armour or wearing only Light ar-
ers. The Wind Rating and Cold Rating are reduced by your mour, you may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to
Rank in Survival for determining how severely they affect gain a bonus DoS on any Athletics Test.
you. This counts as a Rank 2 Tempest effect and can be
Counterspelled, but it returns after an hour. Animal Empathy (Magic)
The U’lawa possess the unusual ability to communicate
Leap Upon the Wind (Magic) with animals through a limited form of telepathy. You may
While the Storm threatens to pick most people up and roll Animal Handling/+Focus as a Complex Action to 95
throw them, you’ve learnt to let it carry you where you need communicate with an animal within line of sight for one
to go. As a Quick Action you can leap a number of metres/ minute. Only simple ideas can be communicated — things
yards equal to five times the Wind Rating in the area with- like “food this way”, “beware danger!”, or “did you see
out being harmed in the landing. You can also fall just as far people covered in metal?” are okay, but animals have no
without injury. This counts as a Rank 2 Tempest effect and understanding of human titles, names, and culture, which
can be Counterspelled, but it returns after an hour. can limit their ability to answer some questions. This ability
can be Counterspelled as a Rank 1 Void effect but returns
U’lawa — Sky Pirates after 1 hour. It does not cause a Taint Test.
The Storm Skites were a gang of thieves and scoundrels
who committed petty theft and other minor crimes in Elal Uelaushi — Storm Priests
Ushria. They got their name from their unusual ability to The Kingdom of Storms is ruled by the Tetrarchs, the
commune with animals. They made their lair in a rocky out- four high priests who interpret the doctrine and will of the
cropping in the base of one of the smaller floating islands Celestials. The Kingdom has no nobility, instead each of
and used ropes to climb along the bottom where the guards the Tetrarchs is served by the Uelaushi, lesser priests who
couldn’t reach them. Then, in their most daring raid, they control much of the land’s wealth and resources.
conspired to steal the island completely. Setting up sails
from some of the taller buildings, they overwhelmed the The Uelaushi carry the words of the Tetrarchs across
local guards, cut the ropes and bridges anchoring it to the the land, overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the Kingdom
rest of the city, and sailed the island away into the Storm. including keeping track of taxes and trade, and generally
keeping everything running smoothly. The higher-ranking
They changed their name and renamed the island the Uelaushi serve in the great cathedral in Elal Ushria, where
Skite’s Gambit and it has drifted freely since that day, car- they hold social parties and bicker amongst themselves
ried by the wind. The Sky Pirates have some limited control over insignificant points of doctrine, while those of lower
over where it flies by using sails to steer, but for the most rank tend to the libraries or work as scribes. Not all the
part they are at the mercy of the Storm.
priests are found in Elal Ushria — some serve in small vil- Recommended Attribute: Strength or Agility.
ØØ

lage chapels, while others travel to dispense spiritual advice Skills: Animal Handling, Brawl, Intimidation, Melee,
ØØ

where needed. Ride.
Through their study of the Storm most Uelaushi learn to Talents: Armour Expertise, Fearsome Countenance.
ØØ

manipulate the Tempest. This is believed to be the gift of Starting Equipment: Plate Cuirass, Storm Domar,
ØØ

the Celestials to the priesthood and a symbol of their divine Sword, Lance, Traveller’s Kit, 10 crs.
right to rule. Naturally they prohibit others from learning
this art, and all other forms of magic are forbidden. Languages: Aroji, Elali.
ØØ

Recommended Attribute: Focus.
ØØ
  Fleet of Foot
The wind knights dedicate themselves to being the swiftest
Skills: Academics, Politics, Social, Veilcraft, Veilsense.
ØØ
  knights even while wearing armour. Your total Speed pen-
Talents: Arcane Expertise, Tempest Magic.
ØØ
  alty from armour is reduced by 1.
Starting Equipment: Fancy Clothing (Superior Quali-
ØØ

ty), Traveller’s Kit, 50 crs. Winged Armour
Your plate cuirass has four white wings attached to its back
Languages: Aroji, Elali, Old Eesan.
ØØ
  marking you as a wind knight, and your reputation grants
you a +2 bonus to Intimidation Tests while it is worn.
Walk the Wind
The Uelaushi are so practised with Tempest Magic that Replacement Armaments
many float through life never touching the ground. When The Yaru’la are most well known for their swift steed
using Tempest Magic to levitate only yourself, you may cast and winged armour. If you lose yours, you can purchase
the spell without roll or cost and the spell’s Duration lasts a replacement from your order in any major city in the
until you choose to end it, or you sleep or fall unconscious. Kingdom of Storms. Acquiring these further afield may be
more difficult. Only wind knights are allowed to use these
Frail Constitution items, and providing them to others could get you banished
A life of relative ease and wealth combined with never
or worse. The winged armour costs the same price as a
needing to walk anywhere has atrophied your muscles. You
standard plate cuirass, and the storm domar costs 200 crs.
96 have a permanent -1 penalty to your Speed and you suffer a
-2 penalty on all Athletics Tests.

Yaru’la — Wind Knights


The wind knights are the cavalry of the Kingdom of Storms,
feared for their incredible speed and skill in battle. It is said
that they strike as swiftly as the wind and vanish before the
enemy can respond, and that they have never been defeat-
ed in battle. So fearsome is this reputation that on several
occasions armies have fled or surrendered as soon as the
wind knights appeared, ending the war without a battle be-
ing fought. While there is a grain of truth to these legends
— they are certainly the swiftest cavalry in Altais — their
reputation is mostly propaganda and has brought them far
more fame and victory than their skill ever has. The wind
knights ride storm domar specially bred for speed, and
some say that these beasts themselves are magical. They
decorate their armour with bright gemstones and have four
white wings attached to their armour to intimidate their en-
emies and so that all know them when they approach. Most
of the Yaru’la reside in barracks at Larush and patrol the
borders watching for signs of aggression from the other
Kingdoms. They serve the Wanderway Tetrarch, and as the
dominant military force in the Kingdom they could give
her an unparallelled edge over her rivals, but law forbids
them from entering Elal Ushria while armed or armoured
to prevent such a coup occurring.
Kingdom of Serpents
Basentu — Dragon Fists
Once a minor family within the Tuashi, they adapted the
Tuashi’s clawed fighting style and created their own that
focused on fighting without weapons. The Basentu rose
to power by siding with the Amonkari during the Tuashi of family etiquette. Their fighting style is an aggressive one,
Uprising and have grown rapidly since that day, although using two hooked swords called djasi to maintain a relent-
they remain the smallest of the Stikati. Their combat tech- less flurry of blows while at the same time hooking and
niques focus on the body as a weapon — through the pu- disarming their opponents. They also make excellent spies
rification of the self, one becomes closer to achieving the and have been known to fight with secrets and blackmail
perfection the Drakari intended for them. They revere the when their djasi aren’t suitable for the job. Their usefulness
Amonkari as the divine representative of the Drakari and has so far kept them in the Amonkari’s favour, but they
are one of the more fervently loyal Stikati. become more brazen every day and their criminal activities
The Basentu control the city of Nemet. Once a small have caused several conflicts with the Makheba. It’s only a
temple, it has grown into a large city in just a few decades matter of time before the Amonkari is forced to intervene
due to its proximity to several opal deposits. They are more or there will be war between the two Stikati.
welcoming of the common-folk into their ranks than the Recommended Attribute: Agility or Charisma.
ØØ

other families, and those who show promise often marry
into the Basentu and are taught their fighting techniques. Skills: Intimidation, Larceny, Melee, Streetwise, Subter-
ØØ

fuge.
Recommended Attribute: Focus.
ØØ
  Talents: Dual Wield, Outlaw’s Path.
ØØ

Skills: Academics, Artistry (choose one), Athletics,
ØØ
  Starting Equipment: Djasi (x2), Traveller’s Kit, 200
ØØ

Brawl, Politics. dema (12 crs).
Talents: Evasion, Unarmed Combat.
ØØ
  Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Traveller’s Kit, 100 dema (6 crs).
ØØ

Hook Sword Expertise 97
Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ
  The Djaren teach that the best technique is to deny your
Purity of Focus opponent their weapon. While dual wielding djasi your at-
The Basentu believe that training the body first involves tacks gain +2 Accuracy, and you may use the Parry and
training the mind. So long as you are unarmed and unar- Hook manoeuvre whenever an enemy misses you with a
moured, you may add your Focus to either your Strength or melee weapon even if they did not do so by 5 or more (see
Agility each Round. You must choose which at the start of page 197).
your Turn and cannot change it until your next Turn. This
bonus does not increase Health or Stamina but does affect
Scoundrel’s Luck
Whenever you make a Subterfuge, Larceny, or Streetwise
all other derived stats.
Test, you may reroll one die.
Pain Brings Clarity
The Basentu teach that through pain comes focus of pur- Hekari — Dragon Priests
pose. The first time you take damage in a combat, you gain Within the Kingdom of Serpents, the Akubesh order is
2 Stamina. This can take you over your normal maximum, dedicated to the worship of the Drakari and to preparing
but any excess points are lost at the end of the combat if for the day when they will return. The Hekari are the priests
they are not used. who lead this order. They are scholars and historians, and
many of them study Wild Magic, believing it may one day
Djaren — Twin Fangs allow them to commune with the Drakari once more. They
oversee the faith of the people, perform the sacred ceremo-
The Djaren are a relatively new family. Their rise to pow-
er surprised many and some whisper that they achieved nies, and ensure that doctrine is followed. Few within the
it through less than honourable means. Rumours suggest Kingdom are as knowledgeable in history and magic as the
(quite correctly) that their family has connections with
criminal groups all across the Kingdom, and in many cases
they run the local syndicates. Of all the families, they keep
the strictest internal structure and have been known to
punish their own very harshly for even the smallest breach
Hekari, and many of them serve the Kari as advisers, while a wide berth, since to stand in their way is practically trea-
others tend to the temples and serve as spiritual leaders for son and few are willing to draw their ire.
the common people. The relationship between the political
and religious halves of the Kingdom is strained at best: The Recommended Attribute: Focus or Charisma.
ØØ

Hekari consider the Amonkari to be a heretic who falsely Skills: Intimidation, Melee, Perception, Politics,
ØØ

claims divine descent, but would never dare say so; and the Ranged.
Kari consider the Akubesh to be the dangerous leftover
Talents: Breath of the Dragon, Courtly Influence.
ØØ

dregs of an outdated and archaic order, but would face the
ire of the people if they acted against them. Starting Equipment: Matet, Fancy Clothing (Superior
ØØ

Quality), Traveller’s Kit, 500 dema (30 crs).
Recommended Attribute: Mind.
ØØ
  Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ

Skills: Academics, Appraise, Politics, Veilcraft,
ØØ

Veilsense. Divine Authority
Talents: Research, Wild Magic.
ØØ
  The Karimatet speak with the authority of the Amonkari.
You gain a +1 bonus to all Intimidate and Social Tests
Starting Equipment: Traveller’s Kit, 100 dema (6 crs).
ØØ
  when dealing with people from the Kingdom of Serpents.
Languages: Kamash, Aroji, Dras.
ØØ
  This bonus increases to +3 while you have any Rank of
Breath of the Dragon active.
Learned Scholar
The Hekari spend most of their time in study and know Dragon’s Vigour
more about the history of Altais than any others. For each The Karimatet train to endure exhaustion. So long as you’re
Rank you possess in Research, you are Knowledgeable in not wearing Heavy armour (which weighs you down too
two Skills instead of one (see page 149). much), your maximum Stamina is increased by +2.

Divine Communion (Magic)


The Hekari often pray to the Drakari for guidance.
Katesh — Serpent Keepers
98 Apothecaries, healers, and sages, the Katesh farm the
You may spend an hour in quiet meditation and make a
swamps for rare herbs and venomous creatures to har-
Veilcraft/+Focus test to seek insight into your current sit-
vest for their strange concoctions. They look after the
uation. If successful, you may ask the GM one question
sacred animals and swim through the swamp waters
with a “yes” or “no” answer. Your character receives a
with the serpents and the karifi. They are part of the
response as a general feeling of affirmation or denial; no
Akubesh and ensure the Hekari have all that they need
words are heard, and at the GM’s discretion the answers to
to perform their ceremonies and rituals. In many ways they
some questions may be obscured from even the Drakari.
are the facilitators of the temple and rarely commit them-
You may only use this once per day.
selves to combat, preferring to supply others to fight for
them. A few Katesh can be found tending to the temples
Karimatet — Children of the Dragon in large cities, and others live in villages as healers and mys-
The Karimatet are the family of the Amonkari. They rule tics, but most prefer to keep to the swamps where they
the Kingdom of Serpents, believing themselves the divine feel most at home. This has led to them being viewed as
descendants of the Drakari. Their influence within the hermits and witches, who should be avoided lest they lay a
Kingdom is rivalled only by their arrogance and hubris, and curse on those who intrude.
they use that influence to ensure their position remains se-
cure. Most Karimatet are found in larger cities where they Recommended Attribute: Mind or Focus.
ØØ

carry out orders from their family, eliminating rivals to the Skills: Animal Handling, Medicine, Perception, Surviv-
ØØ

throne and threats to the Kingdom in equal measure. They al, Swim.
wield a curved sword called a matet and possess a power
Talents: Apothecary, The Swamp’s Ire.
ØØ

they call the Breath of the Dragon, which they claim is a
blessing bestowed upon them by the Drakari during the Starting Equipment: Healing Salve (x3), Traveller’s
ØØ

Fall. Most within the Kingdom know to give the Karimatet Kit, 20 dema (1 crs, 20 mk).
Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ

Swims with Serpents (Magic)
Few know as much about the life of the swamp as the Khu — Temple Assassins
Katesh, and they move through the wilderness unbothered The Kingdom of Serpents is infamous for its assassins, and
by predators and wild animals. Animals from Altais and the the Khu are the most feared of all. They are trained by the
Wild will not attack you unless provoked, although this of- Akubesh to kill in the name of the Drakari and to serve
fers no protection to your companions, and does not work with their silence. The existence of the Khu is kept secret
against hostile humans, lucents, or Rephaim. and many believe they are just a myth, but the high-ranking
within the Akubesh know differently and send them after
Karifi Familiar the enemies of the temple. The Khu believe that stealth is
You begin with a karifi (see page 345) that has been taught the essence of their art, and strike down their targets with-
the Tamed, Loyalty, and Attack tricks. If it is lost or killed, out ever being seen. They are taught to use thrown weap-
you may gain another after an hour spent in the swamp and ons and poisons — but above all, they are taught to serve.
a successful Survival/+Charisma test. It automatically gains
those same tricks. You may only have one Karifi Familiar at Recommended Attribute: Agility.
ØØ

a time. You can of course tame other Karifi using Animal Skills: Athletics, Melee, Ranged, Stealth, Subterfuge.
ØØ

Handling as normal, they just don’t gain the bonus tricks.
Talents: Unseen Strike, Silence in Shadows.
ØØ

Poison Resistant Starting Equipment: Katar, Blowpipe, Woe (x3),
ØØ

Katesh are hardened against the effects of venoms and tox- Traveller’s Kit, 100 dema (6 crs).
ins due to their frequent exposure to poisons, and you may Languages: Kamash, Aroji,
ØØ

spend 1 Stamina after making a Poison Resistance Test (see Outlaw’s Argot.
page 234) to turn one die into a 10 and trigger a Cascade.

99
next attack will come from. While wielding a maku or spear,
your attacks lower your opponent’s Defence by 1 until the
Deadly Assassin start of your next Turn. This penalty occurs after you have
The Khu are particularly adept at striking from the shad- rolled to hit, and applies even if your attack misses. You
ows, and the Stamina costs of all Ranks of Unseen Strike can also do this with a Shield Bash. This effect stacks from
are reduced by 1. multiple attacks.

Poisonous Contacts Unbroken Wall (Magic)


The Khu have contacts within the Akubesh who can sup- The Makheba pride themselves on their stalwart defence.
ply poison without asking too many questions. You can al- While wearing Heavy or Medium armour you gain a +10
ways purchase poison from the temples in the Kingdom of bonus to AR, but this is lost if you take damage. Even a sin-
Serpents (although specific ones may not be available) and gle point is enough to break your wall of determination. The
they cost half the normal price. bonus returns after 10 minutes. This can be Counterspelled
as a Rank 2 Pattern effect, but returns after an hour.
Poison Resistant
Khu are trained to be resistant to poisons so they don’t
accidentally poison themselves or fall victim to other as-
Nesenti — Chain Dancers
Fluid movement and brutal injuries mark the teachings of
sassins. You may spend 1 Stamina after making a Poison
the Chain Dancers. They operate mostly around the flat-
Resistance Test (see page 234) to turn one die into a 10 and
lands of the Kingdom of Serpents, selling their services
trigger a Cascade.
to the citizens as enforcers and bodyguards. The Nesenti
specialise in using the senka, a weapon comprised of a ra-
Makheba — Iron Walls zor-sharp blade attached to a long chain which they spin at
The largest of the Stikati, the Makheba are the daily face of incredible speed, winding it around their body and whirl-
authority. They enforce the laws and keep the peace, they ing to release it towards their opponent — part attack, part
guard the borders and protect caravans from bandits. The dance.
Makheba can be found all across the Kingdom, serving in
every city as guard, city watch, and soldier. Some investigate They also enjoy public displays of their talent and will
crimes but most are simply taught to fight and inspire fear conduct dance-duels between fellow practitioners. Neither
100 in their enemies. All Makheba undergo rigorous formation duellist lands a blow, instead they demonstrate their prow-
training and are adept at fighting in large units with a spear ess through precision of movement and beauty of pattern.
called a maku and a huge shield called a khebesh.
The most flamboyant of the Stikati, the Nesenti are
Due to their responsibilities over law enforcement, they loud, joyful, and extravagant, believing that entertaining the
often find themselves opposing the Djaren and their agents. crowd is far more important than winning the battle, and
So far an unspoken agreement has kept things relatively both are second to telling a good story.
civil between the two Stikati: the Makheba shut down any
Recommended Attribute: Agility or Charisma.
ØØ

illegal operations they encounter and arrest any common
thugs and criminals, and the Djaren avoid the conflict and Skills: Athletics, Performance (Dance), Performance
ØØ

don’t interfere, and in exchange are allowed to go free re- (Storytelling), Ranged, Social.
gardless of how much evidence there may be against them. Talents: Charming Personality, Swift Step.
ØØ

In a few recent encounters the Djaren tried to protect their
Starting Equipment: Senka, Fancy Clothing (Superior
ØØ

operations and they came to blows with the Makheba. No
Quality), Traveller’s Kit, 200 dema (12 crs).
one was killed but all can tell that the situation is escalating.
Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ

Recommended Attribute: Strength.
ØØ

Skills: Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Perception, Street-
ØØ
  Dance of the Nesenti
wise. The Nesenti’s dance is more than just a performance, it’s
designed to help the senka build up speed. Whenever you
Talents: Fearsome Countenance, Shield Mastery.
ØØ
  spend a Quick Action moving, you may use some of your
Starting Equipment: Maku, Khebesh, Lamellar, Trav-
ØØ
  movement to dance instead, spinning up the chain ready
eller’s Kit, 100 dema (6 crs). for a strike. For every 1 metre/yard worth or movement
Languages: Kamash, Aroji. you spend dancing instead of moving, you add +1 damage
ØØ

to the next attack you make this Round with a senka. If you
Unbalancing Strike have the ability to spend additional Quick Actions moving
The Makheba strike with their spears and shields to unbal- (such as from Swift Step Rank 2), you may use all of them
ance their enemies, keeping them guessing about where the to increase the damage even further. Your character must
have enough space to dance and spin the chain to be able to
do this. Only normal walk Actions can be used in this way; Swamp Tracking
Fly, Swim, Burrow, and other move types cannot be used to A life hunting in the Kingdom of Serpents has allowed
increase damage. you to develop particular techniques for tracking within
swampy areas. You gain a +3 bonus to all Survival Tests
Entertaining Boast made to track creatures through swamps and marshes.
The Nesenti love a good story. You may boast about your
accomplishments through an elaborate tale of adven- Leviathan Hunter
ture and daring to raise your audience’s morale. Make a The greater the prey, the greater the hunt. You gain 1 extra
Performance (Storytelling)/+Charisma test after complet- die on all Damage Tests you make against Large creatures,
ing the story (which takes at least half an hour) to give all and 2 extra dice against creatures that are Huge or greater.
listeners a +1 bonus to all Skill Tests they make for the rest
of the day.
Beyond the Borders
Tekhet — Serpent Knights
Knights of the swamp, the Tekhet patrol its waters, seeking Ahbkahdee — Clan Champions
out the large beasts that threaten villages and trade routes The people of Ghoskoya produce many warriors; nearly
and slaying them to keep the people safe, sometimes for a half of the inhabitants of each clan take up an axe at some
fee. They are the closest thing the land has to chivalry but point in their life and fight to protect their village from the
even amongst them it’s in short supply. great medrei that prowl the ice looking for human meat.
The greatest warrior of each clan becomes Ahbkahdee: the
They are trained to track, identify, and trap these crea- clan’s honour. They lead the other warriors, hunt the largest
tures, which they usually do on foot. There are few animals beasts, and when a dispute occurs between the clans the
suitable for riding through the swamp and their fighting Ahbkahdee settle it through duels amongst themselves so
style isn’t suited to mounted combat. Many Tekhet keep that their people don’t need to go to war. The Ahbkahdee
trophies, taking the head or another identifying piece of a focus on physical strength and battle prowess so they can
slain creature to add to their own individual glory. Some are protect those of their clan that choose a different path.
dried and worn on their person, others are mounted and
kept in their house or barracks. Recommended Attribute: Strength.
ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Survival.
ØØ
  101
Every Tekhet has one or more squires who look after
the knight’s weapons and help track and hunt their prey, Talents: Battle Hardened, choose either One Handed
ØØ

although only the knight may deal the killing blow. Being Weapons or Two Handed Weapons.
a squire to a Tekhet is considered a great honour and each
Starting Equipment: Battle Axe, Traveller’s Kit, 5,000
ØØ

squire hopes that they may one day become Tekhet them-
drev (5 crs).
selves, assuming they survive long enough.
Languages: Ghosk, Aroji.
ØØ

The Tekhet fighting style involves the use of light armour
and a bladed polearm called the tekmaku. Brawn Over Grace
The Ahbkahdee prize strength over finesse and rely on the
Recommended Attribute: Strength.
ØØ
  sheer power of their blows to fell their enemies. While us-
Skills: Animal Handling, Melee, Stealth, Survival, Swim.
ØØ
  ing a battle axe, club, or great axe, you may choose to use
your Strength instead of your Agility in Attack rolls.
Talents: Inspiring Leader, Two Handed Weapons.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Tekmaku, Leather Aketon, Trav-
ØØ
  Mighty Blows
eller’s Kit, 100 dema (6 crs). Through sheer determination, the Ahbkahdee make every
Languages: Kamash, Aroji.
ØØ
  blow count. You may spend Stamina up to your Strength as
a Reflexive Action to add a +1 bonus to your next Damage
Spinning Defence Test for every point spent.
The Tekhet practise using their tekmaku defensively, spin-
ning the polearm around in a flurry that prevents enemies Night Affinity
getting close enough to strike. While wielding a tekmaku, The Ghoski are accustomed to living in the frozen wastes
you may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to add half
your Melee Skill (round up) to your Defence for the rest of
the Round. You cannot do this while wearing Medium or
Heavy armour.
and have adapted to the darkness. You suffer no penalties their village safe and to rid the land of their blight, although
from Dim Light or Darkness, however brighter light is un- their prey is usually of the lesser variety — few are a match
comfortable and you suffer a -1 penalty to Skill Tests in for the Greater Rephaim.
Light or Bright Light (see page 250).
Recommended Attribute: Focus or Agility.
ØØ

Asular — Wraith Hunters Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Melee, Survival, Veilsense.
ØØ

Rare are the individuals who would willing seek out the Talents: Forge of Air, One Handed Weapons.
ØØ

Rephaim; even rarer are those who survive long enough to Starting Equipment: Travelling Kit, 25 steel (5 crs).
ØØ

make a career out of hunting them. Long ago, before the
Fall, a group of mages in the Kingdom of Flowers sought Languages: Aroji.
ØØ

to understand the building blocks of matter. They were
called the Asular and they created magnificent works and Chosen Prey
wove new materials from the very air. Most perished during Trained to hunt the Rephaim, the Asular practise tech-
the Fall and the chaos that followed, but a few survived. niques that aid them specifically against these foes. They
Fleeing the ruination of Lesulani, they sheltered amongst gain a +1 bonus to Accuracy and Damage against Lesser
the common people and eventually helped build the town Rephaim and a +1 bonus to all Skill Tests to track or un-
of Corebend. A few of their secrets have been passed down derstand them.
from generation to generation, but centuries of living on
the border with the Kingdom of Ash has focused their pur- Void Resistant
pose towards defending themselves from the horror of the Through training all Asular are hardened against the effects
Rephaim. Today the Asular call themselves wraith hunters of Void Taint. You gain a +2 bonus to all Taint Tests.
and practice the art of weaving weapons from the air that
can harm even the Rephaim. They hunt them down to keep
A Basic Understanding
You have a crude understanding of the Void Tongue and
can make an Academics/+Mind test to get the general gist
of something said in that language.

Nedeshti — Wave Hunters


102 An important part of every Senkhet crew, the Nedeshti are
archers and hunters who support the Yafika from a dis-
tance, weakening an enemy ship by picking off key targets
before boarding begins.

Humans are not their only prey. The Nedeshti also hunt
the leviathans of the deep whose skin and fat can bring a
good price at market, and for ships that haven’t seen port in
a long time, they catch food for the crew. The wave hunters
are very competitive by nature, and mark their arrows with
coloured strings so that when they are retrieved while loot-
ing the dead, points can be scored based on who killed the
most. Throat and wrist shots are ranked highly, and scoring
multiple hits before the corpse touches the deck is particu-
larly prized. The Nedeshti often make their own arrows
from the barbed spines of the deep sea ptama, which they
believe gives them greater range and accuracy.

Recommended Attribute: Agility.


ØØ

Skills: Artistry (Fletching), Perception, Ranged, Seafar-
ØØ

ing, Survival.
Talents: Archery, Scouting.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Shortbow, Dagger, Arrows
ØØ

(x20), Traveller’s Kit, 200 dema (12 crs)
Languages: Kamash, Aroji, choose either Varin,
ØØ

Ghosk, or Outlaw’s Argot.
Sure Footing to eat or drink while you are there, and you can breathe as
The Nedeshti spend most of their lives on a ship and are if there were air.
accustomed to the swell of the sea. You never suffer any
penalties to Skill Tests due to the rocking and swaying of a Hunted and Hated
ship, even during a storm. You are hated by the Rephaim and they occasionally send
assassins after you, and will target you first, before all oth-
Leviathan Hunter ers. Few outside the Kingdom of Ash will accept you either,
The Nedeshti hunt the tarka and other huge beasts of the and you can never succeed in a Social Test against someone
ocean, and know how to bring down even the greatest le- who knows what you are (unless they too are Vaelyth).
viathan. You gain 1 extra die on all damage rolls you make
against Large creatures, and 2 extra dice against creatures
that are Huge or greater.
Vahgehnyev — Sin-Eaters
Rangers, wanderers, and sin-eaters. They are the tribeless,
both outcast and blessed for their role in Ghoski funeral
Second Chance traditions. When someone dies, the family of the deceased
Wave hunters often launch extra arrows at a target just to
will seek out a Vahgehnyev and beseech them to eat the
make sure one hits. If you miss with a ranged attack, you
sickness and wounds of the deceased so that their spirit will
may spend 2 Stamina to immediately make another attack
be strong and healthy when it goes to the Ice Wastes to dwell
against the same target as a Free Action.
with Uthka for eternity. This ritual involves eating a meal of
meat over the body of the deceased, symbolically consum-
Vaelyth Unbound ing any injuries, illness, or weakness in the process. When
The Vaelyth are the artificial servants of the Rephaim, they are not tending to the dead, the Vahgehnyev spend
grown in hives deep within the Void, their flesh woven to- most of their lives in the wilderness and often get along
gether by silvery spiders and their thoughts and memories better with animals than they do with other humans. They
constructed in darkness and pain. They are created to serve
and to be the Rephaim’s agents in the physical world. They
lead their armies, hunt their enemies, and enforce their mas-
ters’ order throughout the Kingdom of Ash. Sometimes,
albeit very rarely, one of the Vaelyth breaks free. It could
be that something went wrong in their creation, or maybe 103
there was an accident on the battlefield and some part of
them was damaged, or perhaps their will was just stronger
than the hive mind. Either way, the Vaelyth awakes one day
in panic and confusion, no whisper of the hive mind in
their head. For the first time they are an individual — they
are unbound. Survival becomes an immediate concern as
the Rephaim hunt the unbound ruthlessly, and most are
forced to flee the Kingdom of Ash within days of their
awakening or be destroyed. Once they escape, their life
doesn’t get much better. They are feared and distrusted by
all and hunted as agents of the enemy.

Recommended Attribute: Focus or Strength.


ØØ

Skills: Intimidation, Melee, Swim, Veilcraft, Veilsense.
ØØ

Talents: One Handed Weapons, Void Magic.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Sabre, Mail, Travelling Kit, 25
ØØ

steel (5 crs).
Languages: Aroji, Void Tongue.
ØØ

Born of the Void
You start with 6 Void Taint and gain all the benefits and
penalties that go with it (see page 256). You never need to
make Taint Tests and your Rank in Void Taint can never
increase or decrease. You can survive within the Void
indefinitely without magical assistance; you don’t need
always have animals following them which makes them eas- Pack Fighting
ily identifiable for those seeking them out. Many people Accustomed to fighting alongside their animals, the
believe that death and ill fortune follow the Vahgehnyev, Vahgehnyev recognise the openings their companions cre-
and although tradition requires they be offered one night’s ate in battle. You gain a bonus to Accuracy equal to your
hospitality whenever they appear, most avoid them and are Rank in Animal Handling when you attack an enemy who
glad to see them leave soon after. Occasionally they will has been attacked by one of your animals within the last
be called to the deathbed of someone who makes a full Round. Only animals who have been taught the Loyalty
recovery. The Ghoski believe that these survivors of sick- trick trigger this effect.
ness have been chosen to join the Vahgehnyev, and they are
taken away to become one of them. Night Affinity
The Ghoski are accustomed to living in the frozen wastes
Recommended Attribute: Charisma or Focus.
ØØ
  and have adapted to the darkness. You suffer no penalties
Skills: Animal Handling, Archery, Melee, Survival, Veil-
ØØ
  from Dim Light or Darkness, however brighter light is un-
craft. comfortable and you suffer a -1 penalty to Skill Tests in
Light or Bright Light (see page 250).
Talents: Animal Training, Void Magic.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Short Sword, Short Bow, Trav-
ØØ

eller’s Kit. Yafika — Wave Dancers
The Yafika make up the majority of the Senkhet. They are
Languages: Ghosk, Aroji.
ØØ
  pirates, smugglers, and scoundrels who prefer to get into
close combat with their enemies. They are excellent sailors
Animal Companion and are renowned for their dirty tactics in combat, believ-
The Vahgehnyev live amongst animals and often become ing that honour is something remembered only by the be-
part of their pack. You begin with an animal companion: reaved. Most of the combatants on a Senkhet ship will be
choose from a rohlk (page 367), alkuri (page 314), or ohkar wave dancers, so named because they move across the ship
(page 358). The animal begins trained with Tamed, Loyalty, unhindered by the swell of the waves. Like the ocean they
and your choice of Attack, Guard, Riding, or Hunting (see emulate, they tend to attack in surges, striking with great
pages 108 and 118). force and then backing off, preparing to strike again.

104 The Senkhet travel far and wide for both trade and pira-
cy, and most know a few foreign languages.

Recommended Attribute: Strength or Agility.


ØØ

Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Intimidation, Melee, Seafaring.
ØØ

Talents: Dirty Fighting, One Handed Weapons.
ØØ

Starting Equipment: Kukri, Traveller’s Kit, 200 dema
ØØ

(12 crs).
Languages: Kamash, Aroji, choose either Varin,
ØØ

Ghosk, or Outlaw’s Argot.

Sure Footing
The Yafika spend most of their lives on a ship and are ac-
customed to the swell of the sea. You never suffer any pen-
alties to Skill Tests due to the rocking and swaying of a ship,
even during a storm.

Ocean’s Surge
In combat, the Yafika strike like the sea, hitting hard
and then ebbing like receding waves. While wielding a
one-handed melee weapon, you may spend 1 Stamina
as a Reflexive Action to gain a +2 bonus to your
Accuracy and Damage for the Round, however start-
ing the next Round you suffer a -2 penalty for the rest
of the combat. You may reactivate this at any point to
remove the penalty and once again gain the +2 bonus
for a Round before the penalty reasserts itself the next.
Dishonour Before Defeat
The Yafika scoff at the idea of a fair fight and take every
advantage they can get even if it means fighting dirty. Using
Languages
any Rank of Dirty Fighting costs you 1 less Stamina, which There are several languages that are widely spoken across
may reduce the cost to zero. Altais and some that are unique to certain regions or small
cultures. Everyone speaks their own native language flu-
Yehvmahnee — Ice Shaman ently, and over a third of the population also speaks Aroji
which has become a form of common tongue. Some, es-
The Yehvmahnee are the shamans and seers of the clans.
pecially scholars, also go out of their way to learn other
Through the blessings of Uthka the Fallen they bring pros-
languages as well.
perity to their people, ward off sickness and ill-omen, and
act as advisers to the clan’s chieftain. According to their Literacy is low however, and even the wealthy often can’t
teachings, the great giant Uthka forged the world from read or write their own native tongue. Those who can read
ice and snow and placed it within the dark sky. Then he and write multiple languages are often in high demand as
made the people, animals, and plants and placed them in scribes and translators.
the world. After the other giants rose up and slew Uthka,
Rahnyi the fire giant sought to use the heat of his eye to In order for a character to be literate, they must have at
melt the world, and so the sun threatens their world to this least 1 Rank in the Academics Skill (see page 108).
day. To the people of Ghoskoya, the cold and darkness of
the long winter night is the natural state of the world, the Each character’s Background lists the languages they
heat and light of the sun a destructive intruder that makes start with. Learning a new language is a long and difficult
the frozen wastes treacherous and slick, and that melts the process that is usually beyond the scope of play, although a
mountain snow and causes avalanches. The Yehvmahnee few Talents and Advantages provide ways to do so.
practice Blaze Magic but focus on sealing off the Veil and
The languages of Altais are:
restoring the natural world of ice and darkness. Very rarely
would they open the Veil and allow light and heat in; such a Aroji
thing would be anathema to their way of thinking. The most widely spoken language on Altais, often regarded
Recommended Attribute: Focus or Mind. as the “common tongue”. It dates back to the Kingdom of
ØØ

Aroja during the Third Age, whose influence spread so far
Skills: Medicine, Melee, Survival, Veilcraft, Veilsense.
ØØ
  105
across the continent that the remains of their civilisation
Talents: Apothecary, Blaze Magic.
ØØ
  can still be found in all the Kingdoms today.
Starting Equipment: Short Sword, Traveller’s Kit,
ØØ
  It is the official language in the Kingdoms of Rust
2,000 drev (2 crs). and Ash, and around one in three can speak it in other
Languages: Ghosk, Aroji.
ØØ
  Kingdoms.

Uthka’s Teachings Darish


The Yehvmahnee have a great affinity for magic that ma- Once the language of the Kingdom of Song, it is now spo-
nipulates ice and darkness. Whenever you successfully cast ken only by the Sorrowborne and never taught to outsiders.
a Blaze spell to close off the Veil (for example creating cold,
ice, or darkness) you may spend 1 Stamina to gain 1 bonus Dras
DoS on the roll. This mysterious language exists only in written form,
carved into the stone of ancient ruins in the Kingdom of
Rahnyi’s Touch Serpents, and most outside the orders of the Akubesh have
The Yehvmahnee are taught that magic that brings light or never seen it. It is said to be the ancient language of the
heat is anathema and should be used only as a last resort. Drakari, lost during the Fall. The Akubesh study it and can
You roll two fewer dice (minimum 1) when trying to cast read it fairly fluently, but only small amounts can be spoken.
spells to weaken the Veil to the Blaze (for example to create
light, heat, or fire). Elali
The language of the Kingdom of Storms. They claim it is
Night Affinity a holy language given to them by the divine Ela during the
The Ghoski are accustomed to living in the frozen wastes Third Age. Scholars have noted it has some similarity to
and have adapted to the darkness. You suffer no penalties ancient Selucian, which was widely spoken in the area early
from Dim Light or Darkness, however brighter light is un- in the Third Age but is now extinct.
comfortable and you suffer a -1 penalty to Skill Tests in
Light or Bright Light (see page 250). Elali is not widely spoken outside the Kingdom of
Storms, and the Shi prefer to keep it that way.
Ghosk begun to spread through their trade networks and many
An offshoot of Kormish (the language of Korm during traders, merchants, warehouse owners, and sailors consider
the Third Age), and the language of the people of Ghoskoya. learning this language absolutely necessary to conduct any
Only a few traders from the Kingdom of Serpents have large-scale commerce with other Kingdoms.
regular contact with them and learn the language.
Its widespread use in commercial dealings has led to this
Javana Sign Language language becoming a form of “trade tongue”.
A form of sign language used by the Javana in the Kingdom
of Glass. It is a subtle language of gestures through which a Vayen
lot can be communicated quickly and silently. Being a con- The slang language of the Hiaven, those within the
struct of war, it is a limited language that has plenty of ways Kingdom of Glass too poor to be part of a guild. Most
to describe military tactics or the number of troops a scout within the Kingdom are unaware that the language even ex-
has seen, but is incapable of describing matters of philos- ists, considering the Hiaven to be subhuman and incapable
ophy or poetry. of meaningful speech.

Kamash Void Tongue


The official language of the Kingdom of Serpents. It is a The Rephaim and the Vaelyth speak this language fluent-
mixtures of long dead Kormish and the strange and al- ly and call it Kana’an, but to everyone else it’s the Void
ien language called Dras. Most outsiders find it a difficult Tongue.
language so it is not widely spoken by non-natives, except It was brought to the world during the Fall by the
amongst sailors where it has been spreading as a form of Rephaim and contains strange sounds unlike any other lan-
slang due to the Kingdom of Serpents’ frequent ocean guage on Altais. Humans find it very difficult to pronounce
trade. properly and most would never try, believing that the very
words themselves are evil and speaking them invites Taint
Kanak or worse.
The language of the Kanaka tribes who live in the forests
around the Kingdom of Beasts, it is descended from Aroji
but has changed considerably over the last thousand years.
The Kanaka do not tolerate outsiders, and with no ongoing
106 cultural exchange between them and the other Kingdoms
it is very difficult to find anyone from outside who speaks
this language.

Old Eesan
The ancient language spoken by the Eesa. Only fragments
of it remain in writing, and many scholars study it to try and
learn more about the past, but even they only understand
bits and pieces.

Gaining this language through a Background or Talent


only represents a fragmented understanding; no one speaks
it fluently.

Outlaw’s Argot
This crude slang language is used by the thieves and crim-
inals across Altais. The usage varies a bit from city to city,
but those who speak one dialect can make out the general
gist of anything said in another.

Tatarni
The Tatarnu tribes live in isolation within the Great
Maelstrom in the Kingdom of Storms. A few scholars have
tried to study them but they are not welcoming to outsid-
ers, so little is known about the Tatarni language.

Varin
The official language of the Kingdom of Glass, it has
Skills
Skills represent a character’s training and knowledge. This Attribute combinations if they feel they would better suit
section details the different Skills, and lists the common the story.
ways they can be used and the Attribute that is usually most
suitable for any Tests involved. The GM may also suggest When used in combat, most Skills require a Complex
other uses or may ask for Tests involving different Skill and Action unless otherwise stated.

Skill Description Page


Academics Knowledge, literacy, history, and geography of the world. 108
Animal Handling Soothe panicked animals and train domesticated ones. 108
Appraise Judge the age and value of an item. Haggle over prices. 108
Artistry Painting, sculpture, blacksmithing, and other skills that create items. 109
Athletics Running, jumping, and climbing. 110
Brawl Fighting without weapons. 110
Intimidation Dominating others through force of personality. 110
Larceny Picking pockets and sleight of hand. 110
Medicine Treating injuries. 111
Melee Fighting using close combat weapons. 111 107

Perception Spotting that which is hidden. 111


Performance Acting, oration, singing, and other performing arts. 111
Politics Knowledge of local politics and the people in power. 112
Ranged Fighting using ranged weapons. 112
Ride Staying on the back of a mount or pack animal. 112
Seafaring Sail a ship and navigate the waters. 113
Social Charming and inspiring others. Knowing the correct etiquette. 113
Stealth Hide and move unnoticed. 114
Streetwise Knowledge about criminals, gangs, and ill-gotten wares. 114
Subterfuge Deceive others or detect when being deceived. 114
Survival Find food and water in the wilderness. Also used for tracking. 114
Swim Swim through water or the viscous Void. Most people can’t swim. 114
Veilcraft Bend the Veil to cast spells. 114
Veilsense Sense the state of the Veil and detect magical effects nearby. 115
An animal can only be learning one trick at a time, but
Academics once taught it remembers that trick even if taught others.
Common Attribute: Mind. Training uses an Extended Animal Handling/+Charisma
Test. Only one roll can be made each day and at least three
Common amongst scholars, this Skill covers a wide range hours must be dedicated to training before the roll can be
of different subjects and represents your character’s book made. Once enough DoS have been achieved, the animal
learning and study of the world, its people, history, and gains the new trick.
wildlife.
Basic Tricks:
You may roll this Skill to see if your character knows Tamed (10 DoS): The animal will now react favourably
ØØ 
something useful about a specific location, culture, crea- towards you and will no longer be scared or hostile. All
ture, or the history of the area. For each DoS you roll, your wild animals must be tamed before other tricks can be
character remembers reading about one useful piece of in- taught.
formation. For example it could remind you of a particular
local custom, a story about an ancient hero, or a map you Riding/Carrying (5 DoS): The animal will now be
ØØ

once saw showing the layout of the local villages. suitable to ride or use as a beast of burden. The animal
must be at least size Medium and have a Strength of 3
Characters don’t need to use this Skill for information to carry an adult human, and a flying animal must be at
that would be considered common knowledge in the area least size Huge to carry one while flying.
they were born. Due to the nature of this Skill, the GM Simple Trick (3 DoS): The animal can be taught a sim-
ØØ

may decide that you cannot increase it with XP unless your ple trick triggered by a verbal command or gesture like
character also spends some time in a library or similar place “sit”, “roll over”, “fetch”, “heel”, or similar. Each sim-
of learning. ple trick must be taught separately. These tricks cannot
Characters without at least 1 Rank in Academics are il- be used in combat as the animal will seek instead to
literate. avoid the conflict. Commands like “attack!” and “kill!”
are taught through the Animal Training Talent (see page
118).
Animal Handling
108 Common Attribute: Charisma.
Appraise
Characters with this Skill know how to properly handle and Common Attribute: Mind or Charisma.
train animals of all kinds. Whether it be teaching a corix
to perch on your arm or training a shuhus to be a good A useful Skill for treasure hunters, merchants, and thieves,
mount, it falls under this Skill. It can also be used to soothe it allows the character to determine how much an item is
a panicked animal or calm an otherwise aggressive beast, worth, its age, and whether it is likely to possess magical
but this only extends to the native animals of Altais and the abilities. It is also used to haggle over the cost, and this
Wild. Lucents of the Tempest and the entities of the Void Skill may be rolled with any merchant to attempt to gain a
are too alien to be tamed in this way. discount.

This Skill also allows you to gauge an animal’s mood. Those with legitimate businesses use it to buy and trade
Your empathy with them is enough to indicate whether they without getting ripped off, those with less savoury occupa-
are happy, upset, angry and so on, and if you score more tions find it useful to know which items are worth stealing,
than 1 DoS you can also tell roughly why they currently and relic hunters use this Skill to separate the treasures of
feel the way they do (for example, “the animal is scared of past ages from old pieces of junk. This Skill uses Mind to
a nearby predator”, “the animal is angry because you are in remember facts about valuables or to examine an item and
its territory”, or “the animal is hungry and wants the food determine its worth or function, and Charisma to haggle
in the nobleman’s hand”). over an item’s price.

When using this Skill to tame an animal, you can only DoS Haggling Appraise
attempt simple training and domestication, as well as teach- 1 10% discount Estimate whether the item is of
ing basic tricks (“sit”, “roll over”, and similar). Although a low, medium, or high value.
tamed beast may react hostilely if its master is in danger, it 2 20% discount Estimate the item’s value to
won’t overly endanger its own life in the process and will within 20%.
retreat as soon as it is injured or if the threat appears too
3+ 30% discount Estimate the item’s exact value.
great.
With at least 1 DoS, a character can also tell whether an
Training an animal is time-consuming and can take sev-
item is a relic or a remnant (see page 258).
eral weeks. First choose one of the below tricks to teach it.
Artistry
Tier Interval DoS Example Items
0 1 Hour 1 Pouch, Sack, Waterskin, Cooking simple meal.
1 3 Hours 1 Arrows (x10), Candles (x2), Ceramic bottle, Cooking complex meal.
2 1 Day 2 Sling, Gambeson, Backpack, Common clothing.
3 3 Days 4 Shield, Dagger, Spear, Shortbow, Leather cuirass, Common boots.
4 1 Week 8 Sword, Longbow, Crossbow, Mail armour, Fancy clothing, Tools, Instruments, Cart,
Simple furniture.
5 1 Month 12 Full plate armour, Elaborate works of art, Small buildings, Small ships, Elaborate fur-
niture.
6 1 Year 20 Masterpiece artworks, Large buildings, Large ships.
Tier: A general indication of how hard the item is to create. This rating may be increased or decreased by circumstances
and Talents but can never be reduced below 0 or increased above 6.

Interval: How often the Artistry Skill Test can be made.

DoS: The total number of DoS required to complete the item.

Artistry
Common Attribute: Strength or Agility. In some cases this Skill can also be used to repair a dam-
aged or broken item. Poor Quality items cannot be repaired
Despite some scholars claiming that nothing worthwhile — they are too flimsy, fragile, or inferior, and once broken
has been created since the Fall, there are still many art- cannot be restored. Standard Quality items can be repaired
ists who dedicate themselves to their craft. Artisans create using the same system used for creating that item, but the
tools, clothes, weapons, and works of art. They construct materials are one-tenth the normal cost and the Tier is re-
buildings, make roads and bridges, and build carts and wag- duced by 2; however repairing items in this way reduces
ons. 109
their Quality to Poor in the process.
When choosing this Skill you must specify which area of Superior Quality items and those made from rare mate-
artistry your character is skilled in. You may take Artistry rials can only be created and repaired through the Expert
multiple times in different areas — each counts as a com- Artisan Talent (see page 136).
pletely separate Skill. Examples include: Painting (Agility),
Blacksmithing (Strength), Sculpture (Agility), Carving
(Agility), Weaving (Agility), Carpentry (Strength), Fletching
(Agility), Glasswork (Agility), and so on.

Using this Skill allows you to create items if you have


access to the proper tools as well as materials that cost half
the item’s normal value. The creator makes an Extended
Test with the time taken and DoS required determined
by how difficult the item is to create.

Larger projects often require assistance from mul-


tiple people to complete in a reasonable amount of
time (see page 226). If the Artistry roll is failed at
any point, the item is completed as Poor Quality. If it
dramatically fails then the Extended Test ends, the
materials are ruined, and no item is created.

You may also choose to deliberately


create a Poor Quality item. This halves
the cost and lowers the Tier by 1, so for
example a Poor Quality sword would
be Tier 3.
This Skill works best on those who are already subordi-
nate to you or cowardly in nature, and even a single DoS
Athletics is usually enough to command them to follow your orders.
Against more strong-willed opponents or those who have
Common Attribute: Strength or Agility.
no reason to obey your commands, you must win a contest-
This Skill is used for running, climbing, jumping, and per- ed Intimidation check to cow them into obedience. Even
forming acrobatic manoeuvres. It covers all physical acts then they will obey only for as long as you seem to be a
of movement and the GM might call for an Athletics Test threat.
when a character tries to catch up with a fleeing opponent,
This Skill does not work on creatures native to other
to see if they can fall without being harmed, or to leap safe-
Realms, and will not work on hostile enemies unless you
ly from rooftop to rooftop. Running over uneven or un-
outnumber them two to one or have a way of preventing
stable terrain may also require an Athletics Test to avoid
them from fighting back (for example if they are tied up).
falling prone, and extremely dangerous terrain may impose
a penalty to this Test.

Agility is used when the roll involves fast movement


Larceny
Common Attribute: Agility.
or balance such as walking along a narrow ledge, while
Strength is more suitable if physical prowess or endurance The disreputable trade of burglars and pickpockets, this
is involved, such as climbing or long-distance running. Skill covers picking pockets, sleight of hand, and taking
things without being noticed.
Jumping
DoS Vertical Horizontal Running Jump A single DoS is enough to steal something, but those
nearby may make Perception/+Focus Tests and if they
1 0.5 metres/yards 1 metre/yard 3 metres/yards
achieve more DoS then they notice the theft.
2 1 metre/yard 2 metres/yards 6 metres/yards
3+ 2 metres/yards 3 metres/yards 9 metres/yards

110 Brawl
Common Attribute: Agility.

Useful for those who find themselves without a weapon in


a dangerous situation, this Skill is rolled whenever a charac-
ter wishes to make an unarmed attack, be it a punch, kick,
or grapple. It is also used by creatures whose weapons are
a natural part of their body, such as claws, teeth, or a poi-
soned stinger.

For humans and Vaelyth, unarmed attacks deal


1d/+Strength (Subdual) damage. Other creatures list their
specific damage in their bestiary entry (starting on page
309).

For rules on combat, see page 226.

Intimidation
Common Attribute: Charisma or Strength.

A good leader gets results through their commanding pres-


ence and charisma; a bad leader does it through fear. This
Skill allows a character to intimidate, terrify, and bully oth-
ers into submission through a stern look, a raised voice, or
by just being physically overbearing.

Charisma is the usual Attribute for Intimidation, but


players who use their character’s physical presence to over-
whelm onlookers may use Strength instead.
Medicine
Common Attribute: Mind.

You have some knowledge of treating the sick and injured


and can set bones, stitch wounds closed, and administer
remedies to aid the unwell. You also have a reasonable
knowledge of herbs and minerals that aid in this process.

This Skill can be used to find out about illnesses, diseas-


es, and their cures. It also allows you to treat someone’s in-
juries, speeding up their natural healing rate (see page 232).
A single DoS is enough to stabilise someone who is un-
conscious; this stops them bleeding to death and they can
begin recovering Health as if Crippled. In addition, each
DoS achieved on the Test increases their healing rate by 2
per day. A new Medicine Test must be made every day for
increased healing to continue.

A character can try to use Medicine on themselves, but


this is difficult and their roll suffers a -2 penalty.

Melee
Common Attribute: Agility.

This Skill covers all close range weapons — one-handed


and two-handed — including swords, axes, and polearms.
It is rolled to see if an attack with a melee weapon hits, and
is useful for both adventurers braving the wilds and soldiers
on the battlefield. 111

For rules on combat, see page 226.

Perception
Common Attribute: Focus.

Useful for most adventurers, Perception is the Skill to roll


whenever a character’s senses are being tested. GMs might
call for a roll when a player searches a room, to see if they
notice someone following them, or to detect an ambush. In
Performance
Common Attribute: Varies.
order to make such a roll, however, the character must be
able to use the sense in question. It’s impossible to notice This Skill covers all forms of performance, and practition-
something visually if you’ve been blindfolded, for example. ers are found throughout all of Altais, especially in royal
courts where entertainment is always in high demand.
Using Perception usually involves a Contested Test
When choosing this Skill, you must specify which area of
against someone using Stealth to see if the observer can
performance your character is skilled in, and you may take
spot the hidden person or concealed item. Perception is
this Skill multiple times in different areas — each counts as
penalised if the Light Rating around the hidden character’s
a completely separate Skill.
location (see page 250) is less than 0.
Examples include: Dancing (Agility), Singing (Charisma),
In general 1 DoS is enough to find a poorly hidden item,
Acting (Charisma), Playing an Instrument (pick one)
2 DoS will find a well hidden item or may allow you to
(Agility), and so on.
notice something that’s very difficult to spot, and 3 DoS
will uncover even the most exceptionally hidden item or
obscure clue.
per; they make fearsome but unreliable steeds, especially in
times of war.

Those without this Skill will need to frequently make


Untrained Tests just to stay on their animal, but those with
at least one point are proficient enough to ride a mount
under normal circumstances without needing to roll. For
them, this Skill is only rolled when the GM decides that
controlling the animal has become difficult: for example,
when the mount is injured in combat, or while trying to
When using this Skill, 1 DoS indicates a successful per- keep to a narrow path during treacherous weather. A failed
formance, 2 represents a very good performance, and 3 in- Ride Test usually indicates that either the character falls off,
dicates a masterful one the likes of which most have never or the animal bolts, carrying its rider with it.
seen.
You may also make a Ride Test to get your mount to
Politics perform a specific action that it has not been trained to do,
for example to jump over a hedge or kick over a wagon.
Common Attribute: Mind.

This Skill determines a character’s understanding of a


Kingdom’s current political situation, and can be used to
gather information about who the most important people
are and what their agendas might be. Characters with this
Skill are good at turning the current political situation in
their favour, drawing up treaties, and negotiating alliances.

112
DoS Knowledge
1 You know the names of all the important political
figures and their general policies.
2+ You know about the political alliances in the local
area.

Ranged
Common Attribute: Agility.

The Skill for aiming accurately with ranged weapons in-


cluding bows, crossbows, thrown weapons, slings, and
blowguns. Such weapons are reasonably common through-
out the Kingdoms, and although they vary a little from
place to place, the fundamentals remain the same. Armies
often employ whole regiments of archers and their use can
turn the tide of battle. They are equally common amongst
adventurers and hunters who find it safer to keep a distance
from their prey.

For rules on combat, see page 226.

Ride
Common Attribute: Agility.

There are a few animals suitable for riding on Altais.


Domar are common across most of the Kingdoms and
make good mounts once trained. Shuhus are only found
in the Kingdom of Glass and are renowned for their tem-
113

Seafaring Social
Common Attribute: Charisma.
Common Attribute: Varies.
Some people just have a way with words and can make
Seafaring covers everything you might need to know about friends with little more than a smile. This Skill covers
sailing. Anyone with at least one Rank in this Skill can sail a knowing the correct etiquette in a social situation, convinc-
boat or ship under calm conditions, and only needs to make ing others to do what you want, and inspiring troops in
a roll in bad weather or when under pressure. battle. It is equally useful for inspirational speakers, great
military generals, and swindlers running a con.
The Attribute used varies depending on the task: Strength
when fighting to control a ship in a violent storm, Agility You can make a Social Test to convince an NPC to aid
to move nimbly across a rolling deck without falling over or you in some small way. This doesn’t work on those who
being washed overboard, and Mind to navigate the ocean dislike you or are actively hostile towards you, and the assis-
without losing your way. tance you ask for can’t overly inconvenience or endanger
them.
The more DoS rolled the better you sail, and rolling well
can reduce the duration of the journey or help avoid haz- You can also use this Skill to gauge the correct
ards or pirates. etiquette for the situation and to blend in
with different social circles.
guise yourself; those suspicious of who you are will need
Stealth to exceed your DoS with a Perception/+Focus Test to see
Common Attribute: Agility. through your disguise.

This is the Skill for moving without being noticed.


Characters with this Skill are good at sneaking past guards, Survival
creeping up behind a potential victim, or staying out of Common Attribute: Mind or Focus.
sight when people are looking for them.
Surviving in the wilderness can be difficult; you have to
Stealth is usually rolled in a Contested Test against the know which plants are safe to eat and which are poisonous.
observer’s Perception to see if the character remains hid- This Skill covers all the things that are essential for charac-
den or is spotted. The observer needs to achieve more DoS ters who plan to live away from civilisation.
than the character trying to stay concealed and the Stealth
The GM might call for a roll whenever the character is
Test suffers a penalty if the Light Rating in the area around
struggling against nature to find food, water, or shelter, but
the hidden character is greater than 0 (see page 250).
it can also be used to track someone through the wilder-
While using Stealth, a character’s Speed is halved (round ness. Mind is used to identify plants and to remember facts
down) as they creep slowly and carefully to avoid notice. A about nature, while Focus is used for tracking someone or
character may ignore this penalty and move at their normal locating a hidden burrow.
rate, but suffers a -3 on all Stealth Tests. A character who
When tracking or searching for hidden things in a wil-
runs or performs any Action using the Athletics Skill suf-
derness environment, Survival can be used in place of
fers a -5 Stealth penalty.
Perception to contest Stealth Tests.
If a hidden character makes a lot of noise, attacks, or
does anything which could draw attention to themselves, Swim
then anyone looking for them automatically spots them. Common Attribute: Strength.
You can also use this Skill to conceal an item on your Being able to swim is not common in the medieval world
person or in a room to make it difficult for others to find. of Altais. This Skill is usually only possessed by sailors, and
even then many still lack it. A character with at least one
Streetwise
114
Rank in this Skill can swim at their base Speed under nor-
Common Attribute: Mind. mal conditions, and only needs to make a Test in dangerous
weather or when under pressure (for example, being shot at
Surviving on the streets can be tough, yet there are many by archers while swimming).
who do. Characters with this Skill can make a roll to know
about crime in the area, and figure out which areas of a city Those without this Skill cannot swim at all and need to
are safe and which aren’t. It can tell you where shelter can make this Skill Test Untrained just to stay afloat. See page
be found, and which nobles give out free food to the poor. 248 for rules on drowning.

A single DoS is usually enough to find your way around A far rarer use of this Skill is navigating the Void. Those
a city’s streets without attracting trouble from the local who find themselves in that terrifying Realm discover that
criminals, but of course this won’t save you from someone the atmosphere is as thick as water, and they can swim
actively hunting you. This Skill can also be used to find through it just as easily.
out about the local Night Market where they deal in stolen
Talents and other effects that increase a character’s
goods (see page 191).
Speed do not apply to swimming unless specifically stated.
Creatures with the Swim Movement Type never need to
Subterfuge make Swim Tests.
Common Attribute: Charisma or Focus.

This Skill is used to lie and deceive, whether it be verbally Veilcraft


or through body language. It’s equally common amongst Common Attribute: Focus.
criminals who want to avoid being caught, and noblemen
All spells are cast by either weakening the Veil so that the
who seek to gain power at the expense of their fellows.
energies and exotic properties of the other Realms are al-
Players can make contested Subterfuge Tests to both lowed to bleed through into our universe, or by strengthen-
deceive others (Charisma), and to detect when they are ing it to reduce the influence of those effects. To the spell
being deceived (Focus). This Skill can also be used to dis- caster, this feels like they are touching the Veil with their
115

mind, tearing more tiny holes in it, or squeezing the existing It’s possible to sense mundane phenomena as well: The
holes together to close them off. flame of a candle draws its energy from the Blaze, and
Veilsense can be used to feel the tiny holes letting that
The Veil between Realms takes skill and finesse to ma- energy through. Likewise all matter creates holes to the
nipulate, and this Skill represents a character’s expertise in Tempest, letting gravity in, and this too can be felt.
that area. Veilcraft Tests are made whenever a character at-
tempts to affect the Veil in any way. Success usually results With 1 DoS you can determine the Surge Rating in the
in a successful spell and the specifics are detailed under area, and you can sense any ongoing magical effects and
each Talent. See page 236 for the rules on spell casting. tell who is responsible for them if the caster is still within
sight. You can also tell whether the magic is weakening or
This Skill cannot be used Untrained except in the case of strengthening the Veil and identify specific spells from the
spontaneous magic (see page 239). Realms you possess. Recognising those from other Realms
requires 2 DoS, and with 3 DoS you can identify the spell’s
Veilsense exact duration and radius.
Common Attribute: Focus.
The range of this sense extends about 50 metres/yards
This Skill allows a character to sense the state of the Veil for every Rank the character possesses in this Skill. It can
around them. This sense is in many ways similar to the even be used through walls and other solid obstacles, al-
sense of touch except it occurs at a distance: the character though the user suffers a -3 penalty to the Test.
“feels” how strong the Veil is, and can detect the tiny holes
This Skill cannot be used untrained except in the case of
that are usually present and whether any magical effects are
spontaneous magic (see page 239).
opening the holes wider or closing them off.
Talents
Talents represent a greater mastery of a subject than Skills Type: Indicates the categories the Talent falls in. Some
alone and grant characters special attacks, manoeuvres, and effects and Backgrounds affect only Talents of certain
magical abilities. All Talents have 5 Ranks which must be types.
purchased in order.
Prerequisites: Indicates the Attributes or Skills the char-
Unless specified, bonuses to the same stat from different acter requires in order to learn a new Rank in the Talent.
Talents do not stack, but those from different Ranks of Only the character’s base stats count for this; if a character’s
the same Talent do. An individual Rank of a Talent doesn’t stats are temporarily modified by magic, poisons, or other
stack with itself, and the same Rank cannot be activated effects, it does not change which Talents they can learn, nor
multiple times in the same Round. do they lose access to ones they have already learnt if their
stats are lowered.
Group: Indicates whether the Talent is Common, Rare,
or Unique. This affects the XP cost to increase the Talent. Rank: Each Talent has multiple Ranks which must be
Unique Talents cannot be purchased with XP at all unless purchased separately with XP, and the Ranks must also be
they became Affinity Talents during Character Creation purchased in order. For example you have to buy Rank 1 of
(see page 80). a Talent before you can buy Rank 2.

Common Talents Description Page


Animal Training Tame and control wild animals or teach pets tricks. 118
Apothecary Brew healing salves and herbal concoctions. 122
Archery Special attacks using bows or crossbows. 126
Armour Expertise Wear armour with reduced penalty. 127
Battle Hardened Experience on the battlefield has hardened you against pain. 128
116
Charming Personality Persuade crowds with emotional performances. 130
Courtly Influence Hear courtly rumours and ask favours from those in power. 131
Dirty Fighting Tricks for winning a fight without regard for honour. 133
Evasion Improves your ability to evade attacks. 135
Expert Artisan Craft superior items and use rare materials in your creations. 136
Fearsome Countenance Intimidate others into submission. 138
One Handed Weapons Special techniques for using a one handed weapon. 144
Outlaw’s Path Picking locks and influencing the criminal underworld. 145
Scouting Investigate a location. 150
Shield Mastery Use a shield more effectively. 152
Silence in Shadows Move quietly and avoid being seen. 154
Swift Step Move quickly. 157
Tactics Plan the best course of action in combat or games of skill. 158
Throwing Weapons Special attacks involving thrown weapons. 163
Two Handed Weapons Deal additional damage using a two handed weapon. 164
Unarmed Combat Fight without weapons. 165
Unseen Strike Attack from concealment. 166
Rare Talents Description Page
Antiquities Understand the working of ancient relics and remnants. 120
Arcane Defence Protect yourself from magic. 123
Arcane Expertise Cast spells more effectively. 124
Blaze Magic Control heat, light, cold, and darkness. 168
Dual Wield Fight with two weapons. 134
Inspiring Leader Recruit allies to serve at your side. 141
Pattern Magic Alter the physical properties of matter. 170
Poisoner Improve the effects of poisons. 147
Research Study in libraries and teach others what you’ve learnt. 149
Tempest Magic Fly and call down lightning. 173
Void Magic Bend space and control minds. 176
Wild Magic Control time. 179

Unique Talents Description Page


Breath of the Dragon Ignite your weapon and strike with flame. 129
117
Forge of Air Create weapons and armour from the air. 139
Javelin's Thunder Imbue javelins with the power of the storm. 142
Storm Sympathy Control the weather. 155
The Empty Thought Become unnoticed through stillness of mind. 160
The Swamp’s Ire Curse your enemies and command beasts. 161
Animal Training Hold (8 DoS): The animal will grab hold of the spec-
ØØ

ified creature with its mouth or claws and try to limit
their movement. If the animal makes a successful at-
Group: Common.
tack it grabs hold and may spend 1 Stamina as a Quick
Some people dedicate themselves to taming animals and Action each Round to reduce the enemy’s Speed by
learn improved techniques to help them better train ani- 2. If the animal’s Strength is higher than the enemy’s,
mals for use on farms, as companions, or for warfare. Speed is instead reduced by 3. The animal may contin-
ue holding on each Turn by using its Complex Action.
The enemy can try to break free using their own Com-
Rank 1: Expert Training plex Action but must defeat the animal in a Contested
Type: Social. Strength/+Strength Test. (Requires Attack)
Prerequisites: Animal Handling 2.

You are no longer limited to teaching the basic tricks listed


Rank 3: War Training
Type: Social.
under Animal Handling and can now teach animals to per-
Prerequisites: Animal Handling 3, Charisma 2.
form more complex actions. This works just like teaching
an animal a Basic Trick (page 108). Taking their combat training a step further, you can now
teach animals to fight in the chaos and noise of war.
Advanced Tricks:
ØØLoyalty (10 DoS): You can train an animal to be so

loyal to one person that it is willing to endanger its own
life to protect theirs, unless it is outnumbered 3 to 1
or reduced to the Wounded status. Furthermore it can
now perform any trick it has been taught in combat.
The person who is to be the object of loyalty must be
present during training, and the maximum number
of Loyal animals someone can have is equal to their
118 Charisma.
Complex Trick (6 DoS): The animal can be
ØØ

taught a complex trick triggered by word or ges-
ture — for example balancing a ball on its nose,
counting to 5 by stamping a foot, picking up a
ball and putting it in a bucket, and so on.
Hunting (8 DoS): The animal can now help hunt. It
ØØ

will flush out game, help round it up, and can fetch and
bring back small animals once killed.
Additionally, when making an Animal Handling Test, you
may spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You
may do this once per Test.

Rank 2: Combat Training


Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Animal Handling 2, Charisma 2.

You can now teach an animal to fight on command. It must


know any listed prerequisite tricks before learning Combat
Tricks.

Combat Tricks:
ØØAttack (8 DoS): The animal will attack on command.

ØØGuard (8 DoS): The animal can be commanded to

protect a location, object, or person as if protecting its
master, and it will stay near the thing it is protecting
until commanded to do otherwise. (Requires Loyalty)
Additionally, whenever you succeed in an Animal Handling a War Trick, you now gain one additional DoS towards the
roll to teach a Basic or Advanced Trick, you gain one addi- total.
tional DoS towards the total.
The animals you train also go on to become legends in
You may now teach the following new tricks. their own right, magical beasts that have stories written
about them.
War Tricks:
ØØ
 War Trained (10 DoS): The animal can now wear ar- You can teach the following new tricks.
mour and participate in battle without panicking due to
being wounded or outnumbered. If combined with the Legendary Tricks:
Riding/Carrying basic trick, the animal can be ridden ØØSpirit Bond (20 DoS): A bond forms between you and

into battle. your animal, allowing you to sense each other’s emo-
tional state over any distance. If the two of you become
Talented (10 DoS): Through combat training you have
ØØ
  separated, you can sense which direction to travel to be-
taught the animal a few techniques to help it survive come reunited and roughly how far apart you are. The
in combat. The animal gains Rank 1 in either the Bat- animal also gains a permanent +1 to its Valour when it
tle Hardened, Armour Expertise, or Evasion Talent. learns this trick.
Through repeated training of this trick, the animal can
eventually learn all three. (Requires War Trained) The animal can only be taught this once, you can only
have one Spirit Bonded animal at a time, and you can-
Ferocious (10 DoS): The animal has been trained to be
ØØ
  not form a Spirit Bond between someone else and their
particularly lethal and aggressive. It gains a +1 bonus to animal — it only works for you.
Accuracy and to all damage it deals. This trick can only
be taught once. (Requires War Trained) Whenever you complete the teaching of this trick you
must make a Taint Test as if using Void Magic (see page
Rank 4: Veteran’s Prowess 255).
Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Animal Handling 4, Charisma 4. Once you have a Spirit Bonded animal, you may
spend 3 Stamina to project your senses to its location.
Whenever you succeed in an Animal Handling roll to teach While you are doing this, your body lies comatose and 119
a Combat Trick, you now gain one additional DoS towards helpless but your mind is in the mind of your compan-
the total. ion. You cannot control it but you perceive everything
the animal perceives using its normal senses. This effect
Through training and experience, your animal has sur- lasts until you choose to end it, your body takes damage,
passed most others of its species and has become a superior or your animal goes to sleep or dies. Whenever you use
example of its breed. this ability, you must make a Taint test as if using Void
Magic (see page 255).
You can now teach the following new tricks.
Only the sharing of emotional state, sense of dis-
Veteran’s Tricks: tance, and projection of senses can be Counterspelled
ØØProwess (12 DoS): The animal gains a permanent +1
  as a Rank 2 Void effect. The Spirit Bonded animal still
to either Strength, Agility, or Focus. You can teach this retains its Valour, and the Counterspelled effects return
trick multiple times, but only once for each Attribute. automatically after an hour. (Requires Loyalty)
Experienced (12 DoS): You can now teach the animal
ØØ

Rank 2 in either Battle Hardened, Armour Expertise, Legend (14 DoS): You can now teach the animal Rank
ØØ

or the Evasion Talent. The animal must already pos- 3 in either Battle Hardened, Armour Expertise, or the
sess Rank 1, and this trick can be taught multiple times Evasion Talent. The animal must already possess Rank
to train the animal in all three Talents. (Requires War 2, and this trick can be taught multiple times to train the
Trained) animal in all three Talents. (Requires War Trained)

Rank 5: Heroic Companion


Type: Social, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Animal Handling 5, Charisma 4, Focus 3.

Your increased skill allows you to train animals faster.


Whenever you succeed in an Animal Handling roll to teach
Antiquities Another such roll can then be made to implant them
into a different item, transferring the magical effect. At this
Rank, an item can only contain one set of Veil Stones at a
Group: Rare
time.
Relics and remnants from past ages are very rare, but there
The specific specialisation of Artistry required is based
are adventurers and scholars who seek them out and study
on the type of item involved. For example Blacksmithing
their function. Most are never fully understood but occa-
would be suitable for metal items, Carpentry or Carving for
sionally a purpose for one is discovered — although wheth-
wooden ones, Sculpture for stone, and so on.
er it is the purpose it was originally designed for is another
matter. This Talent is most commonly possessed by those If either roll fails, the Veil Stones explode in a flash of
who dedicate their lives to the study of such objects, and it lightning causing 1d/+5 damage to all within 5 metres/
is rarely possessed by anyone else. yards.

Rank 1: A Basic Understanding Rank 3: Familiarity


Type: Mental. Type: Mental.
Prerequisites: Appraise 3, Mind 2. Prerequisites: Appraise 3, Mind 3.
You have studied a few artefacts and read a few books on Your understanding of remnants rivals that of most schol-
the subject; enough to make some headway when investi- ars. You learn from your successes and rarely make the
gating a new one for the first time. same mistake twice.
You can immediately spot whether an item is a relic or The number of times you need to succeed in activating a
remnant without needing to roll, and you can tell whether it remnant before you become proficient in its use is reduced
has been damaged and is dangerous to touch. When you do to 2, and if a Backfire occurs you may add an additional +1
roll to learn about a relic (see page 258), even a single DoS to the result of a roll on the Backfire table (for +2 total).
is enough to completely work out how it functions. When transferring Veil Stones using Rank 2, you can now
create items with up to two separate effects.
Remnants do not give up their secrets as easily, but you
nevertheless have a knack for puzzling them out and be- You may also spend 1 Valour to re-roll the Backfire result
120
come proficient in their use after succeeding three times completely but with no bonus. You must accept the second
on the Appraise/+Mind roll instead of five. If a Backfire result.
occurs, you may add +1 to your roll on the Backfire table

Rank 4: Tinkerer
(see page 267).

When making Appraise rolls to decipher relics and rem- Type: Physical.
nants you may spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a Prerequisites: Appraise 4, Artistry (Sculpting) 2, Mind 4.
1. You may do this once per Test.
You’ve begun to puzzle out a little about how relics and

Rank 2: Transfer Magic


remnants were made, enough that you can tinker with the
magics involved and adjust them to better suit your pur-
Type: Mental. poses. When transferring Veil Stones using Rank 2, you can
Prerequisites: Appraise 3, Mind 2. now create items with up to three separate effects.
Through your study of relics, you have worked out how If you find a damaged relic or remnant, you may spend
to extract their Veil Stones and repurpose them in another an hour and make an Artistry Test to attempt to repair it.
object. To do this you need at least 1 Rank in a suitable Artistry
Skill; for example to repair a relic made of metal would re-
Once you have successfully deciphered the use of a relic,
quire Artistry (Blacksmithing), while repairing one made of
you may make an Artistry/+Agility Test to extract the Veil
stone would require Artistry (Sculpting). The number of
Stones from that item without damaging their function,
DoS rolled determines how successful you are:
however the item you extract them from is destroyed in
the process. DoS Result
1 Item regains some useful function for a day.
2 Item regains some useful function for a week.
3+ Item is fully repaired and regains full function.
If the item is only temporarily repaired, you may try again
once it ceases to function.

A Dramatic Failure on one of these rolls destroys the


Creating the Veil Stones requires rare stones and metals,
item for good, possibly in a spectacular and dangerous way.
melted down, cured, and carefully sculpted at just the right
You can also spend an hour to attempt to alter the func- temperature. The ingredients cost 50 crs per Veil Stone and
tion of a relic (but not a remnant) by making an Artist- each one requires a DoS on an Artistry (Sculpting)/+Agil-
ry (Sculpting)/+Mind Test to tinker with the Veil Stones ity Test. If you achieve more than one DoS, you may use
themselves. Each DoS allows you to change one of the the extras to create more Veil Stones without rolling for
properties of the Relic. Examples of things you could each one.
change include:
The Veil Stones are initially created empty, and the cor-
Change the damage on a damaging spell by +1 or -1.
ØØ
  rect Realms are required to imbue them with magic. This
can be done by you if you have the Talents, or by anyone
Change the range on a spell effect by up to 10 metres/
ØØ
  working under your supervision.
yards.
Change the radius of a spell by up to 5 metres/yards.
ØØ
  Each Common Configuration lists the Realms needed to
create it and a Complexity rating. Creating the effect re-
Change the duration of a spell by up to 3 Rounds.
ØØ
  quires a number of Veil Stones equal to the Complexity
Change how a relic is activated.
ØØ
  Rating, and the spell caster must have at least that Rank
Move the magical effect from one part of an item to in the Realm. For example, the Shocking Configuration is
ØØ

another part, e.g. from the blade of the sword to the hilt. a Complexity 3 Tempest effect, and so creating it takes 3
Veil Stones and someone who possesses Tempest Magic
Others at the GM’s discretion.
ØØ
  Rank 3.
You can only use this on relics you have studied through
Rank 1 of this Talent, and the same alteration cannot be The spell caster must also succeed in a Veilcraft/+Focus
stacked. For example you cannot use multiple DoS to in- Test and achieve DoS equal to the Complexity Rating to
crease the damage by more than 1. adjust the Veil within the stones correctly, and failure can 121
damage them. Finally if that is successful you may spend 2
Valour to seal the effect into the stones and make it per-
Rank 5: Artisan manent.
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern, Tempest, Void.
Prerequisites: Appraise 4, Artistry (Sculpting) 3, Mind 5. Normally, this magical effect will always be active, how-
ever you may choose to add a triggering condition during
Very few truly unravel the mysteries of creating relics, but the creation process. Any one of these may be added for
at this Rank you are one of those rare individuals. However each effect, but each requires one additional Veil Stone:
creating such items is difficult, expensive, and very time
consuming. Your ability to decipher remnants has also in- The extra Veil Stone is touched by a living creature.
ØØ

creased — you now become proficient in their use after Used for touch activated effects.
only a single activation, and even if this fails you may add an The extra Veil Stone is moved away from the others.
ØØ

additional +1 to the result on the Backfire table (+3 total). This extra Veil Stone is usually implanted in another
item so that the effect triggers when the items are sepa-
You can create a new set of Veil Stones and imbue them
rated, for example drawing a sword from a sheath.
with one of the Common Configurations (see page 264),
setting a triggering condition as you do so. Once created The extra Veil Stone is brought near the other item, al-
ØØ

they can be implanted in an item using Rank 2 of this Tal- lowing for the creation of an effect that occurs when
ent. two items are brought together.
Apothecary Rank 2: Brew Restoratives
Type: Physical.
Group: Common.
Prerequisites: Medicine 2, Mind 2.
Your experience in the medical arts allows you to provide
You know how to make salves and poultices to speed heal-
better treatments for your patients. You have also learnt to
ing and fight off infection. You even know how to treat
concoct useful salves and ointments from herbs.
poisons and diseases.

Rank 1: Experienced Physic You may make a Medicine/+Mind Skill Test to prepare
Type: Physical. Medicinals (for a list, see page 212). You need to have suit-
Prerequisites: Medicine 2. able herbs on hand which can be acquired through one of
two methods: If you are in an area with a market you can
Your knowledge of basic medical practices allows you to purchase the herbs, which costs half the normal price of the
treat even the most serious of injuries. medicine, and import costs still apply (see page 189). If you
are in the wilderness you can try to find them with a Sur-
When you treat someone’s wounds using the Medicine vival/+Focus Test. Each DoS provides you with enough
Skill, each DoS increases their healing rate by 4 per day in- to make one dose of the medicine, however the ingredients
stead of 2 (see page 232). You may also spend 1 Stamina to for medicines that would normally be imported cannot be
re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do this once per Test. gathered this way as they do not grow locally.

122
You don’t have to be the one searching for the ingredi-
ents — someone else can make the roll, but they need your You can also spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to re-
guidance on what to look for. store 15 Health to someone you are treating, and then make
a Medicine/+Mind test. Each DoS rolled heals an addition-
It takes about an hour to make the medicine. For each al 15 Health. This can even be used to resuscitate someone
DoS you roll, you can convert one quantity of the herbs who has died within the last 3 Rounds, provided there is
into one dose of the medicine, so rolling well allows you to enough of them left to resuscitate. This healing is the only
create it faster. part of this Talent that can be Counterspelled, and only at
the moment it is used. Once the healing has taken place it
Rank 3: Distillation is permanent and cannot be undone by Counterspelling.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Medicine 3, Mind 2. Arcane Defence
You’ve learnt to distill mixtures to increase their potency.
Group: Rare.
Any Healing Salves you make now increase healing by twice
as much. A mistake many magic users make is focusing purely on
the power their magic gives them. They overlook the fact
Additionally you can spend 1 Valour as a Complex Ac-
that sometimes it’s more important to prevent magic than
tion to quickly treat someone’s wounds using herbs and
to cause it. Those who train in this Talent learn to keep the
bandages. Roll Medicine/+Mind and immediately restore
Veil stable and to maintain the status quo.
10 Health per DoS rolled.
This Talent affects all things magical including Spells,
Rank 4: Elixir’s Secrets other Magic Talents, Surges, relics, and creatures like lu-
cents and Rephaim. Remnants are not magical and are not
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Medicine 4, Mind 4. affected, and the creatures of the Wild, although from an-
other Realm, are not actually magical in nature. This Talent
Those under your care recover at a truly remarkable rate also cannot be used against itself — it is the only Magical
and your concoctions create incredible effects, some of Talent unaffected.
which border on magical.
123
When you treat someone’s wounds using the Medicine Rank 1: Restrict the Veil
Skill, each DoS now increases their healing rate by 8 per Type: Magic.
day. Prerequisites: Focus 3.

You can also now brew Elixirs using the same rules for When the Veil around you begins to fluctuate, you’ve learnt
creating Medicine, but finding the herbs in the wilderness to make it more rigid so as to prevent any changes.
is difficult and 2 DoS are required to find enough for one
You may spend 1 Stamina as a Quick Action to give
dose.
everyone spell casting nearby a -2 penalty to their Veilcraft
tests. This affects any spell where either the caster or the
Rank 5: Healer’s Miracle target is within the radius, and this penalty lasts for a num-
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern. ber of Rounds based on your Ranks in this Talent:
Prerequisites: Medicine 5, Mind 4, Focus 3.
Rank Duration Radius
Few ever achieve such mastery of the healing arts and at
1 1 Round 1 metre/yard
this level you’re likely to quickly become famous. Your con-
coctions not only bring great change to those who con- 2 3 Rounds 3 metres/yards
sume them but some think you can raise the dead, and they 3 5 Rounds 5 metres/yards
are almost right. 4 7 Rounds 10 metres/yards
5 10 Rounds 20 metres/yards
After spending an hour brewing rare ingredients that
cost 50 crs, you may make a Medicine/+Mind Test to cre- If you also have at least 3 Ranks in Veilsense, you auto-
ate a drink that permanently improves an Attribute by +1 matically sense when a spell is being cast within the radius
(but cannot raise an Attribute above 5). However the po- (even if you don’t know who by or the nature of the spell)
tion doesn’t keep well and must be consumed within 10 and may use this Talent as a Reflexive Action.
Rounds or it loses its power. This Attribute must be chosen
when the potion is created. Each person can only benefit
from one of these potions, and if they drink another it has
no effect.
Rank 2: Mend the Veil Rank 5: Tranquillity
Type: Magic.
Type: Magic. Prerequisites: Focus 5.
Prerequisites: Focus 3.
You are the eye of the storm, a point of calm undisturbed
You’ve learnt to undo a spell in progress, to shift the Veil by the chaos of magic surrounding you. Within your im-
back to normal and restore the world to its natural state. mediate area, the Veil is like a still lake, unaffected by the
You may spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Action to Coun- ripples created by others.
terspell an active magical effect or Surge even if you don’t All spells affect you as if they had achieved 3 fewer DoS
have the Realm or Rank needed to cast the spell. You may on their spell casting roll, and Surges count as being 3
also substitute your Rank in this Talent for the Veilcraft Ranks lower. If this reduces them to zero then the spell or
Skill, which allows even non-casters to Counterspell any ef- Surge doesn’t affect you at all. This doesn’t actually counter
fect. This works like the normal rules for Counterspelling the spell or Surge and it may still harm those around you, it
(see page 239) except that either the caster or the effect just has a lesser effect on you.
must be within 5 metres/yards of you.
The Surge Rating within 50 metres/yards of you is also
Additionally, whenever you succeed in a Counterspell reduced by 1 (to a minimum or 1), and relics stop working
Test you gain 1 free DoS towards reducing the effect you while you are touching them. Lucents and Lesser Rephaim
are trying to remove. have a more difficult time affecting you and deal 3 less dam-
age on their attacks against you.
Rank 3: Hold the Veil This effect is always active unless you spend a Quick Ac-
Type: Magic.
Prerequisites: Focus 3. tion each Round to lower these defences.
124 You may also spend 2 Valour as a Reflexive Action to
Your skill at countering magic has advanced to the point
where it becomes almost second nature. When magic oc- completely negate all magic within 50 metres/yards for 1
curs around you, you instinctively smooth out its effects on hour. This effect moves with you, and while active no mag-
the Veil without needing to concentrate. ic of any kind is possible within the area of effect. Spells,
Magical Talents, Advantages with the “(Magic)” type, and
You may now use Mend the Veil as a Reflexive Action, relics don’t function. Surges end and the Surge Rating is re-
reducing or even preventing the spell effect at the moment duced to 0. Lucents and Lesser Rephaim cannot harm you
of casting. You don’t even need to be aware that a spell is and take 3 damage each Round that they remain in the area.
being cast, you Counterspell it purely instinctively. Greater Rephaim feel uncomfortable and cannot use magic
but are otherwise unaffected.
Your maximum range for Mend the Veil is now 10 me-
tres/yards but you may also spend 1 Valour to attempt it at This Talent has no effect on remnants.
any distance so long as you can see either the caster or the
target of the spell.
Arcane Expertise
Rank 4: Calm the Veil Group: Rare.
Type: Magic.
Prerequisites: Focus 4. The nature of magic isn’t fully understood, although most
scholars agree that the ability to manipulate the Veil is in-
Countering the effects of magic has become effortless nate to all the people of Altais. Many manifest the power in
and using any Rank of Arcane Defence now costs 1 less times of stress and some even learn basic control, but most
Stamina. Restrict the Veil costs you nothing. You also gain hide such power away.
an additional free DoS on all successful Counterspell Tests
and this stacks with the effects of Mend the Veil. This Talent represents dedicated study towards truly
mastering and understanding magic. Some don’t try to sup-
Finally your range for Mend the Veil is now 30 metres/ press or hide their power — they revel in it.
yards.
Rank 1: Practised Magic
Type: Magic.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2.

You practise magic regularly, and what takes others time


and considerable concentration now comes naturally. You
Rank 4: Mastery
Type: Magic.
can spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action to reduce the time it
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4.
takes to cast a spell by 1 Complex Action. You can do this a
number of times equal to your Ranks in this Talent but you You have achieved a mastery of magic equalled by few since
can never reduce the casting time to less than 1 Complex the Fall, and your spells begin to resemble some of the mi-
Action. raculous feats of the Third Age.
You may also spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action to re- Your spells automatically take 1 fewer Complex Actions
duce the Surge Rating on a casting roll by 1 (to a minimum to cast (to a minimum of 1), and you may still reduce the
of 1), but you must do this before rolling and it doesn’t casting time further using Practised Magic. The maximum
change the Rating of the actual area, just what you are roll- range and radius of your spells are also doubled.
ing against. Future rolls still use the full Rating.
You may also spend 2 Stamina as a Free Action to in-
Rank 2: Intuitive Magic crease the duration. This cannot be combined with Intu-
itive Magic.
Type: Magic.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2. DoS Duration
You have learnt to sense the state of the Veil intuitively and 1 1 minute
may make Veilsense Tests as a Free Action. You may also 2 1 hour
spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action to extend the duration 3 1 day
of a spell you are casting; the new duration is still based on 125
4 1 month
the DoS rolled:
5+ 1 year
DoS Duration
1 2 Rounds Rank 5: Perfection
2 5 Rounds Type: Magic.
3 1 minute Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5.
4 1 hour Mastering the ease of magic from before the Fall, you are
5+ 1 day now able to quickly cast even the most difficult spells. All
of your spells now take 1 fewer Complex Actions (to a min-
You’ve also learnt to draw more upon your mental for- imum of 1) and this stacks with the bonus from Mastery.
titude than your physical endurance. While your Focus is
higher than your Strength, your maximum Stamina is in- When casting a spell, you may also spend 2 Valour to au-
creased by +2. tomatically succeed on the Veilcraft Test with 5 DoS. This
spell can’t be Counterspelled except by someone with Rank
Rank 3: Intensity 5 in Arcane Defence.
Type: Magic.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 2.

Your skill with the Veil allows you to manipulate magic in


truly dramatic ways. If you achieve at least one DoS on a
Veilcraft or Veilsense roll, you automatically gain 1 extra
DoS. This does not apply to Counterspell rolls.

You may also spend 1 Valour to prevent a Surge caused


by a spell you cast.
Archery Rank 3: Quick Shot
Type: Physical.
Group: Common.
Prerequisites: Ranged 3, Agility 2.
Skilled archers can turn the tide of battle and they are an
Your experience with ranged weapons allows you to quickly
essential part of war in Altais, but soldiers aren’t the only
load and shoot with very little delay.
ones who practise these techniques. Whether hunting or
exploring an ancient ruin, keeping at a distance from the By spending 2 Stamina at the start of your Turn, all your
enemy is always advantageous. This Talent can only be used attacks with ranged weapons this Turn count as Quick Ac-
with a bow or crossbow. tions.

Rank 1: Aimed Shot You may also spend 1 Valour at any point during your
Turn to immediately take an extra Quick Action which can
Type: Physical.
only be used to make these attacks, reload a crossbow, or to
Prerequisites: Ranged 2.
switch weapons.
You take aim, holding your weapon steady as you line up
your shot before loosing your arrow. Rank 4: Shatter Shot
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern.
You may spend 1 Stamina to take aim at your target as
Prerequisites: Ranged 4, Agility 4.
a Quick Action. You may do this multiple times so long as
you have more Quick Actions. Each time you do so, you You may spend 3 Stamina as a Free Action to turn a pro-
increase your weapon’s Accuracy and Damage by +2 for jectile you are holding into a deadly explosive. If the attack
the next attack you make against that target. hits, it deals its normal damage first and then explodes,
otherwise it just explodes at a point you choose along its
You can continue to aim over multiple Rounds to build
flight path. The explosion causes 2d/+Focus damage to all
up a higher bonus, but the maximum number of Quick Ac-
within 10 metres/yards. The projectile must be used within
tions you can use in this way is equal to your Strength —
one Round or it loses its explosive properties.
after that your muscles begin to shake and your aim wavers.
If you change targets or take damage, any unused bonuses The bonus from Aimed Shot also increases to +4 Accu-
126
are lost. racy and Damage for each Quick Action used.
Additionally the Accuracy penalties you suffer when
shooting beyond the weapon’s normal Range are reduced Rank 5: Celestial Bolt
by your Rank in this Talent. Type: Physical, Magic, Blaze.
Prerequisites: Ranged 5, Agility 4, Focus 3.
Rank 2: Trick Shot No longer constrained to physical weapons like bows and
Type: Physical. crossbows, you can now summon a weapon made of pure
Prerequisites: Ranged 2, Agility 2. energy.
The bonus from Aimed Shot increases to +3 Accuracy and This Talent can be used with a bow or crossbow and
Damage for each Quick Action used, and you may also a suitable projectile as normal, or it can also be used by
spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Action to attempt a Trick simply miming the act of firing such a weapon so long as
Shot that is all but impossible. both your hands are empty. Regardless of which method
you use, a glowing weapon of light briefly appears, overlay-
For the purposes of this attack the range of your weapon
ing the real one if you are holding one. A golden shaft of
is effectively doubled and you may still hit your target even
light appears in the place where the arrow or quarrel should
if you don’t have a direct line of sight, so long as there is a
be, consuming the real one if present. When loosed, this
way for the arrow to reach the target — for example, shoot-
projectile flies with incredible speed, penetrating all in its
ing up into the air and having it come down on their head,
path and searing a hole through even solid steel.
or by bouncing it off a wall. This attack can also be used to
cut a rope, knock an object over, or similar. Spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to create and shoot
the Celestial Bolt. The normal damage from your weap-
on isn’t used, instead the projectile flies in a straight line
for 200 metres/yards before vanishing. Make an attack roll
against each enemy along the projectile’s path. Those hit
take 6d/+20 damage. This attack ignores all non-magical
armour and penetrates easily through all non-magical ob-
stacles, potentially hitting even those behind walls. As the
Knocked Prone or otherwise shifted by its force unless it
Bolt passes through, it leaves a perfectly circular hole 10 cm
deals more than 30 damage after you AR reduces it.
(4˝) in diameter.
You may also spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Action to
This attack deals full damage to Ephemeral creatures.
double your AR for one Round.

Armour Expertise Rank 4: Unencumbered


Type: Physical.
Group: Common. Prerequisites: Strength 4.
Armour can be cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear You are so familiar with armour that it doesn’t slow you
for those unaccustomed to it. You’ve spent so much time down at all.
in armour though that you’ve become used to some of its
more unpleasant aspects and no longer find it as burden- The AR provided by your armour increases by a further
some. The bonuses from this Talent only apply while ar- +2, bringing the total bonus to +4. You also no longer suf-
mour is worn and do not apply to shields. fer any Speed penalty from armour at all.

Rank 1: Worn In
Due to your knowledge of how armour works, you also
know more about how to exploit its weaknesses and may
Type: Physical. spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to gain +2 AP on the
Prerequisites: Strength 2. next attack you make this Round.
You have become used to your armour and are no longer
as encumbered by it. Your Speed penalty from wearing ar-
mour is reduced by 1, and the Skill Penalty is reduced by
twice your Rank in this Talent. These benefits apply to the
total penalties you suffer from all your armour combined, 127
not to each piece of armour.

For example while wearing both Mail (-1 Speed) and a


Plate Cuirass (-1 Speed) the total Speed penalty would nor-
mally be -2, but this Talent reduces it to -1.

Rank 2: Well Worn


Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Strength 2.

You are so comfortable in armour that you can move about


far more easily and your armour protects you even more.
Your AR while wearing armour is increased by +1, and you
may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to ignore your
armour’s Skill Penalty completely for one Round.

Rank 3: Unyielding
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Strength 3.

Your ability to make the most of your armour is truly as-


tounding and only the mightiest blow can cause you to
stagger.

Your AR while wearing armour is increased by a further


+1 and the Speed Penalty reduced by an extra 1. So long as
your total AR against an attack is at least 8 you cannot be
Rank 2: Enduring Veteran
Type: Physical.
Rank 5: Resilience Prerequisites: Strength 3.
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern. You’re so used to hardship and pain that these things just
Prerequisites: Strength 5. rarely bother you anymore. Your maximum Stamina is in-
creased by +2 and you may now spend 1 Stamina to ignore
Your mastery of armour makes you almost indestructible.
Wound Penalties for an entire fight instead of for just one
Your armour now counts as magical and your full AR ap-
Round.
plies even against attacks that ignore non-magical armour.
It also applies against damaging spells and environmental
effects such as fire and lightning. Rank 3: Battlefield Prowess
Type: Physical.
Even weapons designed to penetrate armour cannot find Prerequisites: Strength 3.
their way through. Your armour is immune to AP from
non-magical sources; such weapons just fail to find a gap Having fought in countless battles, you have learnt to apply
or weak point. yourself when it counts. You may spend 1 Valour to triple
the Damage bonus from your Strength for one Round, or
You may also spend 2 Valour to become truly unbreak- to automatically succeed in an incredible feat of strength
able: For a number of Rounds equal to your Focus, you are that would normally be impossible such as lifting a huge log
immune to all damage from all sources, physical or magi- to free someone trapped underneath.
cal. As each attack is deflected, a faint reflective shimmer

Rank 4: Precision Brutality


is seen in the air around you as the Pattern momentarily
solidifies it to deflect the attack.
Type: Physical.
Effects that do not cause damage may still affect your Prerequisites: Strength 4.
normally — a gravity-increasing spell which slows and
crushes would still slow you, and you could be frozen in a You’ve learnt to strike first and make every blow count.
block of ice, or dropped into another Realm; you just won’t You gain a bonus to your Initiative equal to your Agility,
128
take any damage until the effect ends. and may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to gain +1
Accuracy on the next attack you make this Round.

Battle Hardened Nothing keeps the adrenaline flowing like slaying your
opponents. Whenever you deal the killing blow, you regain
Group: Common 2 Stamina. This cannot take you above your maximum.

In the world of Altais, war is all too common and the fragile
peace between Kingdoms is frequently tested. Mercenaries
fight for whoever pays them and soldiers die for causes they
have no stake in. The one thing that every fighter, soldier,
and guard has in common, is that they spend a considerable
amount of time learning to fight and hoping that the next
battle won’t be their last.

Rank 1: Experienced Soldier


Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Strength 3.

Years on the battlefield have hardened you


against injuries and pain, making you tougher and
harder to kill. Your maximum Health is increased
by 5 for each Rank in this Talent and it now only
costs you 1 Stamina to ignore Wound Penalties for a
Round (see page 232).
of fire entwine serpent-like across its length, increasing its
Rank 5: Unending Warrior Damage when used as a weapon by +2.
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern.
Prerequisites: Strength 5. This also creates light similar to a lantern and emits
enough heat to cause a piece of paper held near the ob-
You can endure attacks that would have slain lesser soldiers, ject to spontaneously combust — however the heat never
continuing to fight despite all odds, your body covered in harms the user, even if they touch the fire directly.
wounds. When your Health is reduced to the Wounded or
Crippled level for the first time in a combat, you regain 2 You may only maintain this effect on a single item at a
Stamina. time and it ends if you stop touching it. Once activated, the
effect last for a number of Rounds equal to your Rank in
You may also spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to this Talent.
keep fighting for a Round even when your Health is re-
duced to zero or less, so long as you’re not dead yet. You In addition you take 2 less damage from fire or heat for
don’t suffer any extra damage from doing this and may now each Rank you possess in this Talent.
ignore all Wound Penalties normally (see page 232).

Finally, if your Health is below the Wounded level, or


Rank 2: The Dragon’s Fire
Type: Magic, Blaze, Physical.
at the moment of your death, you may spend 2 Valour as
Prerequisites: Melee 3, Ranged 2, Focus 2.
a Reflexive Action to heal back up to the Wounded level.
Only this part of the effect may be Counterspelled, and With a swing of your blade, you cause a blast of fire to leap
only at the moment it occurs; once the healing is completed from its edge towards a nearby target. The fire usually ap-
it cannot be undone. pears as a burning crescent, shaped by the swing that gave
it birth, and flies through the air with the speed of an arrow.
Breath of the Dragon So long as you have an item in hand to channel The
Dragon’s Fire, you may spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Ac-
Group: Unique. tion to launch a fiery attack at a target within 30 metres/
yards. This requires a Ranged Attack Test to hit and deals
This magical martial style is the pride of the Karimatet who
damage equal to 2d/+Breath of the Dragon. 129
believe it to be a gift from the Drakari and proof of their
divine birthright. They would scoff at any suggestion of
connection to Blaze Magic and instead believe it is just the Rank 3: Fury’s Blaze
natural power of their divine blood manifesting. Breath of Type: Magic, Blaze, Physical.
the Dragon allows the user to subconsciously channel the Prerequisites: Melee 3, Ranged 3, Focus 3.
Blaze through a weapon they are wielding. It takes over a
decade of practise to learn, and is never taught to those At this level, The Ember Blade begins to glow radiant white
outside of the Amonkari’s family. with heat and is now hot enough to damage metals and eas-
ily cut through softer materials. The bonus damage granted
All the Ranks of this Talent are channelled through a by The Ember Blade increases to +3 and it also grants +2
physical item, most commonly the matet sword which all AP. While it is active you may use The Dragon’s Fire at a
Karimatet carry. It cannot be used while unarmed or chan- cost of just 1 Stamina.
nelled through a living creature, or through items that are
too small or too large. All Medium and Large weapons can Additionally you may spend 1 Valour as a Complex Ac-
work as a conduit for this power, but daggers are too small tion to create a wall of fire with a swing of the item in your
and things like wagons or tables are too large. hand. The wall begins at a location within 30 metres/yards
and flows in the direction indicated by your swing for up
Breath of the Dragon cannot be combined with ranged to 20 metres/yards per Rank in this Talent. The wall is 10
or thrown weapons, and cannot be used while dual wield- metres/yards high and anyone caught in the wall when it’s
ing. created, or entering it afterwards, takes 2d/+Breath of the
Dragon damage and continues to take damage each Round
Rank 1: The Ember Blade that they remain inside it. The wall lasts a number of min-
utes equal to your Rank in this Talent.
Type: Magic, Blaze, Physical.
Prerequisites: Melee 3, Focus 2.

By spending 1 Stamina, you may activate The Ember


Blade as a Free Action. While active, a single object you
are holding (normally a weapon) begins to glow as tendrils
You may choose to make the wall shorter than its full Your attacks deal damage based on the weapon you are
length, or have it follow a curved path or even make a circle channelling the Ember Blade through and you can still use
around you. However it must remain touching the ground all other Talents normally. You may also use The Dragon’s
at every point and only extends vertically above the ground Fire without paying any Stamina cost: the flames issue forth
in a straight line, so you can make a circular wall but not a from the dragon’s mouth and damage all within 5 metres/
dome or a ceiling. You may end the effect as a Free Action. yards of the target.

This effect lasts 10 minutes, after which it and the Ember


Rank 4: Radiant Blessing Blade end. You take 3d/+0 damage as your immunity to
Type: Magic, Blaze, Physical. fire briefly ceases to work and the flames ravage your body
Prerequisites: Melee 4, Ranged 3, Focus 4. before sputtering out.
Your body becomes an extension of your weapon, and both
you and your weapon blaze with radiant heat. Charming Personality
The bonus damage granted by the Ember Blade increas- Group: Common.
es to +5. While active, the flames spread across your body
in a fine mesh of glowing lines, granting you complete im- Some people love being the centre of attention. Whether at
munity to all damage from fire and heat, and dealing 5 dam- a royal court or out on the street, you turn heads and make
age to anyone who touches you. You still require a suitable friends with nothing but a word and a smile. This Talent al-
item in hand to channel this effect. lows you to sway the emotions of an individual or a crowd.
Some use this through carefully-delivered speeches, others
The damage dealt by The Dragon’s Fire and the wall of through dance or song; either way you give a performance
fire created by Fury’s Blaze increases to 3d/+Breath of the that onlookers will never forget.
Dragon.
This Talent only works on sentient beings who can un-
Rank 5: Dragon Rising derstand what you are saying. Animals and creatures from
other Realms are not affected, and the Rephaim cannot be
Type: Magic, Blaze, Tempest, Physical.
swayed from the will of the hive mind.
Prerequisites: Melee 5, Ranged 3, Focus 4.
130
Very few Karimatet ever master this power, however it is
one of the reasons the Amonkari’s family has held power
Rank 1: Beguiling Charm
Type: Social.
for so long. Nothing is more terrifying that the full fury of Prerequisites: Social 2.
the Dragon Rising.
You are charismatic and instantly likable to all who meet
The damage bonus for The Ember Blade now increases you, and it only takes a few words to befriend someone.
to +10, and while active the item ignores all non-magical
armour. The damage dealt by The Dragon’s Fire and the When talking to someone, you may spend 1 Stamina to
wall of fire created by Fury’s Blaze increases to 4d/+Breath shift their opinion of you in your favour. This can only be
of the Dragon. used on one person at a time and can calm an angry thug,
befriend someone who already thinks well of you, or se-
However the true power of this Talent is unleashed by duce an admirer. The target is more likely to aid you, al-
spending 2 Valour as a Free Action: the Ember Blade ac- though this only goes so far — they cannot be persuaded
tivates (if it wasn’t already) and its fire spreads over your to do something truly detrimental to themselves.
body, becoming a raging inferno which rapidly flows out-
wards, taking the form of a giant flaming dragon surround- This ability also cannot save you from someone who re-
ing you while you float in the centre of its chest. ally wants you dead or has been paid very well to do the
deed, but it might allow you to strike up a conversation with
In this form, you are immune to all damage from fire them first, delaying the attack as they apologetically explain
and heat, have a Strength of 10 (and gain bonus Health and why they have to kill you.
Stamina to match), gain +5 AR, Fly: 20 as a new move-
ment type, and a bonus DoS on all successful attempts to When making a Social Test, you may also spend 1 Stam-
intimidate. ina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do this once
per Test.
Rank 2: Sway the Crowd
Type: Social. to eat at them, fed by their own desires or paranoias, until
Prerequisites: Social 2, Charisma 2. at last they embrace it as their own and act in the way you
intended.
People hang on your every word and crowds are easi-
ly swayed in the direction you choose. This can be done First select the Rank you are using and make the expend-
through speech, dance, song, or any other medium that iture and rolls needed. If successful you may then add a
conveys emotion and meaning. delay or trigger of your choice to the normal effect: you can
choose for the effect to occur at a specific time (delayed
You may spend 3 Stamina and make a Social/+Charisma no more than a week), or in response to a specific trigger
or Performance/+Charisma Test to influence a crowd of such as seeing a specific person, going to a specific place, or
onlookers. For each DoS you roll, one quarter of the crowd hearing a specific word.
is inspired to feel the emotion contained in your perfor-
mance. This can calm a crowd or create an angry mob. It The trigger must be a single simple idea that the listen-
can reduce people to tears, or create an excellent distrac- er understands: “When you see the King” is acceptable,
tion. “When you see a man named Alrin wearing a blue cloak in
three days’ time” involves too many specifics.
Rank 3: Golden Tongue
Type: Social. Rank 5: Enthralling Command
Prerequisites: Social 3, Charisma 2. Type: Social, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Social 5, Charisma 4, Focus 3.
More charming than ever, Beguiling Charm now affects a
number of people up to your Charisma Rating. You captivate the attention of those you meet and they
feel compelled to obey your every command. By spend-
Your skill in manipulating others is also improved and ing 2 Valour as a Complex Action and succeeding in a
you can convince them to do almost anything. After spend- Social/+Charisma Test, you entrance one person within 10
ing at least an hour talking to someone persuasively and metres/yards. The entranced person will follow your or-
succeeding in a Social/+Charisma roll, you may spend 1 ders, answer your questions truthfully, and fight to protect 131
Valour to convince them to do something they really don’t you to the best of their ability. The only thing you can’t
want to do. You could use this to get the truth out of some- command them to do is kill themselves. This effect lasts
one about a subject they swore never to talk about, or for an hour or until you choose to release them (although
convince a soldier to attack someone they are loyal to. You commands delayed with Rank 4 will last until triggered as
could persuade a mother to sell their own child into slavery, usual).
or a sailor to sink their own ship. Whatever instructions you
give them, they must be something that can be carried out Afterwards they may regret their actions and come to
within the next hour. question the decisions they made while under this effect,
which could lead to consequences if you force someone to
This can be difficult to use on people who are too busy do things against their nature.
to stop and chat, and if you convince someone to do some-
thing strongly against their nature or best interests they will When you use this ability, you must also make a Taint
come to question their actions after the deed is done and Test as if using Void Magic.
may seek you out looking for answers or revenge.

Rank 4: Seeded Ideas


Courtly Influence
Type: Social. Group: Common.
Prerequisites: Social 4, Charisma 4.
There are always those within society who hoard influence
Using your words with even greater finesse, you plant the and favours the way others do gold. They make friends
beginnings of an idea in someone’s head and wait for it with people in power, wheel and deal with the influential,
to take root. When using any Rank in this Talent, you can and cultivate relationships with useful individuals.
frame the idea or emotion you wish to instill in such a way
that the listener will only act on it at a later date. Having Influence represents your ties to the rich and famous,
heard your words they at first dismiss them and give them gives you contacts in high places, and lets you call on fa-
little more thought, however as time passes the idea begins vours when needed most.
Examples of suitable favours include:
Rank 1: Contacts Convince them to be at a certain place at a certain time
ØØ

Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Politics 2. (so long as it seems safe).
Arrange to meet with someone higher in power. They
ØØ

The first step on the path to power is knowledge, and you won’t necessarily like what you have to say but they will
know the right people to ask. They can provide you with at least hear you out.
information about local politics or tell you who you should
or shouldn’t talk to. Have a guard enforce minor laws that inconvenience
ØØ

someone of your choice (e.g. arrange for a rival to be
With an hour of socialising in the right places and a suc- stopped and searched).
cessful Politics/+Charisma Test, you can find out all the Convince them to give a speech on a topic of your
ØØ

gossip circulating the local court, ascertain information choice so long as it doesn’t harm the speaker’s repu-
about the current political situation, and hear rumours tation.
from afar. You need to specify an area of interest when
you make the roll and the amount of information you hear Create scandal against a minor noble that temporarily
ØØ

depends on how many DoS you achieve. This Talent can damages their reputation.
only find out information that is circulating somewhere in Have someone with no station granted a minor one (e.g.
ØØ

the city; lost secrets cannot be discerned so easily. have someone knighted).

DoS Information Trying to call on too many favours will cause you to lose
popularity with your contacts. You cannot call upon more
1 Find out local gossip and common rumours.
favours in a given city each month than your Ranks in this
2 Hear about things hard to come by, local scandal Talent. Those who try to abuse this Talent soon find them-
that’s being covered up, and rumours from afar. selves the subject of rumours and scandal to their detri-
3+ Find out something that only those in power ment.
know. Such secrets could be dangerous.

Additionally, when making a Politics Test, you may spend Rank 3: Fame
1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do this Type: Social.
132 Prerequisites: Politics 3, Charisma 2.
once per Test.

You become famous within certain social circles, either as


Rank 2: Favours a person of importance or under a scandalous pseudonym,
Type: Social. and there are many who would like to meet you.
Prerequisites: Politics 2, Charisma 2.
You can spend a day gossipping and socialising, along
You now have contacts in higher circles, ones that owe you with 1 Valour, to establish a specific reputation about
a few minor favours, and they in turn are owed favours by yourself. Pick an adjective that best describes the way you
others and can call on them on your behalf. want people to know you; examples include “Dangerous”,
“Honourable”, “Honest”, “Scandalous”, and “Virtuous”,
After spending an hour talking to your contacts, you can but just about any word can be used. You can also create a
make a Politics/+Charisma Test to call upon a minor fa- few tall tales which emphasise the adjective in question and
vour from someone in a lesser position of power. It could they will spread through the city and become part of your
be a local lord or lady, the captain of the guard, or a priest reputation.
in a church, but they must be a part of the upper echelons
of society; this Talent doesn’t work on commoners or crim- This reputation will always be positive in effect. If your
inals. legend is one of misdeeds and danger, people may view you
with awe and maybe even a little fear, but it will be as an
The favour cannot strongly inconvenience the other par- exciting villain from a fairy-tale or a beloved scoundrel of
ty and can’t be obviously detrimental to themselves or their the court, not a real evil to be fought.
position. You could ask the captain of the guard to look
the other way while you lead a wagon into the city, but you You will be talked about in taverns, sung about by min-
couldn’t make them quit their job or betray their allies. strels, and gossipped about in royal courts, and all who meet
you will react in accordance with your reputation. Whenev-
er your reputation aligns with a Test involving Charisma, ance to that reputation unless you make an effort to dis-
you may spend 1 Stamina to change a single die result to a guise your appearance. Unlike the effects described under
10 and trigger a Cascade. Fame, this reputation doesn’t fade over time, it lasts until
you change it.
Once established, this fame lasts a week before people
begin to forget about you and move on to newer and more You can change your reputation by doing something very
exciting gossip. A new reputation cannot be established in public that is in alignment with the new legend you want
the same city for a full month. to spread. If you wanted to be known as “dangerous” for
example, you could drag the head of a fearsome beast into
Rank 4: Influence town, or defeat someone publicly in combat.
Type: Social.
This new reputation and the events used to create it will
Prerequisites: Politics 4, Charisma 4.
replace your previous Renown, taking on a life of their own,
Your contacts and agents are everywhere and know to keep spreading across the world and becoming more exaggerat-
their eyes and ears open, reporting back to you about any- ed as they go.
thing going on in their area. Through this influence you can
You can also use Fame to further boost this effect, es-
gain an audience with anyone, and ask favours of even the
tablishing a local reputation and set of legends that compli-
highest nobles.
ment this one. The adjective must be different but whenev-
You now gain a free DoS on all successful Tests to use er your reputation from both Fame and Renown apply to a
your Contacts in the city you are in, but you may also use situation you may spend Stamina to convert two dice into
them at a distance (albeit without this bonus). To do this, 10s instead of one!
you need to write a letter to one of your spies and send it
In addition to the benefits listed under Fame, whenever
with a messenger. Make the Political/+Social Test as nor-
you are in a city you now have an almost endless group of
mal and the answer, determined by the DoS rolled, will
supporters wanting to please you. You are offered gifts, in-
eventually make its way to you although it may take some
vited to parties at the royal court, and there is always some-
time depending on how far away the target location is. At
one willing to carry out an errand or two for you. 133
the GM’s discretion, your spies may also send you regular
letters about any important events in their area. Celebrity is fickle however, and these followers will only
stay loyal so long as you treat them well. If you endanger or
You may also request a favour from even the highest
misuse them, their devotion will quickly turn to anger and
ranking nobles and aristocrats, and so long as it doesn’t ob-
you could end up with a torch-wielding mob driving you
viously endanger them they will grant it. Even kings and
out of town.
queens would like to help you, so long as it doesn’t incon-
venience them too much.

Examples of these favours include:


Dirty Fighting
Meet with anyone important or of noble blood.
ØØ
  Group: Common.

Arrange a party that the wealthy and influential will at-


ØØ
  Not all fights are fair and sometimes to win you have to
tend. cheat. Although usually the practice of scoundrels and
Gain a loan from someone wealthy; they will expect to
ØØ
  rogues, no one is looking for fair play in war and whatev-
be paid back within the month. er brings victory goes. Characters with this Talent are not
above using whatever means are at their disposal to ensure
Permanently harm the reputation of a minor noble.
ØØ
  they win, even if doing so isn’t very honourable.
Help someone of minor standing gain power, earning
ØØ

them a title such as Count or equivalent.
Rank 1: Eye Dusting
Rank 5: Renown Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 2.
Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Politics 5, Charisma 4. You grab whatever is at hand and throw it in your oppo-
nent’s eyes; it could be dirt, dust, or a handful of pebbles or
When you first gain this Rank, pick an adjective and a story leaves. Perhaps you even carry around a pouch of dirt for
as described under Fame. That tale now spreads all across just such occasions.
Altais. All who meet you recognise you and react in accord-
suffer from Wound Penalties for the next minute as if they
were Crippled, in addition to the normal damage.
You may spend 1 Stamina to blind an opponent as a
Quick Action. They must be within a few metres/yards, You may optionally spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Ac-
and you must have a free hand and something you could tion to turn any successful attack you make into a Crippling
conceivably throw in their eyes. The target’s Initiative drops Strike even if was made with a melee or ranged weapon.
to one less than the next-lowest Initiative, moving them
down one slot in the Initiative order as they splutter and
rub at their eyes. They are blind (see page 250) for one Rank 4: Grapple
Round due to the irritation. Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Brawl 4, Agility 4.

Rank 2: Leg Sweep You may spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Action to grapple
Type: Physical. an opponent. Make a Brawl attack roll; if it succeeds it deals
Prerequisites: Brawl 2, Agility 2. no damage but your opponent becomes Defenceless and
cannot move while the grapple lasts.
You may spend 1 Stamina as a Complex Action to attempt
to trip a target within reach, sweeping their legs out from On your Turn each Round you can spend your Com-
under them and sending them sprawling. Make a Brawl at- plex Action to maintain the grapple or you can let your
tack roll against the target with a bonus equal to your Ranks opponent go. On your opponent’s Turn they can attempt to
in this Talent. If it succeeds, it deals no damage but they are break free: this costs them 2 Stamina and they must make
Knocked Prone. You suffer -5 on this attack if the target a Strength/+Strength Test and roll DoS equal to or greater
stands on more than two legs. than your Strength. You cannot have more than one target
grappled at a time.

Rank 3: Crippling Strike


Type: Physical. Rank 5: Dirty Combo
Prerequisites: Brawl 3, Agility 2. Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Brawl 5, Agility 4.
134 You may spend 1 Stamina as a Complex Action to strike a
soft spot and cause your target to double over in pain. Make You strike with speed and skill, pulling off different tricks
a Brawl attack roll against the target. If it succeeds, they and attacks to disorientate and hinder your opponents. You
may now use any of the attacks from Dirty Fighting as
Quick Actions, and maintaining a grapple also only counts
as a Quick Action.

You may also spend 2 Valour to gain 2 extra Quick Ac-


tions which may only be used for Dirty Fighting.

Dual Wield
Group: Rare.

It is rare to find people who are skilled in wielding two


weapons at once, but occasionally someone masters this
extremely difficult art. This Talent can only be used while
dual wielding (see page 231).

Rank 1: Two Weapon Training


Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 3, Melee 2.

Your Defence is increased by +1 while holding a weapon in


your off hand due to being able to parry. When attacking as
a Quick Action due to dual wielding, the Accuracy penalty
(see page 231) you suffer is reduced by your Rank in this
Talent.
Rank Small Weapons Medium Weapons
0 -4 -5 Evasion
1 -3 -4
Group: Common.
2 -2 -3
3 -1 -2 While armour can save a soldier from a fatal blow, it’s ar-
4 0 -1 guably better to not be hit in the first place. This Talent
improves the user’s ability to avoid attacks of all kinds and
5 0 0
to move more freely on the battlefield.

Rank 2: Swift to Strike Rank 1: Weave and Dodge


Type: Physical.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 3, Melee 2.
Prerequisites: Agility 2.
You are extremely quick with your weapons, able to bring
You move nimbly, sidestepping attacks and staying just out
them to bear before the enemy is prepared. While dual
of reach. Each Rank in this Talent increases your Defence
wielding you gain a +2 bonus to your Initiative and once
against melee opponents by +1, but armour slows you
per Round you may spend 3 Stamina to take an extra Quick
down and reduces this bonus. Using a shield also gets in
Action which can only be used to attack.
the way of your ability to move agilely and reduces how
effective this Talent is. This bonus doesn’t apply against
Rank 3: Moment of Endings ranged attacks.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 3, Melee 3. The following table lists the maximum bonus this Talent
can provide based on the armour and shield you are using.
Your Defence bonus while dual wielding increases to +2.
When an enemy makes a melee attack against you, you may Armour No Shield Buckler Shield Tower
spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Action to negate the attack None No limit 1 0 0
(taking no damage) and immediately make a single counter- Light 3 1 0 0
attack with one of your melee weapons. 135
Medium 1 0 0 0

Rank 4: Dance of a Thousand Cuts


Heavy 0 0 0 0

Rank 2: Acrobatics
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 4, Melee 4.
Type: Physical.
In combat you move almost as if you are dancing and your Prerequisites: Agility 2, Athletics 2.
attacks seem to flow like water as you strike blow after blow
in rapid succession. For every two successful attacks you You can tumble and flip, roll and spin, almost dancing as
make on your Turn, you may immediately make an extra you move to avoid blows. Whenever an enemy misses a
attack as a Free Action, and these extra attacks also count melee attack against you, you may spend 1 Stamina as a
towards triggering this Talent. Reflexive Action to immediately move away from them a
number of metres/yards equal to twice your Rank in this

Rank 5: Steel Whirlwind


Talent.

Type: Physical, Magic, Wild. When moving past obstacles and enemies, you may make
Prerequisites: Agility 5, Melee 5. the Athletics Test as a Free Action instead of a Complex
Action (see page 110).
You spin your weapons about you in a deadly flourish, be-
coming a blur moving too fast for the eye to see as you lash Finally, if you are caught in a damaging area of effect,
out at every enemy within reach. such as an explosion caused by a Blaze spell, you may spend
2 Stamina to take only half damage as you dive to safety.
You may spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to bring
time almost to a stop as you strike every enemy within reach
with a flurry of blows. Make a single Attack with a bonus
to Accuracy equal to your Focus. If successful the damage
is dealt to all enemies close enough to strike without mov-
ing. This counts as a single attack for triggering Dance of a
Thousand Cuts.
Rank 3: Dive Roll Expert Artisan
Type: Physical.
Group: Common.
Prerequisites: Agility 3, Athletics 2.
Artisans across Altais ply their trade, making items both
You roll to safety, avoiding ranged projectiles and explo-
functional and beautiful to sell to the discerning client.
sions. You now also add the Weave and Dodge bonus to
Whether it be the forging of practical tools and weapons
your Defence against all ranged attacks. You may spend 1
or the creation of works of art, this Talent helps improve
Valour to roll out of the way of any non-magical attack and
the results and allows for some truly spectacular creations.
avoid it completely, but you must announce you are doing
this before damage is rolled. This Talent represents specialised and advanced tech-
niques used through the Artistry Skill, but since Artistry is
Rank 4: Airborne Strike actually a collection of related craft Skills, the prerequisites
work a little differently. You may purchase a Rank in this
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Agility 4, Athletics 3. Talent so long as you meet the prerequisites with at least
one Artistry Skill, but you may also only use that Rank in
If an enemy misses you with an attack, you may spend 2 combination with an Artistry Skill that meets the prereq-
Stamina as a Reflexive Action to flip past them and strike uisites.
them from behind, making an attack roll as normal. Against
this attack, the enemy gains no Agility bonus to Defence. For example a character with Artistry (Blacksmithing) 3
You may only do this once per Round. and Artistry (Painting) 2 can purchase up to Rank 3, and
may use the first 3 Ranks when using their Artistry (Black-
smithing) Skill, but when using Artistry (Painting) they may
Rank 5: Uncanny Escape only use the first two Ranks. They will need a third point in
Type: Physical, Magic, Void. Artistry (Painting) before they can use Rank 3 with it.
Prerequisites: Agility 5, Athletics 4.

You are so nimble that enemies find it almost impossible to


get close to you, and even spells seem to miss as you’re sud-
denly out of harm’s way. Whenever an enemy moves into
Balancing Time and Fun
136
melee range with you, you may roll back out of the way:
Spend 2 Stamina to immediately move up to your Speed
as a Reflexive Action. They may not continue moving to Creating things is a slow process. The rules
follow. provided here aim to balance realism and what
would be fun for players within a standard cam-
You may also spend 2 Valour as a Reflexive Action to paign. The times are still long, but they could be
suddenly teleport to a new position within 100 metres/ completed in-between adventures if the charac-
yards, vanishing from where you were and reappearing in- ters are willing to spend a few weeks or months
stantly nearby. This can be used to bypass doors or get past making things. The GM could choose to modify
a wall, but can also allow you to avoid any kind of attack, this to suit their campaign by adjusting the item’s
physical or magical. When used in this way, you avoid both Tier (see page 109). If you want to use more real-
the damage and any side effects the attack causes such as istic times in your game, just increase the Tier of
being knocked down or frozen in ice. You don’t need to Superior items by an extra 1; on the other hand
see the attack coming, you sense it about to hit and can im- if you’d like faster crafting, just reduce the Tier
mediately choose to be elsewhere. This also works against of all items.
traps, environmental hazards (like a lightning strike), or any
other potentially harmful situation.

You cannot teleport into another solid object, and if you


try you will appear in the closest free location to your in- Rank 1: Experienced Hand
tended destination. Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Artistry 2.
Whenever you teleport, you must make a Taint Test as if
using Void Magic. Through considerable practice, you have improved the
speed with which you work and can now produce items
quite a bit faster and with less chance of failure. Whenever
you achieve at least 1 DoS on an Artistry Test, you auto-
matically gain 1 bonus DoS, reducing the time it takes to
complete the item. Rank 4: Master Artisan
Type: Physical.
You have also become better at repairing items. You Prerequisites: Artistry 4.
may now repair Poor Quality items, and when you repair a
Standard Quality item it no longer degrades to Poor Quality Your workmanship rivals that of the great masters of the
in the process (see page 109). age, and you can create items of truly astounding quality.

Finally, when making an Artistry Test you may spend 1 You may now create Superior Quality items. This uses
Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do this the normal rules for creating an item of that type but the
once per Test. cost of materials is four times normal and the Tier is in-
creased by 1. You can also repair Superior Quality items.
Rank 2: Opportunistic Artisan While making Standard or Poor Quality items, if you
Type: Physical. achieve at least 1 DoS on the Artistry test, you now gain
Prerequisites: Artistry 2. an additional DoS. This stacks with Experienced
Hand for 2 extra DoS.
You can now work even faster without sacrificing quality.
While using Artistry to create an item, the Tier of the item
is reduced by 1 (see page 109).

You can also break down an existing item and use its base
materials to create a new one. For example you could melt
down a steel axe head to create a sword blade and carve a
piece of its wooden handle to make the hilt.

You can only do this if the items are made of similar ma-
terials, and when you do it reduces the cost of materials by a
137
quarter of the cost of the item being broken down. You can
use the materials from multiple items in this way, reducing
the cost even further.

Rank 3: Rare Materials


Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Artistry 3.

There are many rare and exotic materials found across


Altais that are far superior to iron, steel, or wood, and
you’ve learnt the eccentricities of working with each.

You can now make items using the materials listed on the
Rare Materials table (see page 189). This uses the normal
rules for Artistry but the material costs are increased by the
modifier on the table. You can now also repair items made
from these materials.

Of course you must have access to these materials


in order to create the item; they are rare at the best
of times, and in some cases access to them is re-
stricted. The Barons of Rust grant few permis-
sion to work with red iron and only the Nianu
know the secret to making Pattern glass, so
considerable effort might be required to
acquire them.
impose yourself on your target sufficiently to get their full
Rank 5: Items of Legend attention. In the chaos of battle this may involve stepping
Type: Physical, Magical, Pattern. up very close, grabbing them, or otherwise exerting your
Prerequisites: Artistry 5, Focus 3. dominance over them.

The quality of your work goes beyond that of a master and Spend 1 Stamina as a Complex Action and make a Con-
has become something entirely more magical. How this tested Intimidation/+Charisma or Intimidation/+Strength
works is not well understood; no Veil Stones are used, and Test. If you succeed the target cowers and won’t act against
yet the item pulls at the Veil, altering it to create a magical you except to defend themselves, and even then they suf-
effect. fer -1 to all Skill Tests. They may still move away and act
against others normally. This lasts for a number of Rounds
Creating one of these items takes considerable time and equal to your Intimidation Skill.
effort: the item must be of Superior Quality and requires
twice as many DoS to create. Making it from a rare material Additionally, when making an Intimidation Test, you may
is optional. spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do
this once per Test.
If completed successfully, the item gains the effects of
one of the Common Configurations found on page 264.
An item can only be given one of these magical effects at Rank 2: Aggressive Taunt
the time of its creation. It can be further enhanced using Type: Social.
Veil Stones as normal, although it cannot be given the same Prerequisites: Intimidate 2, and either Strength 2 or
Configuration twice. Charisma 2.

Although this item contains no Veil Stones when it is With a mix of intimidation and shouted insult, you rile your
created, it counts as a relic and all the rules for relics apply. enemy into aggression directed at you. This Talent can be
used to start a fight, ensure an enemy stays focused on you,
or undermine their ability to focus on other tasks.
Fearsome Countenance Spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Action and make an In-
Group: Common. timidation/+Charisma or Intimidation/+Strength Test. If
138 successful, the target may not do anything but try to harm
There are always bullies in every society. Whether it be you for a number of Rounds equal to your Intimidation
through appearance, size, or reputation, you are adept at Skill. Additional effects are based on the DoS rolled:
cowing those around you into submission. This Talent is
often used by soldiers, thugs, and tyrannical bureaucrats. DoS Effect
1 They may use any weapon at hand, or any spell or
Some of the Ranks of this Talent offer the option of us- ability they have access to.
ing either Charisma or Strength in the Skill Tests, which
represents intimidating by force of personality or by physi- 2 Their Focus is reduced to 1 due to being enraged.
cal size and strength. Each character making these rolls may 3+ They must use whatever weapon is already in their
choose which of the two options to use, and in contested hand, or their bare fists. Their Focus is reduced to
challenges the opponent may choose which they use as well. 1, and they may not cast spells or activate Talents
except those that require only a Reflexive Action.

Rank 1: Cower the Weak Cower the Weak and Aggressive Taunt cannot both be
Type: Social. used on the same target at the same time, and once one of
Prerequisites: Intimidate 2. these has been used they are immune to other uses of these
Talents until the effects end.
With an intimidating look and a spoken or implied threat,

Rank 3: Imposing Presence


you frighten one person into submission.

The target must be able to see and hear you and must Type: Social.
be focusing on you. It works best when used in social sit- Prerequisites: Intimidate 3, and either Strength 2 or
uations but can also be used in combat so long as you can Charisma 2.

You may now use Cower the Weak or Aggressive Taunt


as a Quick Action, and you may choose to spend 1 Valour
instead of their normal cost to use them against a group
of people. The number of people affected is equal to twice
your Intimidation and if there are more targets within range
than you can affect, those with the lowest Focus are affect- other than flee suffer a -3 on all Skill Tests. Those beyond
ed first. this range also suffer this penalty if they try to act directly
against you.
When using Cower the Weak in this way, each target gets
to contest your roll individually and each is affected or not While this effect is active, you gain 1 bonus DoS on all
based on their own roll. When using Aggressive Taunt, you successful uses of Fearsome Countenance.
make one roll and all targets are affected equally.
Finally, whenever you hit an enemy with a physical attack,
their own mind exaggerates how injured they are, causing
Rank 4: Break Morale them to suffer an additional Intimidation/+Focus damage
Type: Social. in the form of psychological trauma which lasts for 1 hour.
Prerequisites: Intimidate 4, and either Strength 4 or Roll and record this separately to your normal damage. If
Charisma 4. an enemy is reduced to zero or lower Health and some of
the damage is psychological, they fall unconscious for 1
Meeting your target’s gaze, you intimidate them to the point hour, after which all psychological damage is removed as
of breaking, filling their mind with panic and the need to their mind begins to recover.
flee your presence.
Whenever you activate this Talent, you must make a
To use this ability, you need to make eye contact, spend Taint Test as if using Void Magic.
2 Stamina, and make a Contested Intimidation/+Charisma
or Intimidation/+Strength Test as a Complex Action. If
you succeed, the target is overwhelmed by fear and needs Forge of Air
to get away from you. They begin moving away using their
Quick Action each Turn but will still defend themselves Group: Unique.
and fight back if necessary; however they also suffer a -2
to all Skill Tests due to fear. They may engage your allies This Talent involves rare techniques practised only by a
few hunters and adventurers around the Kingdom of Ash. 139
or continue to attack with ranged weapons so long as they
are at least 10 metres/yards from you, but still suffer the Instead of slowly using the Pattern to shape the world
penalty from fear listed above. This fear lasts for 1 minute. around them, those who master this Talent have learnt to
make sudden and precise changes, usually to aid them in
If you roll 2 DoS, the target instead flees as fast as they combat.
can, making no effort to defend themselves as they leave.
They will flee until they can no longer see you, and won’t
dare get within sight of you for the next day. If you roll a
Rank 1: Pattern’s Forge
Type: Magic, Pattern, Physical.
third DoS, all their allies who see them flee are also shaken,
Prerequisites: Focus 3, Mind 2.
suffering -2 on all Skill Tests they make for the next minute.
You open hundreds of tiny precise holes in the Veil, al-
Rank 5: Savage Terror lowing the energy of the Pattern into the world and solid-
ifying the air into the shape you choose. Most use this to
Type: Mind, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Intimidate 5 and either Strength 5 or create weapons or armour, although other objects can also
Charisma 5. be formed. These objects of frozen air are as strong as iron
and are often called pattern steel, appearing to be made of
You are surrounded by an aura of fear which plays tricks a transparent pale blue glass.
with the minds of all who oppose you. They see you as larg-
er, more intimidating, and more terrifying. When you move, Objects you create must be touching you: you can create
the ground seems to shake. When you speak, your words a sword in your hand or armour around your body for ex-
seem otherworldly. To strike at you seems like suicide and ample, but you cannot create objects at a distance. You can
your blows must surely be fatal. create any object you can visualise, up to about a cubic me-
tre/yard in volume, so long as it is made of rigid pieces. You
Spend 2 Valour as a Quick Action to activate this Talent. cannot make soft items like fabric, and for this reason you
For a number of Rounds equal to twice your Focus, all en- can only create armour in the Rigid category (see page 202).
emies within 100 metres/yards attempting to do anything
Each item costs 1 Stamina, is created as a Free Action,
Rank 2: Pattern’s Shell
Type: Magic, Pattern, Physical.
and doesn’t require a spell casting roll. Prerequisites: Focus 3, Mind 2.
All items created have the properties of Pattern glass Maintaining your pattern steel items now requires only a
(page 189), are of Superior Quality, and count as magical. Free Action.
Weapons can harm Ephemeral creatures, and the armour
can absorb damage from attacks that normally ignore In emergencies, you reach out with a free hand and rip
non-magical armour. open the Veil, calling the Pattern to defend you. The result-
ing shield is a crude latticework of jagged edges and mis-
Once created, the objects continue to exist so long as shapen pattern steel that grows rapidly from your fingertips
you remain in contact with them and spend one Quick Ac- to form a protective barrier between you and an attack.
tion each Turn concentrating on them, which is enough to
maintain any number of objects. Any object you lose con- When you are hit by an attack or damaging spell, you may
tact with or stop concentrating on melts back into the air. spend 2 Stamina and make a Forge of Air/+Focus roll as a
Reflexive Action. If you succeed, the attack is intercepted
by the sudden appearance of a crude pattern steel barrier
which absorbs 5 Damage per DoS rolled before shattering.

If the attack deals more damage than the barrier can ab-
sorb, the rest is dealt to you as normal, as the blow contin-
ues through the shield to hit you. Until the barrier shatters,
it remains and continues to absorb incoming attacks but it
needs to be maintained like any other item created with this
Talent. The barrier may block all forms of damage: physi-
cal, magical, and even the intangible touch of the Rephaim.
140 In order to use this Talent, you must have a hand free.

Rank 3: Pattern’s Flow


Type: Magic, Pattern, Physical.
Prerequisites: Focus 3, Mind 3.

Your mastery over the Veil now allows you to shape the
Pattern more freely. Items you create shift and flow almost
like liquid while still remaining solid to the touch.

As a Reflexive Action, you can alter the shape or func-


tion of any object you are touching that was created by this
Talent. For example you can cause a sword to change into
a spear, or cause it to lengthen or grow spikes. The change
occurs instantly and can even be done when it’s not your
Turn.

Each change costs 1 Stamina. When making a change


you can choose to add it onto any previous changes or re-
place any or all of them, however an item can only benefit
from each of these once (growing two sets of spikes from a
weapon doesn’t make it deal even more damage).

Here are some examples of changes you can make. Other


non-combat changes are up to the GM.
Armour: Rank 5: Pattern’s Heart
ØØIncrease density: +2 AR. Armour Skill Penalty increased
  Type: Magic, Pattern, Physical.
by 2. Prerequisites: Focus 5, Mind 3.
Decrease density: -2 AR. Armour Skill Penalty reduced
ØØ
  So fine is your control over the Pattern that you can channel
to 0.
it through your own body without causing yourself harm,
Change from one armour type to another.
ØØ
  becoming one with your creations.
Weapon: Pattern’s Potential now restores up to 5 Stamina spent on
Bend and shape it to seek the enemy as you swing: +3
ØØ
  this Talent at the end of each Round.
Accuracy, -3 to Damage.
Sprout spikes along its length: +3 Damage, -3 Accuracy.
ØØ
  You may spend 2 Valour as a Reflexive Action to em-
brace Pattern’s Heart. Your body crystallises and you be-
Narrow the weapon to fit between gaps in armour: +3
ØØ
  come a living statue that is as strong as steel and yet able to
AP. move as if still flesh and blood. While active, your Strength
ØØChange from one weapon type to another.
  increases to 10 (which also increases your Health and Stam-
ina) and your unarmed attacks deal an extra die of damage,
Shield: can deal non-subdual damage, and can harm Ephemeral
ØØChange from one shield type to another.
  creatures.
Pattern Shell:
You also gain +10 AR which applies even against dam-
ØØYou can fully repair the pattern steel barrier. You may
  age from magical sources. You are immune to all damage
even do this at the point it would normally shatter, to
from Pattern Magic and cannot be imprisoned by its ef-
absorb even more damage from the attack.
fects. If you end up in the Pattern while this effect is active
Changes can even be made between rolls. You could you can move through the solid crystalline matter that fills
cause a weapon to bend to avoid the opponent’s defences it as if it were insubstantial.
so as to hit, and then sprout the spikes when determining
This effect lasts for 10 minutes, after which your body
damage. Masters of this Talent keep their weapons in con-
returns to normal as the Pattern leaves you.
stant flux, changing to fit the situation. 141
In addition you can spend 1 Valour as a Quick Action to
create a giant pattern steel spear which impales your target.
Inspiring Leader
You reach out with a free hand and rip open the Veil, allow-
Group: Rare.
ing the Pattern to rush in and form the giant crude crystal-
line shard. It grows instantly from your hand to 10 metres/ Some people excel at leading and inspiring others to follow.
yards in length. Any enemies in the way are impaled and Those with this Talent find it easy to give orders, expect to
take 5d/+Focus damage. This attack ignores all non-mag- be obeyed, and easily attract loyal followers to their cause. It
ical armour and can harm Ephemeral creatures. The spear is equally useful for nobles, generals, and religious leaders.
then melts back into the air.

Rank 4: Pattern’s Potential Rank 1: Loyal Retainer


Type: Social.
Type: Magic, Pattern, Physical. Prerequisites: Social 2, Charisma 2.
Prerequisites: Focus 4, Mind 3.
Through strength of character you have attracted a retainer
Altering the shift and flow of your pattern forged items no to your side who will serve you loyally and ask nothing in
longer tires you as much, and at the end of each Round you return. They want to be near you because they believe in
may recover up to 3 Stamina that were spent on any Ranks your cause, in your nobility, or that you will lead them to
of this Talent during this Round. greatness by association.
In addition, your pattern steel items now continue to ex- The retainer is an NPC who will follow you and obey
ist for one Round after they leave your hand, allowing you your orders. They don’t expect to be paid but do need to be
to create arrows and other projectiles that can be launched fed, looked after, and well treated. A consistently mistreat-
at their target before they melt back into the air. ed retainer may become disgruntled and might eventually
abandon their leader.
The retainer is human (other animals fall under the Ani-
mal Training Talent) and is likely to be from the same part Rank 3: Personal Guard
of the world as your character, although the GM may allow Type: Social.
NPCs from other regions to become retainers if suitable to Prerequisites: Social 3, Charisma 3.
the story.
You have attracted a loyal soldier to your side. The soldier
The retainer is not a combatant; they will fight if ordered is an NPC who will fight for you and give their life to pro-
to and the odds are in their favour, but will not act suicidally. tect your own, but won’t knowingly charge into a suicidal
situation unless it’s clear it’s the only way to save you. The
The retainer has the following stats, which should be soldier has the following stats:
worked out with the GM based on what kind of person
the retainer is: No Background.
ØØ

No Background.
ØØ
  10 points in Attributes, none higher than 3 or lower
ØØ

than 1.
8 points of Attributes, none higher than 2 or lower than
ØØ

1. Rank 3 in either the Brawl, Melee, or Ranged Skill.
ØØ

6 Ranks in Skills, none higher than 2. They cannot take
ØØ
  6 Ranks in other Skills, none higher than 2.
ØØ

Brawl, Melee, or Ranged. Rank 1 in one of the following Talents: Unarmed Com-
ØØ

No Talents.
ØØ
  bat, Archery, One Handed Weapons, or Two Handed
Weapons.
Secondary stats are calculated in the same manner as for
ØØ

PCs (see page 83). Secondary stats are calculated in the same manner as for
ØØ

PCs (see page 83).
No Valour.
ØØ

No Valour.
ØØ

If your retainer dies or leaves, you may gain a replace-
ment after spending a week searching for a suitable candi- Your inspiring speeches also now restore 1 Stamina to
date in a city or village. those affected

Rank 2: Inspiring Rank 4: Coterie


142 Type: Social.
Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Social 2, Charisma 2. Prerequisites: Social 4, Charisma 4.

You can now spend 1 Stamina and make a Social/+Charisma Even more people have flocked to your cause; in fact it is
Test to give an inspirational speech as a Complex Action, difficult to go anywhere without being followed by a small
inspiring those around you to greater heights and bringing menagerie of assistants hoping to earn your favour.
out the best (or worst) in them. If successful, all allies with-
You gain a coterie of three new followers. Each one has
in 20 metres/yards gain a +1 bonus to all Skill Tests for a
stats determined in the manner described under Rank 1 and
number of Rounds equal to twice your Rank in this Talent.
will follow your lead just like your original Loyal Retainer,
Only allies who can hear and understand your words gain
however they do not gain any extra improvements from
this bonus.
later Ranks of this Talent.
Your Loyal Retainer also gains the following permanent
Your original Loyal Retainer, however, gains the follow-
bonuses, which cannot be changed once chosen:
ing additional bonuses:
+1 to an Attribute of your choice. No Attribute may be
ØØ
  +1 to an Attribute of your choice. No Attribute may be
ØØ

raised higher than 3.
raised higher than 3.
+3 Skill Ranks. No Skill may be raised higher than 3.
ØØ
  +3 Skill Ranks. No Skill may be raised higher than 3.
ØØ

Brawl, Melee, and Ranged may be taken but cannot be
Brawl, Melee, and Ranged may not be raised higher than
raised higher than 1.
2.
Rank 1 in a Common Talent.
ØØ
  A Rank in a Common or Rare Talent. This can be used
ØØ

to take a new Rank 1 Talent or to improve the Rank of
a Talent the retainer already possesses. Inspiring Leader
cannot be taken.
In addition, your inspiring speeches now grant a +2 bo-
nus instead of +1.
Rank 5: Inspired Heroes Wind Rating Accuracy
Type: Social.
Prerequisites: Social 5, Charisma 5. 2 or less 2
3 3
You have inspired some of the people following you to be-
4 4
come truly heroic. Both your original Loyal Retainer and
your Personal Guard gain the following bonuses: 5+ 5

Valour: 1
ØØ
  Rank 2: Lucent’s Bane
2 Ranks in Common or Rare Talents. These can be used
ØØ
  Type: Magic, Tempest.
to take new Talents or improve existing ones. Inspiring Prerequisites: Throwing 2, Focus 2.
Leader cannot be taken.
Through manipulation of the Tempest, the Erishala may
+3 Skill Ranks. No Skill may be raised higher than 3.
ØØ
  imbue a weapon with the ability to harm lucents and other
When you succeed in making an Inspiring speech, you similar denizens.
may also spend 2 Valour to grant affected allies a point of
Valour. This can take their Valour over their normal maxi- You may spend 1 Stamina as a Quick Action to imbue
mum but excess points are lost after an hour if they aren’t an item you touch with a magical effect that closes off the
used. Each person can only benefit from this effect once Tempest in everything it touches, disrupting natural electri-
per day. cal energy. Attacks with this item deal bonus damage equal
to your Rank in this Talent and can harm Ephemeral crea-
tures. This can be used on any item, including melee and
Javelin’s Thunder thrown weapons, and the effects last a number of Rounds
equal to your Focus. You may use this on another person’s
Group: Unique. weapon, assuming you can touch it to imbue the effect.
This unusual Talent is practised exclusively by the Erishala You can also use this on your unarmed attacks, however
who developed it out of necessity. When the Fall occurred a doing so also causes you damage equal to your Rank in this
thousand years ago, the Kingdom of Storms became a weak Talent as the electrical signals in your nerves are momen- 143
point in the Veil and lucents were drawn into the world. For tarily disrupted.
hundreds of years the Altaens had few ways to fight these
creatures until the Erishala were formed. They conducted
research into Tempest Magic and refined techniques which
could be used to slay the creatures from that Realm. Today
they hunt lucents whenever they slip across the Veil and
ensure the people of the Kingdom are kept safe.

Rank 1: The Wind, My Guide


Type: Magic, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Throwing 2.

The first technique the Erishala learn is to effectively use a


thrown weapon in the strong wind within the Storm. They
are taught that the wind is not there to hinder, but rather
to aid their aim; they simply have to see the Storm as ally
instead of enemy.

Your normal Skill Test penalties caused by the wind are


no longer doubled when you attack with a thrown weapon
(see page 249) and you may spend 1 Stamina as a Reflexive
Action to call the wind to guide your aim. When you do, in-
stead of the normal penalty, you gain an Accuracy bonus to
the next attack you make this Round based on the strength
of the wind:
Rank 3: Slay the Storm and lasts for up to 10 Rounds before vanishing again. While
Type: Magic, Tempest. it lasts you may use it to attack, even retrieving it if thrown
Prerequisites: Throwing 2, Focus 3. to throw again. It functions just like a normal weapon of
its type and benefits from Thunder’s Herald at no addition-
With this technique, the Erishala can use their attacks al cost. Instead of the weapon’s normal Damage, it deals
against the Veil itself, causing a brief moment of flux as 4d/+Focus damage to anyone it touches, and ignores all
magic is banished from the area and reality is restored to non-magical armour.
normal.
You are not only immune to this damage, but to damage
When your Lucent’s Bane-imbued weapon passes through from all sources of lightning and electricity, including light-
any spell effect or Surge, it disrupts the Veil, weakining the ning spells and the dangerous pockets of energy that can be
effect; Spells have their DoS reduced by 2 and Surges have found while travelling the Tempest.
their Rank reduced by 2. The Erishala most commonly use
this with their javelins, throwing them through the active ef- Whenever you successfully hit with any thrown weapon,
fect. Since the weapon affects every spell it passes through, you may spend 2 Valour as a Reflexive Action to call down
it is possible to weaken multiple spells or Surges in one a huge lightning strike from the sky. It hits the target, deal-
attack if they happen to be lined up correctly. ing an additional 3d/+Focus damage (which is rolled sep-
arately) to them and anyone within 10 metres/yards, and
You may also use this on the Great Maelstrom itself, low- creates a crack of thunder and shock wave which deafens
ering the Wind Rating by 2 in a 10 metre/yard radius for 1 those affected for 3 Rounds and knocks them Prone unless
hour. Relics touched by the imbued attack are unaffected. they succeed in a Strength/+Strength Test. This can still be
used indoors; the lightning just appears from the air above
Alternatively you may spend 1 Valour instead of the nor- them.
mal cost of Lucent’s Bane to greatly increase this effect,
immediately ending all spells and Surges the attack passes
through. If used on the Great Maelstrom, the Wind Rating One Handed Weapons
is reduced to 0 for an hour in a 100 metre/yard radius. Any
lucents struck by this version also take double the normal Group: Common.
damage. Relics touched by the weapon cease to function
144 You are well trained in the use of one handed weapons and
for 1 hour, and this also happens if you try to imbue the
effect into a relic. have learnt specialised techniques in this area. This Talent
may only be used while wielding a single one-handed melee

Rank 4: Thunder’s Herald weapon. You may use it with a shield in the other hand, but
not while dual wielding.
Type: Magic, Tempest.

Rank 1: Lunge
Prerequisites: Throwing 4, Focus 4.

Carried by the wind, your javelins can travel a huge distance Type: Physical.
and hit with pinpoint accuracy. Prerequisites: Melee 2.

When attacking with a javelin, you may spend 1 Stamina You may draw a one handed melee weapon as a Free
as a Reflexive Action to increase the base range fivefold to Action, and you may spend 1 Stamina to perform a lunge
150 metres/yards, and to increase the damage by a die to attack as a Complex Action. Make a Melee attack roll and
3d/+Strength. Additionally, the attack benefits from The if you hit your Damage is increased by +3. However after
Wind, My Guide as if the Wind Rating were 5, and Lucent’s using this attack you are open to retaliation and until your
Bane and Slay the Storm, at no additional cost. next Turn, your Defence is reduced by 2.

Rank 5: The Storm, My Javelin Rank 2: Riposte and Disarm


Type: Magic, Tempest. Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Throwing 5, Focus 5. Prerequisites: Melee 2, Agility 2.

No longer limited to using physical weapons, you can now Parrying the enemy’s attack, you either disarm them or
summon one from the energy of the Tempest itself which counter and deliver a quick slashing strike of your own.
strikes with a crack of thunder.
You may spend 1 Stamina as a Complex action to at-
You may spend 2 Stamina as a Quick Action to create a tempt to disarm your opponent. Make an attack roll as nor-
javelin or spear made of lightning. It appears in your hand mal, but if it hits it deals no Damage — instead, one of
their weapons is knocked from their hand and lands a few Solidify matter: You can carve solid objects out of liq-
ØØ

metres/yards away. uids and gases. For example you could make a solid
staircase out of the air by tracing its shape with your
Also once per Round, if an enemy attacks you and miss- weapon, causing the air to solidify into the desired
es, you may spend 2 Stamina to immediately make a normal shape. Enemies struck take no damage and instead be-
attack against them as a Reflexive Action. come as hard as stone. They are completely paralysed
and unconscious, but also cannot be harmed.
Rank 3: Alacrity Any transformation caused by either of these effects lasts
Type: Physical. 1 minute or until someone Counterspells them, after which
Prerequisites: Melee 3, Agility 2. affected matter is restored to its original state of solid, liq-
uid, or gas. However, any damage remains: if a hole was
Your experience in combat has taught you to strike more carved in a wall, the displaced mater returns to being solid
swiftly and to never overcommit to an attack. At the start of but there is still a hole. Solidified creatures are restored to
your Turn, you may spend 2 Stamina. If you do, then for the normal with no lasting side effects.
rest of this Turn you may make normal attacks and disarm
attacks as Quick Actions, and you may spend 1 Valour to
take an extra Quick Action that can only be used to attack Outlaw’s Path
or draw a weapon.
Group: Common.
Rank 4: Perfect Form Some people practise skills that are useful for less-than-
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern. legal activities and nurture contacts in the less scrupulous
Prerequisites: Melee 4, Agility 4. parts of society, finding it useful to know people on the
streets who can sell ill-gotten goods and help with a quick
Your weapon is an extension of your body, and your skill
getaway. This Talent is often possessed by criminals.
and devotion to your art allows it to behave in an almost
magical way.

Any one handed weapon you hold counts as magical


Rank 1: Rogue’s Art 145
Type: Physical.
and cannot be broken while it remains in your hand, not Prerequisites: Larceny 2.
even by magical means. Your attacks gain +2 Accuracy and
Damage and can harm Ephemeral creatures. Finally all of Your nimble fingers make you particularly suited for a life
your Attack and Damage Tests while using a one-handed of crime and you may now use Larceny to pick pockets as
weapon Cascade on a roll of 9 or 10 instead of just 10. a Quick Action instead of a Complex Action. In addition,
you can use Larceny to pick locks. Make a Larceny/+Agility
Rank 5: Blade of Shaping Test; the DoS required depends on the lock’s quality:
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern.
Quality DoS
Prerequisites: Melee 5, Agility 4, Focus 3.
Poor 1
Your weapon is a tool for your will, shaping all that meets Standard 2
its edge: stone and steel flow like water and air is carved Superior 3
like stone.
Finally, when making a Streetwise or Larceny Test, you
The bonus to Accuracy and Damage from Perfect Form may spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You
increases to +3, and you may spend 2 Valour as a Free Ac- may do this once per Test.
tion to make your weapon an extension of your will. For a
number of Rounds equal to your Focus, your weapon may
create the following effects: Rank 2: Swindler’s Grift
Type: Social.
Dissolve matter: Any non-magical material may be liq-
ØØ
  Prerequisites: Larceny 2, Streetwise 2.
uefied with a touch from your weapon. You can cut a
hole through solid objects, and carve doors in walls. You are a master of deception and the long con. You can
Against enemies this attack ignores all non-magical ar- swindle people out of their possessions, know just what to
mour and deals extra damage equal to your Focus on steal, and can use rumour as a weapon.
top of the weapon’s normal damage.
The first step to any con is to study your mark. You may month than your Ranks in this Talent, and those who try
do this by spending a minute watching your intended tar- to abuse this Talent soon find themselves earning the ire of
get and making an Appraise/+Focus Test. If successful, the underworld.
you gain a bonus DoS on all successful Appraise, Larceny,
Streetwise, and Subterfuge Skill Tests you make against that
same target for the next day. This bonus doesn’t apply to
Rank 4: Kingpin’s Clout
Type: Social.
rolls to activate Talents, and is lost if you lose sight of the
Prerequisites: Larceny 2, Streetwise 4, Charisma 3.
target for more than an hour.
You’ve earned reputation and even infamy for yourself as
You can also spread rumours about someone, improving
a person of importance in underworld circles, and you can
or lowering their reputation in the eyes of those around
find contacts and allies in every city you visit. Criminals
them. Make a Streetwise/+Charisma Test; for each DoS
who recognise you will automatically show you at least a
achieved, you can give the target a +1 or -1 to all Charis-
measure of respect and you will never be the target of petty
ma-based Skill Tests with the people of the local area. This
crime, although this offers no protection from those with a
rumour lasts for a week.
specific grudge against you.

Rank 3: Instigator’s Heist This reputation can be tied to a pseudonym to protect


Type: Social. your real identity against reprisals from the law, but if you
Prerequisites: Larceny 2, Streetwise 3. do get into trouble corrupt officials and guards will con-
spire to help you escape, likely exonerated of all wrongdo-
There are people in underworld circles who are willing to ings.
do you favours. Calling in these favours takes an hour of
socialising in some of the city’s more dubious areas and re- Your fame has also attracted a helpful young sidekick
quires a Streetwise/+Charisma Test. The number of crim- who seeks to prove their worth to you. They could be an
inals who rally to your aid is based on the DoS you rolled: urchin pickpocket, a young burglar, or simply a disaffected
delinquent. They will follow you around and will loyally do
DoS Criminals anything you tell them that isn’t obviously suicidal so long
as you look after them and keep them fed.
1 2
146 2 5 Work out their stats with the GM:
3 10
No Background.
ØØ

4 15
10 points of Attributes, none higher than 3 or lower
ØØ

5 30
than 1.
The criminals will carry out one favour for you before 3 Ranks in both Larceny and Streetwise.
ØØ

dispersing back to their normal lives. You can accompany
Assign 5 other Skill Ranks as you choose but no Skill
ØØ

them on the job or send them to deal with it on their own.
can be raised higher than 2.
Examples of suitable favours include: Rank 1 of Outlaw’s Path.
ØØ

Pickpocket a specific person.
ØØ
  Secondary stats are calculated in the same manner as for
ØØ

PCs (see page 83).
Cause a chaotic diversion somewhere in the city.
ØØ

1 Valour.
ØØ

Distract a guard.
ØØ

In addition, you gain a bonus DoS when rolling to acti-
Organise a heist.
ØØ
  vate any Rank of this Talent, improving your lock picking
The favour cannot be blatantly suicidal and there must be and increasing the potency of your rumours and favours.
a reasonable chance the criminals can get away with what-
ever is being asked of them without ending up in prison. Rank 5: Lightest Touch
Type: Physical, Magic, Void.
You cannot call upon more favours in a given city each
Prerequisites: Larceny 4, Streetwise 4, Charisma 3,
Agility 3.

Not even distance limits your craft and no door or barrier


can keep you from stealing something you desire.

By spending 2 Stamina as a Reflexive Ac-


tion, you grant your hands the ability to
reach through the Void for a Round, allowing you to ma-
half the normal price of the poison, or if you are in the wil-
nipulate objects at a distance or pull them through a hole
derness you can try to find them using a Survival/+Focus
in space to your location. The act of moving the objects or
Test. The herbs can be difficult to find however; compare
pulling them to you still takes any normal action or roll it
the normal cost of the poison in your area to the following
would require if the item was within arm’s reach, this Talent
table to see the needed DoS.
just increases your range and allows you to bypass most
barriers.
Cost Required DoS
If you cannot see the object you are trying to manipulate, 1 mk to 10 crs 1
then you can only project your hands to where you think 10 crs to 20 crs 2
the item is and then feel around to try and find it. This
20 crs to 30 crs 3
counts as being blind (see page 250) for any rolls involved.
More than 30 crs Can't be found
If the item you are trying to take is in someone’s
hand then you may need to defeat them in a contested Once you have the necessary ingredients, you can pre-
Strength/+Strength roll to pull it from their grasp. If it is pare the poison through an hour of brewing and a Poison-
tied down you would need to untie it or cut the rope first. er/+Mind Test.

Although you can manipulate any object as if it were You may also use your Ranks in this Talent as if they were
within arm’s reach, only objects easily lifted with one hand a Skill when making rolls to see if you know specific infor-
can be pulled across space to your location. A coin-purse, mation about a new poison or how it works.
hat, or sword can be teleported, but a wagon or building
cannot. Living creatures of size Tiny can be teleported eas- Rank 2: A Potent Mix
ily, Small creatures can be teleported if you also spend 1 Type: Physical.
Valour, and Medium if you spend 2. Prerequisites: Mind 2, Medicine 2.
You can also use this ability to reach through space and Multiple poisons usually cannot be applied to a weapon at
attack from an unexpected angle. While active, your attacks once — they just dilute each other and there’s only so much
gain a +3 Accuracy bonus. you can stick to a blade — but you’ve learnt to mix your 147
poisons using a distillation process, combining them with-
Whenever you use this ability, you must make a Taint
out losing any of their potency.
Test as if using Void Magic.
Using this Talent takes a full hour to make a single ap-
Poisoner plication of poison. It requires several flasks to mix the
poisons in and access to a fire or heat source to boil off
excess fluid. This process is a delicate one and takes careful
Group: Rare.
measurement and attention so you can only work on one
Most assassins prefer to use more direct methods since distillation at a time, although once made they can be bot-
poisons can be unreliable and can draw attention from law tled for later use.
enforcement: possessing them shows intent to kill, while a
Using this technique, you can create one of two improved
sharp knife can pass inspection without so much as a com-
poisons:
ment. Amongst those who do use them, every once in a
while there’s an assassin who turns poisoning into an art- Turn two doses of poison into one distilled dose: The
ØØ

form. Duration of the poison is doubled.
Anyone can use poison, but with this Talent you know all Mix a dose of two different injected poisons to produce
ØØ

about how they work, what dose to use, and how to make one dose which can be put on a weapon and causes all
them more effective. the effects of both. The victim must roll against both
poisons separately and suffers all the effects of each.

Rank 1: A Dose of Knowledge The improved poisons created with this Talent cannot be
further combined or improved, that’s as good as they get.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Mind 2.

Most people don’t know much about poison, but you ac-
tually know how to create them. You need to have suitable
herbs on hand. You can either purchase them which costs
Rank 3: An Application of Death Rank 5: A Blade of Thorns
Type: Physical.
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern.
Prerequisites: Mind 3, Medicine 2.
Prerequisites: Mind 5, Medicine 3, Artistry (Blacksmithing) 2.
Not all poisons work the same; some can be placed on a
The Blade of Thorns is a rare and feared assassination tool.
weapon, while others need to be ingested or applied to the
Few know of its existence, and those who do know just
skin. With this Talent, you have learnt to alter the proper-
how dangerous it can be.
ties of a poison so that it can be applied with an unusual
method. Through an alchemical process requiring 6 hours of
preparation, several rare herbs, the spending of 2 Valour,
Using this Talent requires the same tools and preparation
and ten doses of a single type of poison, you create a thick
as A Potent Mix, but you can now create one new recipe:
resin which dries into a glossy white material that looks like
Mix a dose of two different poisons to create one dose
ØØ
  polished bone. Before it dries it can be cast into a shape of
with some of the properties of each. The resulting poi- your choice, the most common being a weapon’s blade. The
son only causes the effects of one of the two poisons resulting material is as strong as steel and is made of the
(you choose which) but uses the Delivery Type of the pure essence of the poisons used to create it, held together
other. For example you could turn Woe into a Contact by Pattern Magic.
poison or Essence of Years into an Ingestion one.
The Blade of Thorns can be created in the shape of any
Any poison you improve is also now more resistant to small weapon, or another object of similar size, and has all
antidote, which if administered merely lowers the DoS the normal properties for a weapon or item of its type. Such
required for the Resistance Test by 1. If the DoS are not an item will be quite crude and will count as Poor Quality
reduced to zero then the poison continues to afflict the however, unless the creator also uses the rules for Artistry
victim and cannot be cured further by antidote. and the Expert Artisan Talent to forge the item at a higher
quality. It is clear to anyone who examines the item that it
As with the improved poisons created by A Potent Mix, is not made of normal bone, although its true nature is not
these altered poisons also cannot be improved further. immediately obvious.
148
Rank 4: A Swift Ending In addition to its normal functional properties, it inflicts
the effects of the poison it was created from:
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Mind 4, Medicine 2. It retains the Delivery Type (see page 234):
ØØ

Through careful distillation and the inclusion of a few new ♦♦  Items made from Contact poisons apply their effects
ingredients, you can improve the rate at which a poison every Round that skin contact is maintained.
works.
♦♦  
Items made from Injection poisons apply their ef-
fects every time they injure someone.
You now know a new recipe which can be prepared just
like those detailed in A Potent Mix: ♦♦  
Items made from Ingestion poisons need to be swal-
lowed, and then apply their effects every Round that
Turn two doses of poison into one dose with a rapid
ØØ
  they remain in the victim’s body.
effect. The resulting poison has two-thirds the normal
The poison effect is applied instantly when triggered
ØØ

duration (round up), but whenever it applies its effects,
but doesn’t linger in the body and has no duration. For
it applies them twice. The victim must roll to resist both
example a dagger made from Woe deals the extra dam-
separately.
age from the poison each time it injures someone, but
In addition, whenever you improve a poison with any doesn’t persist and continue to cause damage over time
Rank from this Talent it requires 1 additional DoS to resist. — it’s just a once-off effect.
As with the improved poisons created using A Potent The victim gets no roll to resist the poison.
ØØ

Mix, these altered poisons also cannot be improved further. The improved poisons created from earlier Ranks of this
Talent can be used to craft the item, causing even more
potent effects, and the Blade can also have poison applied
to it normally.
Finally, this weapon also counts as magical and works
against Ephemeral creatures like the Rephaim due to its
Pattern nature. In addition to suffering the normal dam-
age, they also suffer the effects of the poison the blade was
made from; however, they are unaffected by any additional many years ago, finding new and relevant ways to apply
poison applied to the Blade. This effect can be Counter- them to your current situation.
spelled as a Rank 5 Pattern effect, and this causes the Blade
to melt into poisonous sludge. Once per day, you may choose one of the Skills with
which you are Knowledeable. For the rest of the day you
may spend 2 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to gain 1 extra
Research die on all related Skill Tests.

Group: Common. You may also make Academics Tests to try and under-
stand a language you do not know. This works on both
Some have spent long hours of study honing their mind written and spoken language and doesn’t give you fluency,
and developing a thirst for knowledge. Dedicating their just a general understanding of the ideas being conveyed.
lives to the study of the past and present, these academics You can also communicate very basic concepts back when
are often able to provide insight on current events and re- speaking such a language.
search things gone before.
Rank 3: Learned Teacher
Rank 1: Studious Scholar Type: Mental.
Type: Mental. Prerequisites: Academics 3, Mind 3.
Prerequisites: Academics 2, Mind 2.
You have studied many educational books and have be-
You have become an expert in several key areas and find gun to write them yourself, allowing you to spread what you
it easier to learn related Skills and to advise others in these know and assist others in their learning.
areas.
Your research has focused your concentration and you gain
For each Rank you possess in this Talent, you become a +1 bonus to all Focus Tests and to any Skill Test which
knowledgeable about one specific topic. Each topic must uses Focus, including spell casting. 149
correspond to a Skill and should be recorded on your char-
acter sheet. For example at Rank 2 you could be “Knowl- You may also spend a week to create a Skill Manual, an
edgeable: Politics and Survival”. When you increase this educational book which can be used to teach others. When
Talent, the GM may decide that you need to spend a week you do this, choose which Skill the book will be about and
or so studying in a place of knowledge to gain this new which Rank it will teach. It must be one of the Skills you
area of expertise; knowledge, after all, doesn’t come from have become Knowledgeable in due to Rank 1 of this Tal-
nowhere. ent.

Being Knowledgeable in a Skill gives you the following Each Skill Manual can only teach a specific Rank of a
benefits: Skill, and each has certain prerequisites which must be met
before you can create them:
It costs you 1 less XP to increase the associated Skill, to
ØØ

a minimum of 1. Book Creation Prerequisites
You may spend 1 Stamina as a Quick Action to ad-
ØØ
  Rank 1 Research 3, Mind 3, Academics 3, 2 Ranks in
vise someone else about the use of the associated Skill, the Skill being taught.
granting them a +1 bonus to their next Test using that Rank 2 Research 3, Mind 3, Academics 3, 3 Ranks in
Skill. the Skill being taught.
Additionally, when making Academics Tests you may Rank 3 Research 4, Mind 4, Academics 4, 4 Ranks in
spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do the Skill being taught.
this once per Test. Rank 4 Research 5, Mind 5, Academics 5, 5 Ranks in
the Skill being taught.
Rank 2: Marvellous Memory Anyone may spend a week studying the book to perma-
Type: Mental. nently gain that Rank in the Skill, however they must meet
Prerequisites: Academics 2, Mind 2. the following requirements:
You have developed a very good memory for obscure facts They must have the previous Rank of the Skill. A char-
ØØ

and history, and often remember things you once read acter cannot learn Rank 3 before they have Rank 2.
They cannot learn a Rank in a Skill using this meth-
ØØ
  but may only retain three at once. You can choose to give
od if the Skill would exceed their Mind. For example a up borrowed knowledge as a Free Action.
character with Mind 3 cannot understand a Rank 4 Skill
Manual, as the writings in the book are simply beyond When this Talent ends, all Skills and languages you have
them. borrowed and those lost by victims are returned to normal.
Any damage dealt remains and heals normally.
They must be literate (have at least 1 Rank in Academ-
ØØ

ics) and be able to understand the language the book is
written in. Scouting
Rank 4: Polymath Group: Common.
Type: Mental, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Academics 4, Mind 4. Good scouts need to be both observant and careful when
moving through the wilderness. You have some experience
Your knowledge includes such a wide range of topics that in this area and are very perceptive when it comes to gath-
there are rarely things you don’t know. ering information about your surroundings.

Rank 1: Keen Awareness


You can instinctively understand any language; the words
just come to you whenever you are exposed to them as your
subconscious reads the minds of those you are talking to. Type: Physical.
This works on both spoken and written languages, but only Prerequisites: Perception 2.
so long as somebody nearby understands them.
You are sharp eyed and have great attention to detail. Little
You can also make an Academics/+Mind Test as a Quick gets past your notice, even when your vision is obscured.
Action to know all the specific strengths and weaknesses of
You gain a +1 bonus to all Perception Tests and your
a creature, even those of other Realms (effectively allowing
Skill and Attack Tests are less affected by darkness, fog,
your character to know their complete Bestiary entry).
smoke, and other conditions that impair your sight. When
Finally, you can now spend 3 Stamina to either add your suffering from sight penalties (see page 250) the severity of
Focus to your Mind or your Mind to your Focus when mak- these conditions is reduced by 1 category, so you treat Pitch
150 ing any Skill Test. Darkness as Darkness and Darkness as Dim Light.

Additionally, when making a Perception or Survival Test


Rank 5: Borrowed Intellect you may spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1.
Type: Mental, Magic, Void. You may do this once per Test.
Prerequisites: Academics 5, Mind 5.

Your knowledge extends beyond what you have learned Rank 2: Investigation
and sometimes includes things you couldn’t possibly know, Type: Physical.
things known only to those around you. Prerequisites: Perception 2, Focus 2.

You may spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to open Going beyond normal perception, this Talent makes you
your mind to those around you. You become aware of all an almost supernatural investigator. By examining the area,
sentient minds within 10 metres and know their location you can find clues to events that recently transpired. This
and Skill Ranks. This heightened awareness lasts for one can be used equally to aid in the solving of a crime, or to
hour, and when you first activate it you must make a Taint estimate the size of an army based on the remains of their
Test as if using Void Magic. campsite.

While this ability it active, you may make an Academ- By spending 2 Stamina and succeeding on a Percep-
ics/+Mind Test as a Complex Action to copy the knowl- tion/+Focus roll as a Complex Action, you can gather de-
edge of anyone within range, temporarily changing your tailed information beyond what Perception would normal-
Ranks in one Skill to match theirs, or gaining fluency in a ly give you. You might uncover how many people passed
language they know. If you achieve 3 or more DoS, you may through, whether the people were adults or children (based
choose to rip the knowledge out, dealing them 1d/+Mind on size of footprints), how recently they were there, and any
(Subdual) damage and reducing their Ranks in that Skill to other information the GM feels it is possible to discover.
zero or removing their knowledge of the language in the
It can also be used to study a person and gather specifics
process. This damage ignores non-magical armour.
about their life based on subtle clues such as crumbs on
You can steal multiple Skills and languages in this way, their clothes, the amount of dirt under their fingernails, or
the quality of their shoes.
Rank 3: Vigilance Rank 4: Realmsight
Type: Physical. Type: Physical, Magic, Blaze or Tempest or Wild or Pattern
Prerequisites: Perception 3, Focus 2. or Void (see below).
Prerequisites: Perception 4, Focus 4.
No one sneaks up on you and you spot even the most care-
fully concealed trap. You have begun to see in ways that most people cannot.
The air is filled with bands of colour and patterns that re-
Whenever you or an ally would be Surprised (see page veal things that others never notice.
231), you may spend 1 Valour to spot the attack and give
warning in the nick of time. The attack still occurs but You can spend 3 Stamina as a Free Action to attune your
now without the Surprise. You may also do this to prevent senses to one of the other Realms for an hour, gaining new
someone stepping on a concealed trap or other hidden dan- ways to sense the world. Your senses can only be attuned to
ger; in this case you stop them just in time and the trap is one Realm at a time but you can end this effect prematurely
not triggered. as a Free Action.

Your sight is also less impeded by darkness, fog, or bright While your senses are attuned to one of the other Realms,
lights, and any penalties you suffer from these effects are you automatically detect any magical effects associated with
now reduced by 2 categories so long as your hearing isn’t that Realm that occur within your line of sight. You also
impaired. gain the following benefits based on the Realm:

You also gain a further +1 bonus on all Perception Tests Blaze: The Light Rating always counts as 0, allowing you
ØØ

which stacks with Rank 1. to see without penalty even in Pitch Darkness or Radi-

151
ant Light. Your vision is unaffected by thick smoke or Although this gives you a great view of any location with-
fog, and you can see heat and other forms of radiation in Orcia, there are some things you cannot see so easily:
even through walls. You can choose to look into the Your point of view while using this Talent is always from
Blaze, although there is little to see other than heat and above, you cannot see through the roofs of buildings or
light. the canopies of thick forests, and cloud cover may obscure
Tempest: You can accurately predict the weather for the your vision. However you can combine this ability with all
ØØ

next day and can see electrical charge even when con- the effects of Realmsight (at no cost) and see people’s body
cealed inside wires or other devices. You can see lucents heat even through solid obstacles.
that are fettered inside objects or creatures and tell how Some locations are more difficult to see due to their na-
powerful they are, and you can choose to look into the ture:
Tempest.
Wild: You know the precise passing of time even if you
ØØ
  The clouds over the Kingdom of Storms frequently ob-
ØØ

cannot see the sun, and can tell what time it is down to scure the whole area.
the second. You can see into the Wild. The Kingdom of Ash can be viewed, but the Void Taint
ØØ

Pattern: You can sense the location and shape of all sol-
ØØ
  creates interference and the image becomes distorted
id matter within 100 metres/yards, even things which and grainy. The closer you try to look to the Bay of
are out of sight. You can sense what materials objects Sorrow, the worse this becomes.
are made from and if something has a physical flaw or Similarly the Kingdom of Tears is also shrouded in in-
ØØ

defect. You can see into the Pattern. terference as well as physical fog, making it very diffi-
Void: You can see distant objects clearly and read hand-
ØØ
  cult to see much. However when combined with Realm-
writing up to a kilometre/mile away. You still need line sight: Blaze, you can detect a lot of energy in the area.
of sight but distance is no longer really a factor. You can You cannot see into the Kingdom of Fiends at all:
ØØ

sense Void Taint in a person, place, or object, and know When you try to look beyond the Watchtowers all you
how severe the Taint is. You can also see into the Void. see is black.
When in other Realms, this Talent can also be used to see
back into Altais. Shield Mastery
Rank 5: Eyes of the Celestials
152
Group: Common.
Type: Physical, Magic, Void, Blaze. Shields are commonly used all across Altais, as they provide
Prerequisites: Perception 5, Focus 5. excellent protection and are relatively cheap to make. This
Talent represents a character’s experience using any form
With concentration you enter into a trance, your mind leav-
of shield or buckler, in both warfare and personal combat.
ing your body so that you feel like you are drifting far above
Naturally in order to benefit from this, a character must be
the world, looking down on it, with the ability to focus your
using a shield of some form.
perception on any place and see it up close in minute detail.

You begin the trance by spending 2 Valour as a Complex


Action. Your body falls comatose (so it’s best to be sitting
Rank 1: Defensive Stance
Type: Physical.
or lying when you begin this effect) and you feel your mind Prerequisites: Strength 2.
suddenly pulled up into the sky, a shift in perception that
can be quite jarring. You are accustomed to using a shield and are no longer so
encumbered by it, allowing you to manoeuvre it into posi-
From above you can see the continent of Orcia and the tion more easily.
surrounding oceans. You can see Ghoskoya, the Northern
Ice, the Kingdom of Tears, and all the small islands sur- The Skill penalty for using a shield (see page 202) is re-
rounding these places, but nothing beyond. You cannot duced by your Rank in this Talent, and you may spend 1
turn your point of view to look across the ocean or move Stamina as a Quick Action to increase the Defence bonus it
to other continents, but you can focus on a specific place provides by +1 until your next Turn.
within this area, shifting your sight closer and closer until
you can see individual blades of grass and pebbles on the
ground. Rank 2: Shield Bash
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Melee 2, Strength 2.

A shield is not just a defensive device, it can also be used


as a weapon.
You may spend 1 Stamina and make a Melee/+Strength
Test to attack with your shield as a Quick Action. If this at- metres/yards on each side, above, and below. Anything in
tack is successful, you deal 1d/+Strength (Subdual) damage the way of the shield when it forms simply becomes part of
and your opponent suffers a penalty equal to the DoS you it, imprisoned within but unharmed. This lasts for a num-
rolled to all Skill Tests they make on their next Turn due ber of Rounds equal to twice your Focus, and while it lasts
to being off balance. If you score 3 DoS or more on this you cannot move the wall or swing your shield around to
attack, the target is also Knocked Prone. intercept attacks so you lose its Defence bonus. If you let
go of the shield, the effect ends.
Rank 3: Unyielding Shield The Aegis protects you from all attacks and spells that
Type: Physical.
come from the other side. It negates all Damage and ef-
Prerequisites: Melee 2, Strength 3.
fects, and no force can cross it to reach those behind you,
Your skill with a shield allows you to block blows that no matter how powerful. Attacks simply bounce off the
would otherwise have caused you injury. wall, arrows shatter, and rocks hurled by catapults break
apart on impact. Even the fearsome weapons of the Eesa
You may now activate Defensive Stance as a Free Ac- cannot penetrate this barrier. Magic cannot pass through
tion and the Defence bonus it provides is increased to +2. and spell casters cannot sense or manipulate the Veil on the
You may also spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Action to block other side. The Aegis is also effective against creatures from
an attack that would otherwise have hit you, negating all other Realms, protecting against the energy of the lucents
Damage from it. You may even do this after the Damage and the ephemeral touch of the Rephaim.
has been rolled, however it only works against melee and
ranged attacks, not spells, catapults, falling trees, or other This works both ways however, and the wall stops the
attacks too large or heavy to be blocked by a shield. attacks of your allies just as surely as it stops those of your
enemies. Creatures imprisoned within the wall are also pro-

Rank 4: Guardian
tected by it from both sides.

Type: Physical. Additionally, the wall extends into every Realm and
Prerequisites: Melee 4, Strength 4. blocks the passage of creatures and magic even in those
places. This prevents any Talent from allowing someone 153
Your shield is an extension of yourself. Not only can you to bypass the wall, even if it involves teleportation via the
use it as an effective weapon, but you can use it to protect Void, and creatures like the Rephaim cannot use other
others around you. Realms to get past you.
You gain 1 bonus DoS when you successfully use Shield The wall shimmers with blue light when touched and
Bash, and the Damage it deals is increased by +2. feels hard and cold to most, however to the Rephaim it is a
wall of emptiness that seems to burn and suck at their es-
In addition, when you use Defensive Stance, you may
sence when they touch it. This doesn’t cause them damage
use your shield to protect an ally within 1 metre/yard, ex-
but is extremely unpleasant and may cause them to back
tending the bonus Defence from your shield and Defensive
away.
Stance to protect them as well. This bonus stacks with any
they already receive from their own shield and Talents.

Rank 5: Aegis
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern, Void, Tempest, Blaze, Wild.
Prerequisites: Melee 4, Strength 5.

More than an extension of your body, your shield is now


an extension of your will, and the Realms bend to avoid
crossing your guard.

The bonus Defence provided by Defensive Stance is in-


creased by 1, making it +3 in total.

You can now spend 2 Valour as a Reflexive Action to


plant your feet and brace your shield which becomes a bar-
rier that no force can cross. When activated, an invisible
wall forms with you at its centre. The wall extends for 100
Silence in Shadows main hidden. Anyone looking in your direction when this
occurs may make a Perception/+Focus roll against your
original Stealth roll to spot you but if they fail they do not
Group: Common.
find the source of the disturbance.
Avoiding notice is the staple of criminals and scoundrels,
Depending on the nature of your Action, those not look-
but there are times when even the more law-abiding citizen
ing in your direction may still react to any obvious sound
might want to go unnoticed. Hunters use stealth to avoid
but won’t find who’s responsible.
being detected by their prey; bounty hunters find it useful
for similar reasons. Additionally you no longer suffer any penalty to Stealth
Tests when running or taking actions that require the Ath-
Rank 1: Shadow Swift letics Skill.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Stealth 2. Rank 3: Gone from Sight
Type: Physical.
No longer limited to creeping along slowly, you’ve learnt
Prerequisites: Stealth 3, Agility 2.
to muffle the sound you make even while running, climb-
ing, or performing other athletic feats. You can also use Even when in plain sight or being pursued, you can dive
your skill to hide another person, quickly grabbing them out of sight behind cover, disappear into a crowd, or vanish
and shoving them into a hiding place just in time to avoid into the night.
detection.
When Rushing you may spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive
When using Stealth you may now move at your normal Action to roll your Stealth/+Agility and disappear. Every-
Speed without penalty, and any Stealth Tests you make one loses track of you and can no longer find you unless
while running, climbing, jumping, or performing any other they beat you in a Contested Test using their Perception/+-
activity that uses the Athletics Skill now only suffer a -2 Focus.
penalty (see page 110).
You can only use this if you have no Speed penalties of
If you are hidden you may spend 1 Stamina as a Quick any kind and you are not restrained or otherwise prevented
Action to hide a willing character within arm’s reach, pull- from running away.
154
ing them into your hiding spot. That character remains

Rank 4: A Shard of Night


hidden so long as they don’t move or take any action, and
detecting them requires a Perception Test against your orig-
inal Stealth total. You can only hide one ally at a time. Type: Physical, Magic, Blaze, Void.
Prerequisites: Stealth 4, Agility 4.
When making a Stealth Test, you may also spend 1 Stam-
ina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do this once It’s easiest to hide when the environment is dark, and for
per Test. you it always seems to be so. Lights dim and shadows deep-
en when you pass, offering you safety within their embrace.

Rank 2: Subtle Shadow The first benefit of this Rank is a passive reduction in the
Type: Physical. amount of light immediately around you. This darkening
Prerequisites: Stealth 2, Agility 2. effect extends 1 metre/yard from your location and reduc-
es the Light Rating (see page 250) by 1. This effect is always
So skilled are you at remaining hidden that you can now on, although you can spend a Quick Action in concentra-
avoid being spotted even while attacking, shouting, or tak- tion to suppress it for a few minutes, and you can reactivate
ing other obvious actions that might draw attention. it the same way. This change in lighting goes unnoticed by
those outside; it’s almost as if their minds refuse to notice
Whenever you take an Action that would draw attention
that the corner of the room is a bit darker than the rest. It
while you are concealed, you may spend 2 Stamina to re-
becomes immediately obvious, however, should they enter
the radius of the effect.

In addition you can spend Stamina as a Free Action to


increase and extend this effect, however doing
so makes the change in lighting obvious to all. For every 2
Stamina you spend, you reduce the Light Rating by a fur-
ther 1 and extend the radius by 10 metres/yards. This in-
creased effect lasts for an hour or until you choose to end it. Storm Sympathy
You are not affected by your own darkness and can see as Group: Unique.
if this Talent were not in use.
This Talent focuses on rare techniques developed by the

Rank 5: Silhouette
Elanshi. They specialise in protecting people from the ter-
rible storm in the heart of the Kingdom and often serve as
Type: Physical, Magic, Blaze, Void, Tempest. guides and guardians to those who need to travel.
Prerequisites: Stealth 5, Agility 5.
The effects of Storm Sympathy cannot be stacked: if two
Going beyond hiding within darkness, you become just an- Elanshi both attempt to alter the Wind Rating, only the
other shadow within shadows, a dark shape all but impos- higher Rank in this Talent applies.
sible to spot in the gloom, mistaken for a normal shadow

Rank 1: Control Weather


even in bright light.

By spending 2 Valour as a Complex Action, you become Type: Magic, Tempest.


a shadow cast upon the ground. Everything you are car- Prerequisites: Focus 3.
rying except for sentient creatures (and objects) are trans-
formed with you, and for the next hour you can shift be- With this Talent you can create carefully controlled pockets
tween physical and shadow form with a Complex Action. of gravity that pull on the air to create wind or cancel it out.

In shadow form you are no longer bound by gravity and Spend 3 Stamina as a Complex Action to increase or de-
can scale sheer surfaces without needing to roll, slip under crease the Wind Rating by 2 in a 20 metre/yard radius (see
closed doors, or even cling to the ceiling. There must be a page 249). This change to the weather moves with you and
solid surface upon which your shadow is cast, so you can- lasts for as long as you continue to spend a Complex Action
not fly up through the air or go swimming down through each Turn concentrating on the effect. Once you stop, the
water unless there is a surface for you to move across. You wind returns to its original intensity after 3 Rounds.
can pass through any gap big enough for light to shine 155
through but cannot pass through solid matter. Rank 2: Soothe the Maelstrom
While in shadow form you gain a +5 bonus on all Stealth Type: Magic, Tempest.
Tests while in Darkness or Pitch Darkness (see page 250), Prerequisites: Focus 3.
and even in brighter conditions you may attempt a Stealth You have become more at home in windy conditions, and
Test at any time to pretend to be a mundane shadow or to the Skill and Speed penalties you suffer from the Wind
hide within the shadow of another person or object. Rating are reduced by 1. This is always active, even when
As a shadow, you gain the Ephemeral trait (page 311) you are not attempting to calm the weather.
and cannot be harmed by most attacks unless the specifi- Control Weather also comes more easily, and you can
cally say otherwise. Many Talents no longer work on you, now increase or decrease the Wind Rating by 3 and may
but you also cannot attack or physically manipulate objects activate and maintain it as a Quick Action. The radius is
yourself: also increased to 50 metres/yards.
You cannot attack or use Physical Talents while you re-
ØØ

main Ephemeral. Rank 3: Gentle Wind’s Aura
Social Talents affect you normally, but you cannot use
ØØ
  Type: Magic, Tempest.
them yourself. Prerequisites: Survival 3, Focus 3.
You can use and be affected by Mental Talents normally.
ØØ
  You are now at home in the Storm and even the strongest
Blaze Magic affects you normally.
ØØ
  winds do not bother you. You are immune to all negative
effects from the wind, and the fiercest hurricane blows at
Pattern Magic can solidify you, removing the Ephemeral
ØØ
  you as if it were but a light breeze. This effect is always
trait for the duration of the spell. However you remain a active.
mass-less shadow and can still move as described above.
Lightning attacks damage you normally. Changes to
ØØ
  You also find altering the weather puts less strain on you
gravity do not affect you. than it used to, and using Control Weather costs you 1 less
Stamina. You may also spend 1 Valour to triple the effect’s
Void and Wild Magic affect you normally.
ØØ
  radius for an hour.
156

Control Weather now only costs you 1 Stamina and


Rank 4: Tranquil Journey maintaining it is a Reflexive Action. You can now increase
Type: Magic, Tempest. or decrease the Wind Rating by 5 and the effect extends in
Prerequisites: Survival 4, Focus 4. a radius up to 250 metres/yards.

The Storm is at your beck and call, calm when you wish it In addition you can spend 2 Valour to make the change
to be and raging at your command. You may now activate to the weather last even after you leave. The effect still fol-
and maintain Control Weather as a Free Action and you lows you but the changes linger in the area. In this way you
may increase or decrease the Wind Rating by up to 4. The create a trail of altered weather behind you as you travel;
radius of your effect now extends up to 100 metres/yards it could be a path of calm tunnelled through a storm or
from your location. a region wrecked by hurricanes. For each day that passes
after you leave, the trail of altered weather narrows slightly,
Rank 5: Forge the Wind Road vanishing completely after a year.
Type: Magic, Tempest. The Elanshi use this to create the Wind Roads that grant
Prerequisites: Survival 4, Focus 5. safe passage through the Storm, travelling them frequently
to keep them open; wide in well-travelled areas, narrowing
The most important of all the Elanshi’s responsibilities is in places where few have reason to tread.
the maintenance of the Wind Roads, the stable passages
through the Great Maelstrom that allow the common peo- Once activated, Forge the Wind Road lasts until a Round
ple to travel the Kingdom and trade with other villages. passes without you maintaining it. Many Elanshi travel for
You have now learnt how to create these passages and can days to create Wind Roads as long as possible before they
prevent the existing ones from being slowly eroded by the have to sleep, working in shifts to create the longest roads.
Storm.
Swift Step
Group: Common. Rank 3: Departing Sky
Type: Physical.
Being swift of foot can be useful both in and out of combat.
Prerequisites: Athletics 3, and either Strength 2 or Agility 2.
Whether charging an opponent, outrunning a wild animal,
or simply carrying a message from one place to another, You are so nimble on your feet that you can easily outrun
being a fast runner or nimble jumper can be an advantage. most opponents, travelling swiftly across even the most
broken terrain as you leap over obstacles, flip down em-
This Talent cannot be used while wearing armour or suf-
bankments, and scramble rapidly up and over high walls.
fering a Speed penalty of any kind.
You do not suffer any penalties for moving over une-
Rank 1: Journey’s First Step ven or unstable terrain and can run along the top of a nar-
row wall or ledge without needing to roll. You may spend
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Athletics 2. 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action when you move to avoid
leaving obvious tracks (-5 on all Survival Tests to track your
You move quickly over short distances and can jump higher passage). You may spend 2 Stamina as a Complex Action
and farther than others. and make an Athletics/+Agility Test to scurry up a wall or
surface that would normally be unclimbable.
Your base Speed is increased by +1, and whenever you
succeed in an Athletics Test to jump or run you may spend Finally, you may spend 1 Valour as a Complex Action to
1 Stamina to gain a bonus DoS on the roll. escape from any situation so long as you are free to move.
You run, leaping over obstacles and pursuers that are in
Additionally, when making Athletics Tests you may your way, quickly outdistancing them and escaping before
spend 1 Stamina to re-roll a die that shows a 1. You may do they can catch you. If used in combat, you may leave the
this once per Test. 157
area completely or reposition yourself anywhere within
twice your normal Rushing distance.
Rank 2: Tireless Path
Type: Physical. Rank 4: Journey’s End
Prerequisites: Athletics 2, and either Strength 2 or Agility 2. Type: Physical, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Athletics 4, and either Strength 4 or Agility 4.
You can run faster and for longer before getting tired. In
combat you are swifter, able to dart around the battlefield You are faster on your feet, and your base Speed is in-
while others practically stand still. creased by a further +1.
When Rushing, you may now move at 4 times your Speed You can also now run for a long time without stopping,
instead of 3 times, and your Rank in this Talent is added to covering great distances in a day — so great in fact that
your Strength when determining how long you can travel your journey seems truly impossible.
before you become Exhausted (see page 233).
You may spend 3 Stamina as a Complex Action and
In combat, as a Free Action you may spend 1 Stamina begin running towards your destination. As you run your
to take an extra Quick Action, or 3 Stamina to take an ex- mind falls into a light trance: you see the world passing you
tra Complex Action. Both of these may only be used for
moving, climbing, or performing similar Actions using the
Athletics Skill, and you may only do this once per Round.
Tactics
Group: Common.

You are equally an expert in battlefield tactics and games


of strategy. You know the best move in any given situa-
tion, and the best counter to every opponent’s move. This
by but don’t really take in the details. You also become im- Talent may be used whenever there are tactical decisions
mune to the effects of Exhaustion and don’t need to spend to be made, whether it be in a one-on-one fight, moving
Stamina to continue. Others who follow see you running armies in a war, or playing a game of cards.
normally for the first hour of your journey, after which you
simply fade away. To complete your journey you need to
keep running for 3 hours, then the trance lifts and you find Rank 1: Tactically Minded
yourself at your intended destination, no matter how far Type: Mental.
away it was. Prerequisites: Perception 1, Mind 3.

There are some limitations however: Although this Tal- You may spend 1 Stamina as a Complex Action to study an
ent lets you bypass most physical obstacles such as moun- opponent and learn to outmanoeuvre them, whether in a
tains and walls, it won’t let you cross a large body of water. game of strategy or on a battlefield. You may even use this
Rivers do not stop you, but large lakes and oceans bar your while leading an army to gain the upper hand against the
passage. If you stop running before you reach your desti- enemy general.
nation, the effect doesn’t work and you find yourself little
Once you have studied an opponent, you gain a +2 bo-
more than an hour from where you started.
nus on all Skill Tests made against them, including Attack
When you arrive at your destination, Exhaustions takes rolls in personal combat, Social rolls to lead troops, or rolls
over, your Stamina drops to 0, and you need to make a related to playing a game. This bonus lasts as long as you
Taint Test as if using Void Magic. remain focused on the one opponent; if you turn your at-
tention to another (or you sleep), the bonus ends.

158
Rank 5: Wind Rippled Waters Rank 2: Skirmish Manoeuvres
Type: Physical, Magic, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Athletics 5, and either Strength 5 or Agility 5. Type: Mental.
Prerequisites: Perception 2, Social 1, Mind 3.
Your agility now takes you truly beyond the possible and
you find yourself able to move across any surface as though You guide your allies towards victory, shouting out orders
you weighed little more than a feather. and directing the flow of combat. You may spend 1 Stamina
as a Quick Action to issue the orders to a number of allies
Your Speed is increased by a further +2, making you equal to your Social Skill. These orders must be suitable for
even faster than you were before. combat and they must be instructions to act against oppo-
nents in a hostile manner.
You can now spend 2 Valour to run as a Complex Action
at 100 times your normal Speed, passing over any surface If your allies follow those orders exactly, they gain a +2
even if it would not normally hold your weight. You can bonus to all Attack Tests they make this Turn.
run over water and dance across treetops, and you pass
without leaving any trace at all. You can run up walls even You must be able to communicate these orders clearly
of the smoothest glass, move along a line of thread without for your allies to gain the bonus. When using this Talent
breaking it, and pass over traps without triggering them. you should give the orders without consulting the other
No obstacle bars your way so long as there is a possible players first — you don’t have time to discuss tactics in
path around or over it, and you automatically succeed at any a heated battle, and if the other players choose to disobey
Athletics Tests that would normally be required to get past. then they simply don’t receive the bonus.

As you run, a strong gust of wind springs up in your


wake, scattering light objects and possibly even knocking
Rank 3: One Perfect Moment
Type: Mental.
people over. Anyone you pass within 5 metres/yards of
Prerequisites: Perception 3, Mind 3.
needs to make a Strength/+Strength Test or be Knocked
Prone. You study your opponent’s every move, watching them
fight with others until you see the perfect moment to act,
and when you do so, it brings decisive victory.
You may study an opponent as a Complex Action, gain-
ing insight into their abilities by observing their successes
Rank 5: Tactical Web
Type: Mental, Magic, Void.
and failures. Until your next Turn, each time you see them Prerequisites: Perception 4, Mind 5, and either Social 3 or
succeed in a Test or see others succeed in Tests against Intimidation 3.
them you learn an important piece of information about
their abilities; in personal combat you learn their level in Your mind expands, taking in every detail of the battlefield,
an Attribute or Skill they used, while leading an army you every soldier, every ally, every enemy. You know how each
learn about the enemy’s number of troops, and in a game of of them will act and the entire scenario becomes a predict-
strategy you learn about their mental faculties and skill in able pattern of moves and counter moves, every possible
the game. For each piece of information you learn this way, outcome laid bare before you.
you also gain a +1 bonus on all Skill and Damage Tests you
make against them. By spending 2 Valour as a Quick Action you extend a
telepathic web over a 100 metre/yard radius which lasts so
You can continue studying them over multiple Rounds. long as you continue to use a Quick Action each Round
The bonuses stack up to a maximum equal to your Focus, to concentrate on it. While it lasts, you know the precise
and last until you begin studying a new opponent or until a location of every mind within that area, can read their im-
day passes without you studying them. mediate surface thoughts, and can communicate with them
mentally. Through this connection you can predict what
In addition, you may spend 1 Valour as a Reflexive Ac- every person will do, knowing their actions before even
tion to increase this bonus fivefold for one roll (for exam- they do, and you can give them instructions on what they
ple if you have a +3 bonus, it becomes +15 but only for should do next.
that single roll).
While the Tactical Web is in effect, you may alter the Ini-
Rank 4: Moment of Doubt tiative order of everyone within the area as you see fit. You
can sense what all of your allies within the area are planning
Type: Mental.
Prerequisites: Perception 3, Mind 4, and either Social 3 or to do and may issue telepathic instructions to any number
Intimidation 3. of them as a Free Action. If they follow these instructions
they gain a +5 bonus on all Skill Tests required; if they 159
Sometimes the best tactic is to make the enemy fumble don’t, they simply don’t get a bonus.
their next move. With a few spoken words, a feint, a battle-
field manoeuvre, or even a raised eyebrow, you bring their You may also ask the GM at any time what Actions the
actions into question and make them doubt what they were NPCs within the area plan to take. Once specified they can-
about to do. not be changed unless the Action no longer makes sense,
in which case you immediately know what the new Action
Whenever an opponent takes an Action against you or a will be.
nearby ally, you may spend 2 Stamina as a Reflexive Action
to make them doubt whether it is the correct thing to do. You may also use the Tactical Web for communication
You should do this just after they declare their Action but both with allies and enemies but can only read immediate
before any rolls are made. surface thoughts, not people’s hidden dark secrets. You au-
tomatically see through all mundane stealth within the area
At this point the opponent may choose to change their and only stealth involving Void Magic to hide their mind
Action, or continue but suffer a -5 penalty on their roll due has a chance of succeeding against you.
to the nagging doubt that they are making a terrible mis-
take. If they change their Action then there is no penalty; of Anyone with Void Magic can sense the presence of the
course you could call that Action into question as well, and Tactical Web, and using it around the Rephaim is extremely
may continue doing so until you run out of Stamina. dangerous. Not only can they sense it, but it becomes part
of the hivemind; they know everything you plan (negating
In order to avoid the penalty, the new Action must be sig- all bonuses from this Talent against them) and you get a
nificantly different from the old: For example, attacking a glimpse of what it is like to be one of them, the hive’s song
different target counts, as does moving a different group of echoing through your mind, calling you to join them.
soldiers to a different location or taking a different move on
a game board, but just using a different weapon to perform
the same attack does not.
When you use this ability, you must make a Taint Test as This ability lasts while you continue to spend a Com-
if using Void Magic (see page 255). This Rank cannot be plex Action on it each Round to maintain the effect, but if
combined with Skirmish Manoeuvres. you move, use magic, take Damage, or take any Action that
draws attention to yourself such as attacking or talking, the

The Empty Thought effect ends.

When this effect ends you take 1d/+1 damage as your


Group: Unique. thoughts painfully connect to the Void once more. This
Talent is not a magical effect, it’s purely an act of mental
Strange are the ways of the Seruhin. Strangest of all is the discipline: keeping your mind so empty that you create no
concept of the Empty Thought. The Seruhin teach that echoes in the Void. It cannot be detected with Veilsense or
through the Void the mind defines its place in the world, Counterspelled.
and through mental discipline and meditation it is possible

Rank 2: Gentle Steps


to alter that existence.

Indeed there seems to some truth to this idea: Thoughts Type: Mental.
create ripples and it is through the Void that all minds are Prerequisites: Stealth 2, Mind 3.
connected. By emptying the mind, they reduce or even
break this connection, and Seruhin who have mastered the With improved concentration and practice you can now
Empty Thought can fade from the world and pass unno- move while using Pass Unseen, but Rushing, climbing, or
ticed as if they don’t exist. All Seruhin practice this tech- jumping will still disrupt the effect. Other forms of move-
nique to some degree and many hold it as the highest of ment such as Fly, Swim, or Burrow (see page 228) also end
their teachings. It is never taught to outsiders. the effect.

You have also learnt to soften your reconnection with


Rank 1: Pass Unseen the Void when the effect ends, easing your thoughts back
Type: Mental. in instead of allowing them to slam crudely back into place.
Prerequisites: Stealth 2, Mind 3. You now only take 2 damage when Pass Unseen ends.

The first technique is learning to still one’s thoughts, to Your increased mental discipline has also begun to af-
160 empty the mind of emotions and ideas and allow the Void fect you even when you’re not attempting to hide. Your
to reflect nothing. thoughts and emotions are quieter, and any attempt to use
Social or Intimidation against you suffers a -2 penalty due
Activating this ability costs 3 Stamina spent as a Complex to your increased stoicism.
Action to clear your mind through a moment of medita-
tion. It can only be activated when you are standing still and
while no one is looking at you. While active, you become
unimportant to all around you — not quite invisible, just
a person of no consequence who is not worth talking to.

People walking past won’t give you a second glance, a


guard who has been told to keep everyone out of the area
won’t consider you important enough to arrest, and even
someone specifically looking for you will run past without
noticing you’re the one they are after. People are still aware
of you subconsciously; they will not walk into you and they
will move to go around you if you’re standing in their way,
you’re just the least important person in the area.

This ability works on anything with a Mind score includ-


ing all sentient creatures, animals, lucents, and Rephaim.
While active you are also more resistant to the mind detect-
ing and altering effects of Void Magic and they affect you
as if the number of DoS rolled were reduced by your Rank
in this Talent. If this reduces the DoS to 0 then you are not
affected at all. This offers you no protection against Void
effects that alter space.
This is a magical effect and its disturbance can be de-
Rank 3: Free From Mind tected through Veilsense, although anyone attempting to do
Type: Mental. so can detect only a general location where the Veil is dis-
Prerequisites: Stealth 3, Mind 3. turbed in a very unusual way. It can also be Counterspelled
as a Rank 5 Void effect.
Using Pass Unseen now only costs 2 Stamina and you can
activate and maintain it as a Quick Action. You can also If this effect ends while you are inside a solid object, you
move freely without disrupting your concentration: you can take 5d/+5 damage and are shunted to the nearest unoc-
run, climb, jump, and use other movement types if they are cupied space. When this effect ends you must make a Taint
available to you such as Fly, Swim, and Burrow (see page test as if using Void Magic.
228).

You may also spend 1 Valour instead of the normal cost The Swamp’s Ire
to activate Pass Unseen even if people are looking directly
at you. Their mind loses you for a moment and when they Group: Unique.
look for you again they can no longer find you. They still
remember that you were there but are at a loss to explain Many fear the Katesh, believing they can place curses or
where you went, and will assume you slipped away into a hexes on those who displease them. So strong is this fear
crowd or darted around a corner. amongst the general populace that with an intense stare and
a word the Katesh can send peasants running, believing
they have experienced the “evil eye”.
Rank 4: The Calm Ocean
Type: Mental. While the Katesh certainly use this reputation to their
Prerequisites: Stealth 4, Mind 4. advantage, there is also some truth to the rumours. They
have spent the last 500 years living deep in the untamed
You have passed beyond focused discipline and have learnt swamps, developing these strange abilities and spreading
to let go and allow your mind to be like the waters of a calm them to others within their order, although not without
ocean, free of the ripples of thought and emotion, without personal cost.
effort or concentration. Using Pass Unseen now only costs
you 1 Stamina and you can activate and maintain it as a Anyone using this Talent must make a Taint Test as if
Free Action. You have also learnt to reconnect with the using Void Magic. The Katesh do not realise the nature of 161
Void even more gently and now take only 1 damage when this power and simply believe it takes its toll on the user.
the effect ends. The oldest Katesh hide themselves away, pale and sickly
from overabusing this power.
Your mind is calmer even while not using Pass Unseen,
and attempts to use Social or Intimidation against you now
suffer an additional -3 penalty (-5 in total). Rank 1: The Fear Within
Type: Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Intimidation 2.
Rank 5: Ethereal Void
Type: Physical, Magic, Void. With a baleful stare you can unleash a curse of the mind,
Prerequisites: Stealth 5, Mind 5. filling your victim with fear and paranoia and forcing them
to imagine whatever would terrify them the most. Logic
The final step in the path to the Empty Thought is to un- rapidly gives way to irrational panic: some victims perceive
derstand that by emptying the mind, it is possible to not a specific threat against them, while others simply feel an
touch upon the world at all. overwhelming sense of anxiety and dread.
When you activate Pass Unseen, you may spend 1 ex- To use this curse, you stare intently at a target within 10
tra Stamina to also become intangible until the effect metres/yards and spend 1 Stamina as a Complex Action.
ends, able to move through solid objects, but also unable The target feels panic grip them and they begin to suffer a
to touch or interact with the world. You become buoyant -1 to all Skill Tests. You can continue to stare at them and
and can “swim” up into the air or down through the solid increase this penalty by a further -1 for each additional 1
ground using the normal rules for swimming. You count Stamina and Complex Action you spend, up to a maximum
as Ephemeral and can only be harmed by attacks that can penalty equal to your Rank in this Talent. In addition, this
harm Ephemeral creatures (see page 311). penalty is doubled for the duration of any Round where the
victim meets your gaze.
While in this state you are partially in the Void and your
vision is tinted with a purple glow. You are also affected by So long as you continue to stare balefully at your vic-
the Void’s tides (see page 253). tim (as a Complex Action) the curse continues, even if you
aren’t spending additional Stamina to worsen the effect.
Once you relent or the victim escapes your sight, the effect Rank 3: The Beast’s Cry
fades after one minute. Type: Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Intimidation 3, Survival 3.
Only the initial activation of this curse requires a Taint
Test; maintaining or intensifying it does not incur any addi- The Katesh are said to command all the putrid life of the
tional risk of Taint. swamp, and while not quite true, some can certainly call
upon the swamp for aid.
Rank 2: Debilitating Touch You can spend 2 Stamina to issue a verbal command as a
Type: Magic, Void. Quick Action to an animal within earshot. This command
Prerequisites: Intimidation 2, Survival 2. must be a simple one requiring no more than three words.
The animal will carry it out until complete or until a minute
By grabbing hold of your victim, you can inflict them with
has passed per Rank in this Talent.
a terrible wasting illness. The victim becomes frail and weak
and begins to waste away over time until they can barely The true power of this Talent is unleashed by spending
move. Those who fail to make amends to you can become 1 Valour as a Complex Action and uttering a curdling cry
bedridden, and some perish from starvation or thirst if not condemning an enemy within 50 metres/yards. All animals
looked after. within a radius of 300 metres/yards will head straight to-
wards the target and do their best to slay them. The animals
You need to establish a firm grip on your victim for
can sense their target psychically, so mundane concealment
a few seconds to deliver this curse, which may require a
will not help although Void Magic can. They will continue
Brawl/+Agility Test unless you can do so through subter-
to pursue and attack until the target dies or an hour passes
fuge. This curse cannot be used in conjunction with a dam-
per Rank in this Talent.
aging attack.
The effectiveness of this power depends on the number
Once a grip has been established, you spend 3 Stamina
and nature of the nearby animals; small ones may be too
to begin the curse. The victim immediately loses 1 Strength,
ineffective or may not even reach their target in time, while
Agility, and Charisma as their flesh becomes sunken and
larger ones may prove to be formidable foes.
pale. Every day afterwards, they lose an additional Attrib-
162 ute point, taken from either Strength, Agility, or Charisma Only mundane animals can be affected by this power.
(determined at random) until they all reach 0. Derived stats It will work on most creatures found on Altais and in the
such as Health and Defence are also reduced. Wild, but denizens of the Tempest and Void are immune to
its effects, as are any creatures with sentience.
To make matters worse, the victim must also make a
Taint Test as if touched by a Lesser Rephaim when this Although not compelled to obey, any Rephaim in the
curse begins, as it is the Void flowing through them which area will hear the Katesh’s psychic cry and may come to
robs them of their strength. investigate. Fortunately, they are rarely found outside of the
Kingdom of Ash.
The curse lasts until a Katesh releases them from it. An-
yone with this Rank may undo the curse by establishing a
similar grip on the target and spending 3 Stamina. A mage Rank 4: Consumption of Self
with at least 2 Ranks in Void Magic can also Counterspell Type: Magic, Void.
this effect. Once it ends, the victim begins regaining lost Prerequisites: Intimidation 3, Survival 3, Focus 4.
Attribute points at a rate of 1 per day (their choice which is
regained each day). The words of the Katesh can bestow a terrible curse on
those that hear them. The Consumption of Self causes the
victim to become their own worst enemy, giving in to their
darker nature and vices and eventually leading to their own
destruction.

To bestow this curse you must speak to your victim, de-


scribing all the ways in which they will fall prey to their vic-
es. This costs 3 Stamina and takes a minute of conversation
during which the victim listens entranced to every word
you say. If the victim is injured or shaken awake during this
time, they snap out of the trance and the effect fails. This
ability cannot be used in combat.

At the end of the minute, make an Intimidation/+Cha-


risma Test — if successful, the curse begins. The victim will
start attempting to indulge in every petty vice they come
across. They will eat to excess, become drunk at every op- Throwing Weapons
portunity, and seek out other pleasures wherever they can
find them. They may resist indulging for a day by succeed- Group: Common.
ing in a Focus/+Focus Test or by spending 1 Valour.
This Talent can only be used with thrown weapons, slings,
Each week that the curse remains active, the victim loses blowguns, senka, and similar (basically any ranged weapon
1 Focus. When it reaches 0, their vices will have consumed that is not a bow, crossbow, Eesa firearm, or siege weapon).
them completely. From this point they will do nothing but
indulge, and death usually occurs within a few days.
Rank 1: Thrower’s Dexterity
This curse can be lifted by any Katesh with this Rank. Type: Physical.
To do this they must spend 3 Stamina and a minute talking Prerequisites: Ranged 2.
to the victim to soothe their mind and turn their attention
You are always ready with something to throw, and quick
away from their vices.
and accurate to strike.
Any mage with Void Rank 4 may also attempt to lift this
You may draw a throwing weapon as a Free Action, al-
curse by Counterspelling its effects. If the curse is lifted, the
lowing you to always have them at hand when needed, and
victim begins regaining any lost Focus at a rate of 1 per day.
you gain a +1 bonus to your Initiative, Accuracy, and Dam-
age while using them.
Rank 5: Ride the Amasi You may also spend 1 Stamina to throw something that 163
Type: Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Intimidation 3, Survival 4, Focus 5. was never designed to be thrown with accuracy. The object
must be light enough for you to carry around — for ex-
Of all the creatures of the swamp, the Katesh revere the ample weapons, shields, and chairs are fine, but wagons or
Amasi Monarch above all. This great serpent knocks down full barrels of wine are too heavy. Anything thrown in this
trees with its passing and it is said that it obeys the com- way causes 1d/+Strength (Subdual) damage and has a base
mands of the Katesh. Although not quite true, once in a range of 5 metres/yards.
while a Katesh masters this Talent and is able to bring an
aspect of the Amasi’s power to bear against their foes.
Rank 2: Distracting Blade
Calling the Amasi costs 2 Valour, spent as a Complex Type: Physical.
Action. The ground begins to shake and a giant glowing Prerequisites: Ranged 2, Agility 2.
purple serpent slithers its way into the world to aid you.
One of the most common uses for throwing weapons is
The Amasi can only be summoned within 50 metres/yards
to distract your opponent, a technique you have mastered.
and is not a real animal, but rather a manifestation of Void
Whenever a nearby opponent takes any Quick or Complex
energy given form and substance by your will.
Action that requires a Test, including attacking or spell cast-
The Amasi has all the stats and abilities of the real Amasi ing, you may attempt an attack with a ranged weapon to
Monarch (see page 316), but also has the special features distract them.
Ephemeral, Nonbiological, and Iron Will (page 311). Any
This costs you 1 Stamina and you need to have a ranged
ability or item that specifically affects the Rephaim also af-
weapon available. You may immediately draw and attack as
fects the Amasi in the same way. The Amasi acts on your
a Reflexive Action.
Initiative and obeys your mental commands.
Due to the haste with which you act, you suffer a -2 to hit
If the Amasi is killed, it dissipates and you take 3d/+0
and cannot use this against opponents who are beyond the
(Subdual) damage due to the psychic backlash. If you are
weapon’s base range. If the attack hits, it deals damage as
knocked out or killed, the Amasi immediately vanishes.
normal and the opponent suffers a -4 penalty to the action
Otherwise it remains for 10 minutes before disappearing.
they are attempting.
Additionally, your skill with throwing improvised weap- handful of something sharp on hand to throw; they
ons has improved. They now deal normal damage instead could be knives, javelins, or simply sharp pieces of
of Subdual damage. shrapnel. Once thrown, other objects of similar size
and shape join them, made from Pattern-solidified
Rank 3: Handful of Thorns air.
Type: Physical. The Blade Swarm fills a spherical area with a 10
Prerequisites: Ranged 3, Agility 2. metre/yard radius and deals 5d/+Focus damage to
all within. The blades shred non-magical armour,
You may now make multiple attacks at once. Depending on
permanently lowering their AR by 1. It lasts for a num-
the weapon being used this may mean you throw multiple
ber of Rounds equal to your Focus, inflicting the damage
blades at the same time, or launch a series of attacks one
and armour-shredding effects each Round, and you can
after another.
move it 6 metres/yards once per Round as a Free Action.
Whenever you attack with a thrown weapon (even when This effect can harm Ephemeral creatures.
using Distracting Blade), you may spend 2 Stamina to make
When the effect ends, the Pattern-created blades melt
one additional attack against the same target as a Free Ac-
back into the air and the real ones fall to the ground.
tion, or you may spend 1 Valour to make two additional
attacks. You may only use this once per Round. In addition, your thrown improvised weapons now have
a range of 30 metres/yards.
When throwing improvised weapons, if the item being
thrown has a weapon listing in the Equipment table you
may choose to deal its normal listed damage instead of the
damage listed under Thrower’s Dexterity. For example, a
Two Handed Weapons
thrown scimitar would deal 3d/+Strength damage. Group: Common.

Rank 4: Slicing Point You have experience with specialised fighting techniques
for using large two handed weapons. You must be using
164 Type: Physical. a two handed weapon with both hands to use this Talent.
Prerequisites: Ranged 4, Agility 4.

Your ranged weapons penetrate armour and strike vitals Rank 1: Fierce Blow
with incredible precision, making them as lethal as any Type: Physical.
swung weapon. Prerequisites: Strength 3.
You gain an extra die on all Damage Tests with thrown You’ve learnt to take full advantage of your weapon’s pow-
weapons, and you may spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action to er. When rolling damage, you may spend 1 Stamina as a
gain a bonus to Accuracy equal to your Focus and +3 AP Reflexive Action to add a bonus equal to your Strength, and
on all thrown weapon attacks you make for the rest of the you may re-roll any die that shows a 1. Each die can only
Round. be re-rolled once.
Your thrown improvised weapons now have a range of
10 metres/yards. Rank 2: Grand Strike
Type: Physical.
Rank 5: Blade Swarm Prerequisites: Strength 3, Melee 2.
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern, Tempest. You swing your weapon with all the force you can muster,
Prerequisites: Ranged 5, Agility 5. sacrificing accuracy for power in an attempt to fell your foe
in a single blow.
You throw a handful of throwing weapons and they be-
gin spinning erratically through the air, joined by more that You may spend 1 Stamina to make this attack as a Com-
seem to materialise from nothing, filling a large space with plex Action. You suffer a -2 penalty to the Attack Test, but
thousands of razor shards. if it hits you double the result of one damage die of your
choice before adding any other bonuses. The attack also
Spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to create the Blade
gains +2 AP.
Swarm anywhere within 50 metres/yards. You must have a
Example: Juana is using a greatsword which deals 4d/+Strength nal target) take the same damage rolled in the attack and are
damage. She uses Grand Strike and hits, rolling 8, 6, 4, and 3 on flung to the side and Knocked Prone.
her Damage Test. Choosing the 8, she doubles it to 16, then adds her
3 Strength to bring it to 19. If she activates Fierce Blow her Strength Non-magical physical barriers do not stop this shock
would be added again, bringing her total to 22. wave and are cleaved in two by its passing. This attack can
also harm Ephemeral creatures.

Rank 3: Shattering Strike Those in the same line but between 10 and 50 metres/
Type: Physical. yards away also take 3d/+Strength damage from the in-
Prerequisites: Strength 3, Melee 2. tense wind and flying debris stirred up by the shock wave.

With a mighty swing you bring your weapon crashing down


on your opponent, cleaving their shield, puncturing ar- Unarmed Combat
mour, and shattering bone.
Group: Common.
You may spend 1 Valour to perform this attack as a Com-
plex Action. If it hits, you destroy your opponent’s shield You have studied a variety of combat techniques using only
(if they have one) and permanently reduce the AR of each your body as a weapon and have learnt to be a lethal fighter
piece of armour they are wearing by 2 before then tripling even when unarmed.
the result of one damage die of your choice.
This Talent cannot be used with Medium or Heavy ar-
If the attack misses, unless you Dramatically Failed, it still mour, as it hinders movement too much to take advantage
destroys your opponent’s shield as they use it to parry the of these techniques.
attack. Magical shields and armour are not damaged by this
attack.
Rank 1: Iron Blow
Type: Physical.
Rank 4: Warrior’s Might Prerequisites: Brawl 2.
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Strength 4, Melee 4. You have learnt to strike vital spots with precision. Your 165
unarmed attacks gain +1 Accuracy and you may choose to
You know how to make the most of your Strength, put- have them deal non-Subdual damage. You may also spend
ting even more force into the blow. Whenever you attack 1 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to add +2 to the damage of
with a two-handed weapon, you gain a bonus to damage the next unarmed attack you make this Turn.
equal to your Strength and this stacks with Fierce Blow.
Furthermore, when you activate Fierce Blow your attack
also gains +2 AP and your Damage Tests Cascade on a 9 or
Rank 2: Staggering Strike
Type: Physical.
10 instead of just a 10.
Prerequisites: Brawl 2, Strength 2.

Rank 5: Sundering Divide With a series of quick strikes, you knock your opponent back
and cause them to stumble. Your unarmed attacks now deal
Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Melee 5, Strength 5. an extra die of damage, increasing them to 2d/+Strength.
You may still choose to deal Subdual damage if you wish.
With a mighty swing you bring your weapon down vertical-
ly, parting first the air and then all that stands before you. If you cause damage with an unarmed attack, you may
spend 2 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to stagger your
Spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to make a Sun- target, knocking them back 1 metre/yard, reducing their
dering Divide attack. If it hits, it destroys any non-magical Initiative by 1, and causing them to lose their next Quick
armour and shield used by the target and then deals them Action.
damage normally.
If they don’t have a Quick Action they lose a Complex
Regardless of whether this attack hits (or whether there Action instead, unless they spend 3 Stamina to overcome
is even a target to be hit), a shock wave explodes away from this effect.
you along the path of your swing. It has a width of 5 me-
tres/yards and crosses a distance of 10 metres/yards almost If your attack deals no damage due to armour or other
instantly. Those caught within this area (including the origi- magical protection, this attack has no effect.
Rank 3: Claws of the Garl Rank 4: Adamant Fists
Type: Physical. Type: Physical, Magic, Pattern.
Prerequisites: Brawl 3, Strength 2. Prerequisites: Brawl 4, Strength 4.

You strike swiftly, raining down blows on your opponent Your hands become incredibly hard, your blows can crush
before they can recover. At the start of your Turn, you may bone and your open hands can deflect attacks as if they
spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action. If you do, then for the were made of steel.
rest of this Turn your unarmed attacks only count as Quick
Actions. You may spend 1 Stamina as a Free Action to activate
this Talent for 3 Rounds. While active, your unarmed at-
You have also learnt to deliver powerful stunning strikes tacks deal 3d/+Strength damage, have 3 AP, and count as
that knock most enemies unconscious in a single blow. magical weapons. Your hands and arms (up to your elbows)
Spend 1 Valour to make this attack as a Complex Action. also become indestructible; they can be used to deflect at-
It deals 5d/+20 (Subdual) damage, but you cannot convert tacks, granting you +1 Defence, and cannot be harmed by
this to non-Subdual damage. environmental effects. For example you could reach into a
pool of acid or lava without being harmed.

While this Talent is active, your unarmed attacks can also


harm Ephemeral creatures.

Rank 5: Hurricane Punch


Type: Physical, Magic, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Brawl 5, Strength 4, Focus 3.

Through focus and will, your slightest move creates waves


of force, and a thrown punch creates hurricane-force winds.

When you make an unarmed attack, you may spend 1


166 Stamina as a Reflexive Action to deliver an additional shock
wave to your target, knocking them back 3 metres/yards
and forcing them to make a Strength/+Strength roll or be
Knocked Prone.

You can also spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to


deliver a punch that creates a huge wave of force that flows
away from your fist in a 45º cone up to a distance of 100
metres/yards. All within the area suffer 5d/+Focus damage
and must make Strength/+Strength rolls at a -5 penalty or
be flung back to the end of the cone, falling Prone and tak-
ing an extra 1d/+0 damage from the fall. You may choose
to exclude a number of targets from this effect equal to
your Focus.

Buildings, trees, and other large objects within the area


are also severely damaged and may even be ripped from the
ground and sent flying at the GM’s discretion.

Unseen Strike
Group: Common.

A Talent most commonly used by assassins and cutthroats


who strike unseen in the dead of night. Such tactics are not
honourable, but they are effective.

This Talent can only be used with Small Weapons and


only in melee. Your target must also be unaware of your
location, either due to a successful Stealth roll, an ambush bleed using Hemorrhage, you apply the effect twice, caus-
situation, or because the target is blinded in some way. ing them to take 2d/+2 damage each Turn.

Rank 1: Hidden Strike Rank 5: Blade of the Void


Type: Physical. Type: Physical, Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Melee 2, Agility 3. Prerequisites: Melee 5, Agility 5.

After sneaking up on an opponent, you strike without them Even when confronted head on, you have a way to get the
even being aware of your presence, aiming at vital areas to upper hand. With an act of will, you slip through the Void,
cause the most harm. appearing behind your target and striking them before
they’ve had a chance to realise where you are.
You may spend 3 Stamina to make a Hidden Strike attack
as a Complex Action. If this attack hits, you gain 1 bonus You may spend 2 Valour as a Complex Action to teleport
die on the Damage Test, and all chosen dice are then dou- anywhere within 10 metres/yards. If you appear behind a
bled before adding any modifiers from Attributes and other target you may immediately make a Hidden Strike against
bonuses. them as a Free Action with no additional cost.

Rank 2: The Slender Blade


After using this ability, you must make a Void Taint Test
as if using Void Magic (see page 255).
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Melee 2, Agility 3.

You slide your blade between the gaps in your target’s ar-
mour, avoiding steel and finding soft flesh beneath. When
making a Hidden Strike you may spend 1 extra Stamina to
ignore your target’s AR. You must announce you are doing
so before making the Attack Roll, and this doesn’t work
against AR from magical sources.

You have also become quite adept at concealing a small


167
weapon on your person. It won’t be found even if you are
searched, and you may draw this weapon as a Free Action.

Rank 3: Hemorrhage
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Melee 3, Agility 3.

The damage dice chosen on your Hidden Strikes are now


tripled.

You can also aim your strike at a vein or artery, causing


your victim to begin bleeding. It’s not a quick death, but
it is a certain one. After dealing damage to a target with a
small weapon, you may spend 1 Valour to cause the tar-
get to begin bleeding, taking an extra 1d/+1 damage at the
start of each of their Turns. If a target is hit by multiple such
attacks, each one increases the bleeding damage dice by 1
and adds an extra +1 bonus (e.g. 2d/+2 damage after two
Hemorrhages, 3d/+3 after 3, and so on). This bleeding can
be stopped with the Medicine Skill.

Rank 4: Eviscerate
Type: Physical.
Prerequisites: Melee 4, Agility 4.

The damage dice for your Hidden Strikes are now quadru-
pled. You may re-roll any damage die that rolls a 1, but only
once per die. In addition, whenever you cause your target to
Magic Other forms of Radiation
The five Realms of magic are each represented by a Talent
divided into Ranks to indicate the different levels of profi- Although the Blaze is the source of all elec-
ciency. They work just like other Talents in every way, and tromagnetic radiation, including microwaves,
may be acquired as part of character creation or learnt by X-rays, and gamma rays, these forms of energy
spending XP. They have a Type and Prerequisites, and each are beyond the understanding of most Altaens
one provides different effects the user can create. Activating and thus beyond their control. Unless the spell
a Rank of magic works a little differently than Talents how- caster somehow acquires a modern understand-
ever; it is slower, often taking multiple Rounds to create a ing of particle physics they cannot use the Blaze
magical effect, and usually requires a Veilcraft/+Focus roll to transmit cell phone signals, see through walls,
to succeed. See page 236 for rules on spell casting. or give someone cancer. The Blaze does not con-
tain nuclear radiation and so radiation sickness

Blaze Magic cannot be caused by exposure to this Realm.

Group: Rare.

The Blaze is the source of all light and heat. It bleeds


through in places of high energy, creating the impression Rank 2: Conjure the Blaze
that a fire creates light and heat when in fact it just allows it Type: Magic, Blaze.
through from the Blaze. Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2.

Those who weaken the Veil to this Realm allow more No longer limited to small patches of light and darkness,
light and heat in, while strengthening it can shut light and you can now invoke the Blaze to create explosions of flame
heat out, even to the point of plunging a room into dark- and chilling shadows which freeze all within.
ness or freezing water solid.
The intensity of these effects are determined by the num-
The Blaze is one of the more dangerous Realms. Its ef- ber of DoS rolled.
168
fects are directly harmful, and when those who use it lose
control, the Surges it causes are also often destructive in na- Any fire created burns normally and may ignite combus-
ture. For this reason it is viewed with suspicion more than tible materials, creating secondary fires. See the table on the
any other Realm except the Void. following page for the amount of damage dealt to those
caught directly in the effect; secondary fires usually cause

Rank 1: Conduit of Light


less damage at the GM’s discretion.

Type: Magic, Blaze. Any ice created remains until the effect ends and then
Prerequisites: Focus 2. melts based on the normal temperature in the area.

Twisting the Veil, you can control the world’s connection This Talent can also be used to put out fires: Subtract
to heat and light, creating small hot lights or pockets of the DoS rolled from those that would be needed to create
cold darkness. Light and heat flow through from the Blaze a similar-sized fire on the Heat/Light table. The new result
together, and altering one also alters the other. is the new size of the fire, and if the total DoS are reduced
to 0 the fire is extinguished. It’s not the cold putting out the
At this Rank the caster can create a small light just big fire, rather the fire diminishes and goes out as it is cut off
enough to fit in the palm of their hand, or extinguish a light from its source — the Blaze.
of similar size. Each DoS rolled allows the caster to increase
or decrease the Light Rating in the area by 1 (see page 250). Example: A caster tries to extinguish a huge bonfire (4 DoS). She
scores 3 DoS, reducing the size of the bonfire down to a small flame.
Any lights created are hot enough to ignite easily com-
bustible materials like paper, dry grass, or the wick of a can- Any fire, ice, light, or darkness created fills the area of
dle, and patches of darkness reduce heat in the area and can effect in its most natural form, however those with enough
extinguish lanterns, torches, and candles. Veilcraft to shape the radius could create walls of ice, letters
of fire that hang in the air, tendrils of darkness, and other
This effect can be focused on liquids to boil or freeze creatively shaped effects.
about a cup’s worth, and can be used in an offensive man-
ner to cause 1 damage per DoS each Round due to heat or The caster may always choose to apply fewer DoS than
inflict a -1 penalty to all Skill Tests due to cold. they rolled, so a caster who rolls 3 DoS can still choose to
use just 1 to light a small fire.
Heat/Light:
DoS Description Damage Heat Light
1 Small Fire 2d/+Focus -2 Cold Rating +2 Light Rating
2 Fireplace 3d/+Focus -3 Cold Rating +3 Light Rating
3 Large Bonfire 4d/+Focus -4 Cold Rating +4 Light Rating
4 Huge Bonfire 5d/+Focus -5 Cold Rating +5 Light Rating
5+ Raging Inferno 6d/+Focus -6 Cold Rating +6 Light Rating

Cold/Darkness:
DoS Description Cold Darkness
1 Winter Night +2 Cold Rating -2 Light Rating
2 Pitch-Black and Chilly +3 Cold Rating -3 Light Rating
3 Frozen Wastes +4 Cold Rating -4 Light Rating
4 Deadly Cold +5 Cold Rating -5 Light Rating
5+ Icy Abyss +6 Cold Rating -6 Light Rating

For the effects of cold, see page 249. Light and darkness are described on page 250.

Sever the Blaze: One fire or light source in the very


ØØ

Rank 3: Opening Light centre of the effect can be extinguished no matter how
Type: Magic, Blaze. intense it is, or a Blaze rift can be closed. One target at
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 3. the very centre of the effect is encased in ice and cannot
take any physical action each Turn other than to try and
You can now be selective about which parts of the Blaze to escape with a successful Strength/+Strength Test. They
affect: You can allow in light but no heat, or create darkness also suffer the effects of 5 DoS on the Cold/Darkness
169
that is hot. You can create flames that do not burn, ice that table so long as they remain at the centre.
emits light, and similar combinations. When using Conjure
the Blaze you may choose whether or not to include each Using either Blaze Rift or Sever the Blaze increases the
column from the Heat/Light and Cold/Darkness tables in Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase lasts a day.
your effect, with the following rules:

You may exclude columns completely or apply them at


ØØ

a lower level than the DoS you rolled.
The Damage column on the Heat/Light table only ap-
ØØ

plies if the Heat column is used.
The Heat column and Cold column cannot both be
ØØ

applied to the same effect.
The Light column and Darkness column cannot both
ØØ

be applied to the same effect.

You can also now sunder the Veil, allowing the Blaze to
flow in with its full intensity, or thicken it and cut off the
Blaze completely. When casting any Blaze spell, you may
also spend 1 Valour to cause one of these additional effects:

Blaze Rift: You create a human-sized rift into the Blaze


ØØ

in the very centre of the normal effect. If targeted on a
creature, they take damage each Round as if 5 DoS were
rolled on the Heat/Light table until they either escape
the area or perish. One person per Round could, in the-
ory, step through the rift into the Blaze but doing so is
almost certainly fatal unless they have some way to pro-
tect themselves from the extreme heat on the other side.
ing the DoS rolled when casting this spell. For example,
Rank 4: Inferno’s Shield you could choose to burn some enemies with heat, freeze
Type: Magic, Blaze. others with cold, and shield your allies, all at the same time.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4. You can apply any number of these effects to any number
of targets within the Round, but the same effect doesn’t
With practice comes fine control, and Blaze mages who stack on a target and the effects cannot contradict (you
reach this level of expertise are able to shift the flow of can’t apply light and darkness to the same target).
energy to protect them from harm.
You cannot apply Blaze Rift or Sever the Blaze unless
You shield people and objects within the area, protecting you also spend 2 Valour while casting this spell. If you do,
them from fire, ice, and light. A single DoS is enough to then these effects may also be applied to any targets as a
allow those affected to see normally even in blinding light Free Action. A target can only take damage from one of
or pitch darkness, reduces any penalties from cold by 1, and your Blaze effects each Round, regardless of how many dif-
reduces any damage from heat or fire by 10. At 2 DoS, your ferent effects you apply.
targets take 30 less damage from heat or fire and cannot
be frozen or affected by cold, and at 3 DoS your targets Using this spell increases the Surge Rating in the area by
become completely immune to all heat/cold and light/ 1, and this increase lasts a day.
darkness effects.

If 3 DoS are achieved, the targets can even survive in the Pattern Magic
Blaze itself and are unaffected by other forms of radiation
like the strange energies that infuse the Kingdom of Tears. Group: Rare.

When creating a rift with Opening Light, you can now Little is known about the Pattern itself since travel within
make the rift large enough for five people to walk through it is extremely difficult. It is the origin of the nuclear forces
at once, or to attack five people standing close together. that bind matter together and these forces are omnipresent
within the Realm. They leak through where matter in Altais
weakens the Veil, allowing subatomic particles to fuse into
atoms and atoms into more complex molecules.
170
Radiation Shielding Lowering the Veil intensifies the nuclear forces, causing
rapid state changes from gas to liquid and from liquid to
Although someone entering the Blaze is certainly solid. In a sense it “freezes” matter but without a change
exposed to a wide range of dangerous radiation, in temperature. With enough effort, even the air can be so-
most notably gamma and x-rays, being incinerat- lidified.
ed by the ambient heat is usually of greater con-
cern than the possibility they might get cancer Raising the Veil lowers the nuclear forces, converting sol-
years later. If GMs wish to feature cancer in their ids into liquids and liquids into gases.
story they can, but it’s not normally in theme
The Pattern is extremely versatile. It can be used to shape
with the magic of the Blaze.
matter to create objects for artistic purposes, or as an at-
With that in mind: spells and Talents that tack against the matter in someone’s body. By carefully ma-
grant someone resistance or immunity to heat or nipulating the Veil to slowly soften and harden parts of an
fire also grant a similar resistance or immunity to object, the caster can shape even the densest of substances
other dangerous forms of radiation. like clay although this can take some time. This doesn’t nec-
essarily allow the caster to create works of art — they may
be able to meld marble with their hands but they still need
to be a talented sculptor to produce a result that will be
admired by others.
Rank 5: Dominion of Flame Pattern Magic can also be used to compress solids, mak-
Type: Magic, Blaze. ing them denser and stronger in the process, and this tech-
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5. nique was used to create the steel buildings in the Kingdom
of Rust and the glass ones in Meharavia.
Within the area of effect, Altais and the Blaze begin to
bleed together. The two Realms become one and you can Although Pattern Magic can alter the state of matter, it
precisely control the heat and light at every point. can’t change it to a different form of matter. Stone can be
made to run like water but it can’t actually be turned into
While this effect is active, you can choose to apply Blaze
water, likewise wood can be made as hard as metal but it
Magic to each object within the area as a Free Action, us-
remains wood and will still burn like wood.
Altering an object’s shape to be beautiful or function-
Rank 1: Sculptor’s Edge al requires an appropriate Artistry Test and takes a similar
Type: Magic, Pattern. amount of time to sculpting with clay. This can also be used
Prerequisites: Focus 2. to mend a broken item, removing all trace that it was ever
damaged.
By making subtle adjustments to the Veil, you can alter the
natural state of matter. At this Rank you can soften solids If used offensively, this spell causes 1 damage per Round,
enough to be sculpted by hand or strengthen them to pre- halves the target’s AR due to softening of their armour, and
vent them breaking. You can solidify liquids into a thick halves all damage they deal due to their weapons becoming
sludge that can be carefully picked up but remains squishy flimsy. Alternatively it can be used to solidify matter, also
and fragile, or cause thick liquids like syrup to run like wa- causing 1 damage per Round, but increasing the AR of each
ter. Once this effect ends, the material returns to its natural piece of armour and the AP of their weapon by 1.
state but solids retain any new shape they were given.

Altering the shape of a solid requires physical sculpting. Rank 2: Touch of the Sublime
A caster could soften a wall from a distance and sections of Type: Magic, Pattern.
it might start to droop and break under its own weight, but Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2.
without someone walking over and moving the softened
Able to bend the Veil more, you can now alter the state of
stone around this effect wouldn’t create a nicely-shaped
matter completely. You can now change matter from one
doorway.
state to another, turning solids to liquids and liquids to gas
Anyone can perform the sculpting; the affected matter is or vice versa. For the purposes of this spell, the states of
as soft as clay and can be shaped easily. matter are Solid, Liquid, and Gas. Plasma and other more
exotic states cannot be created or affected.

The effectiveness of this change is based on the DoS


rolled:

DoS Time Damage


1 5 Rounds 1d/-1*
171
2 2 Rounds 1d/+Focus
3 1 Round 2d/+Focus
4 Instant 3d/+Focus
5+ Instant 4d/+Focus

Time: How long it takes for inanimate objects to un-


dergo one change in state. If the spell duration ends be-
fore this occurs, the caster may continue their progress
by casting the spell again.

Damage: The amount of damage those caught within


the effect take each Round. For living creatures, the state
change is complete if they are killed by this damage.
*Minimum of 1 damage.

The caster can choose to stop at just one state change (e.g.
from solid to liquid), or can choose to continue through a
second state change (for example changing the now liquid
to gas); this simply takes the listed time again.

Some substances can be very toxic if turned to gas and


inhaled. The effects of this are left up to the GM but the
section on Poisons could be a good guide (see page 234).

With two state changes, the caster can make an Ephem-


eral creature solid, taking away their normal resistance to
physical damage.
Using either Pattern Rift or Sever the Pattern increases
Rank 3: Mastery Over Matter the Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase lasts a
Type: Magic, Pattern. day.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 3.

At this level you can now imbue an item with permanent Rank 4: Artisan’s Shield
changes through slow and careful alterations. This requires Type: Magic, Pattern.
a great deal of skill and knowledge about the crafting of Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4.
such items, and each alteration requires a successful Skill
You can now create protective shields that stabilise the in-
Test using an appropriate Artistry Skill (e.g. Blacksmithing).
fluence of the Pattern, preventing effects that would change
Fragile items like glass can be made stronger than steel, an object’s state and thereby reducing the effectiveness of
flexible materials can be made rigid and unyielding, and Pattern Magic.
structures can be reinforced or weakened.
Anything within the shield is immune to natural state
To make these changes, the caster actually reworks the changes caused by external sources: Liquids cannot be
object with their hands and tools, adding in new materials boiled, evaporated, or frozen; solids do not melt; gases do
and compressing them with Pattern, shifting its weight, bal- not condense. This doesn’t prevent them changing temper-
ance, and even shape. An item can only have one of these ature: water can still be made hot enough to scald, it just
alterations at a time: adding another replaces the first. Each doesn’t boil. Your DoS when casting this shield are also
alteration takes a week to make, reduced by a day for every subtracted from any Pattern effect used against those pro-
DoS rolled on the Artistry Test. tected by this shield, and at 3 DoS you can survive in the
Pattern without being solidified and can move through its
Weapons solid matter as if it were insubstantial.
ØØ+2 AP.
  When using Mastery Over Matter to improve an item,
172 ØØDamage dice increased by 1.
  you can now give it two alterations at the same time, al-
ØØ+2 Accuracy.
  though it cannot have the same one twice. Any item with
two alterations also counts as magical and weapons can
Armour harm Ephemeral creatures like lucents and the Rephaim.
ØØ+2 AR.
  These items also cannot be broken by non-magical means.
ØØSkill penalty reduced by 3.
  Your finesse with the energy of the Pattern now allows
ØØSpeed penalty reduced by 1.
  you to shape the objects you are affecting without touching
Shields them. Crude changes at a distance are quick and easy, but
Defence bonus increased by 1. when attempting to make a beautiful or functional item you
ØØ  suffer a -5 penalty on the Artistry Test and it still takes the
ØØSkill penalty reduced by 3.
  same time as it would to sculpt it with your hands.
In addition, when casting Touch of the Sublime, you can When opening a rift to the Pattern, you can now choose
spend 1 Valour to add one of the following effects: to make it wide enough for five people to enter at once, and
you can choose to prevent it leaking energy so that it deals
Pattern Rift: You create a human-sized rift in the centre
ØØ
  no harm to those standing near the rift.
of the effect, solidifying anyone standing where it opens.
They suffer damage from Touch of the Sublime as if 4
DoS were rolled, and they are trapped and Defenceless Rank 5: Transmutation
(see page 231) as the air solidifies around them. They Type: Magic, Pattern.
may attempt to escape by making a Strength/+Strength Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5.
Test as a Complex Action.
You no longer suffer any penalty to the Artistry Test when
Sever the Pattern: The Pattern is completely cut off in
ØØ
  sculpting items from a distance, and even complicated
the centre of the effect and one target standing there items or works of art can be created quickly based on the
begins to disintegrate. They suffer the damage from DoS you roll.
Touch of the Sublime as if 5 DoS were rolled, and all
their non-magical items are destroyed. Relics may sur-
vive by resisting the effect (see page 258).
DoS Time There are a few features of the Tempest that make it par-
ticularly unusual. Gravity is far stronger within — hundreds
1 3 Rounds
of times stronger — but unlike on Altais it isn’t connect-
2 2 Rounds ed to physical matter, it permeates the space evenly, pull-
3+ 1 Round ing equally in all directions and cancelling itself out. This
leaves any solid matter within the Tempest floating in free-
However the most impressive feat of Pattern is the ability fall. Matter in Altais pulls on the Veil and allows some of
to rearrange a substance at the molecular level. If you spend this force through, creating the appearance that gravity is
2 Valour while casting this effect, you can cause all objects a property of matter. When mages influence the Veil, they
within the affected area to undergo a complete and instant can allow more of the gravity in from the Tempest, or deny
transformation. You can alter both form and substance al- it completely.
lowing you to turn a chair into a sword, a glass chandelier
into wine, or lead into gold. You may even use the air to Another unusual feature of the Tempest is that all the
create an object, giving the appearance that it was created matter within often has a very high electrical charge which
from nothing. This transformation is permanent and ob- fluctuates wildly from place to place. Pockets of relative sta-
jects changed to liquids or gases do not revert to their for- bility form and can last for years only to break apart into
mer state once the spell ends. You still require an Artistry chaotic electrical storms as they collide with another pocket
Test to determine the quality of the items created. of differing charge. If the Veil is weakened enough, these
charged particles can rush into the world, arcing as a light-
You cannot use this to create life or change one living ning bolt to strike anything nearby.
thing into another, mostly because the Altaen people have a
poor understanding of biology, and attempts to do so pro- Despite the potentially volatile nature of the Tempest,
duce horrifying lumps of organic sludge that quickly perish. travel within is possible if dangerous. In addition to the
Any attempt to use this power on a living creature, whether chaotic storms, the Tempest is home to native life forms
to turn them into another living creature, create an object made of charged energy called lucents. They seek out other
inside them, or turn them into something inanimate, causes sources of energy to feed on and can drain the heat out of
5d/+Focus damage each Round that they stay inside the ef- a human being.
fect. If they are killed, then the transformation is complete.

Using this spell increases the Surge Rating in the area by Rank 1: The Air’s Embrace 173
1, and this increase lasts a day. Type: Magic, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Focus 2.

Tempest Magic Manipulating the Veil allows you to control the amount of
gravity in the area. This can be used to fly (albeit clumsily)
Group: Rare. or as a weapon to crush enemies.

The Tempest is the Realm of storms and gravity, and be- By lowering the Veil you can increase the gravity in a
fore the Fall masters of Tempest Magic used its influence location to either pull an object in that direction or to crush
to make entire cities fly through the sky. It is filled with a someone standing there, and by raising the Veil you can cut
breathable atmosphere, denser than on Altais; the pressure gravity off and float. With a single spell, a caster can bend
difference is noticeable but not dangerously so. the Veil enough to levitate small objects and achieve limited
flight.
There is no ground in the conventional sense but there
is other matter, mostly chunks of rock drifting randomly
through the space. Some of these chunks are so large that
they could be walked upon, and there are stories that ex-
plorers have found ancient ruins on some of them.
To work out whether the caster can levitate an object, Alternatively you can generate even stronger gravitation-
compare their Focus to the following table: al fields to crush people in the affected area, dealing dam-
age and reducing their Speed based on the DoS rolled:
Focus Examples
1 Dagger, cup, book. DoS Speed Penalty Damage
2 Sword, chair, shield, small animal. 1 -2 1d/-3* (Subdual)
3+ Adult human, large table, small wagon. 2 -3 1d/+0 (Subdual)
3+ -4 1d/+Focus (Subdual)
All levitated objects are moved 1 metre/yard in the cho-
sen direction and keep their new position so long as the * Minimum 1 damage.
spell lasts, after which normal gravity reasserts itself and the
object may fall, bounce, or roll. While the spell is in effect,
the caster can use a Complex Action on subsequent Turns
Rank 3: Embrace the Storm
Type: Magic, Tempest.
to move the objects again in the same manner, potentially
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 3.
even giving themselves or others a slow and clumsy form
of flight. You can now call forth a burst of lightning from the
Tempest. It fills the target area, arcing in through the Veil
You can also increase gravity, which reduces the Speed
to strike everything within the area of effect and dealing
of all creatures in the area by 2. If you achieve 2 or more
damage based on the DoS:
DoS it also causes 1 damage per Round as they are slowly
crushed.
Lightning
DoS Damage
Rank 2: Flight of Thoughts 1 1d/+Focus
Type: Magic, Tempest.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2. 2 2d/+Focus
3+ 3d/+Focus
By twisting the Veil further, you can now achieve rapid and
agile flight, throw enemies and objects around with only a Your manipulation of gravity is also faster and more pre-
174 thought, or crush your enemies with gravity. cise, and when using Flight of Thoughts to fly or levitate
you can double the distances moved. You may also choose
This levitation works just like the Air’s Embrace except to add your DoS as a bonus to your Defence (or the De-
you can now affect even larger objects and move them fence of someone you’re moving).
more swiftly, based on the DoS rolled:
Also, while using Flight of Thoughts you may spend 1
DoS Move Max Weight Impact Damage Valour to create one of the following additional effects:
1 5 Medium creatures. None Tempest Rift: You create a human-sized rift to the Tem-
ØØ

2 10 Large creatures. 1 (Subdual) pest in the centre of the effect. If a target is standing in
3 20 Huge creatures. 1d/+Focus (Subdual) that location, they are enveloped in electricity and takes
4 30 Gigantic creatures. 2d/+Focus (Subdual) 3d/+Focus damage. The increased gravity on the oth-
er side begins flowing in and all creatures in the area
5+ 50 Gigantic creatures. 3d/+Focus
of effect slide 4 metres/yards towards the rift at the
Move: How far the targets can be moved each Round in start of each Turn unless they can anchor themselves
metres/yards. and succeed in a Strength/+Strength Test. One person
per Round can pass through the rift but they also take
Max Weight: Examples of the maximum weight that can 3d/+5 damage as they do so. Returning also causes a
be lifted. similar amount of damage as the electrical charges once
again equalise. Those who survive the journey find they
Impact Damage: If this power is used to throw objects or are freely floating in the Tempest.
creatures around, they may take the listed damage if they
collide with something. Sever the Tempest: All within the area float aimlessly as
ØØ

gravity is cut off. Unless they have something to push
If you are levitating multiple items or creatures, you may off from, they cannot control their movement and will
move them all as one in the same direction and at the same simply drift 1 metre/yard per Round. If this effect is
speed, or you may choose to move a number of them up to centred on a creature, they are cut off from the Tempest
your Focus in different directions. It still requires a Com- completely and take 1d/+0 damage and lose 1 point of
plex Action each Turn to continue moving objects in this Mind each Round until they pass out due to the elec-
way. trical signals in their brain and nervous system being
disrupted. Other sources of electricity on the target are The summoned lucent’s size is based on the DoS rolled:
also disabled, although such things are rare on Altais.
This causes most relics and remnants to cease to func- DoS Size Starting Health
tion, although they usually recover once the effect ends. 1 Small 30
Anyone who survives this effect regains the lost points 2 Medium 50
of Mind at a rate of 1 per minute.
3 Large 80
Using either Tempest Rift or Sever the Tempest increases 4 Huge 200
the Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase lasts a 5+ Gigantic 400
day.
Using this Rank, you can also banish a lucent back to the
Rank 4: Lucent’s Thunder Tempest. A single DoS is enough to remove a free Lucent,
but those that have fettered themselves into a physical host
Type: Magic, Tempest.
are more difficult to get rid of, requiring the same DoS it
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4.
would have taken to summon a Lucent of that size.
Altering the electrical charge, you draw a lucent to the area
Finally when using Flight of Thoughts to make objects
and let it in with a sudden burst of lightning. All within the
levitate, you gain one bonus DoS on any successful cast-
area take 3d/+Focus damage as lightning strikes, and at the
ing, allowing you to levitate even larger objects with greater
centre of the impact a lucent appears from the Tempest. It
speed and grace.
attacks the closest creature, and although it cannot be di-
rectly controlled it can be lured around with further bursts
of lightning or other sources of energy.

175
Rank 5: Singularity The most dangerous property of the Void, however, is
Type: Magic, Tempest. that long-term exposure begins to change people. The radi-
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5. ation causes a cancerous sickness in those exposed for too
long, which spreads fairly rapidly. Those contaminated by
With just a single DoS, you can now force a lucent that is al- this Void Taint find their physical body gradually becom-
ready present to fetter inside a specific target, free one from ing insubstantial as it shifts closer and closer to the Void.
its current host, or move one from one host to another. Eventually the sickness reaches the mind and their brain
Each host can only contain one lucent at a time. becomes little more than an empty husk for the Rephaim’s
will.
You can also shield yourself and others from the Tem-
pest. With 1 DoS targets take 10 less damage from lightning Lowering the Veil causes space to distort, disorienting
and the attacks of lucents, with 2 DoS they take 20 less, and those in the area but allowing rapid movement over great
with 3 DoS they are completely immune to all lightning and distances; while raising the Veil stretches space, making it
cannot be affected by lucents at all. more difficult to cross.
Finally you can spend 2 Valour to create an area of in- A side effect of the Void’s unusual reaction to electri-
tense gravitational force that pulls in everything around cal energy is that any large electrical effect (such as a light-
it or repels everything. Specify which of these two effects ning bolt) causes tidal waves within. These currents can
you intend to create and the centre of the spell’s radius be- be strong enough to sweep people away and completely
comes the focus of this force. Everything within the radius overwhelm any psychically-attuned creatures such as the
is lifted and either pulled into the centre or pushed away to Rephaim. These disturbances often persist for hours af-
the outer edge at incredible speed, crossing the distance in terwards, making any attempts to read minds in the area
less than a Round. Those pulled in take 5d/+Focus dam- impossible.
age from the initial impact and are crushed together. Their
Speed is reduced to 0 and they lose all Agility and Talent Using Void Magic or being exposed to its energies may
bonuses to Defence for the duration of the spell. Those require a Taint Test to avoid becoming increasingly Tainted
flung away take the same damage and are Knocked Prone. (see page 255).
Anyone entering the area of effect on subsequent Turns
176 suffers the same fate.
Rank 1: Ripples of the Mind
Using this spell increases the Surge Rating in the area by Type: Magic, Void.
1, and this increase lasts a day. Prerequisites: Focus 2.

By weakening the Veil, the caster makes all within the area
Void Magic of effect sensitive to the ripples in the Void created by the
presence of thinking creatures. Those within the effect be-
Group: Rare. come aware of the number and vague locations of all minds
within a radius of 25 metres/yards per DoS rolled. They
The Void poses the biggest threat to life on Altais and so can tell the difference between sentient minds and animals,
most avoid tampering with it. Space within the Void is and between large animals and small animals (although not
very unusual, often defying easy classification. It swirls and the specific species). Vaelyth minds feel the same as human
twists with shades of purple and black. It doesn’t contain an ones, but Rephaim stand out very clearly — the song of the
atmosphere but is filled with an exotic form of the energy hive mind is easy to detect. Insects, plants, and other life
so “thick” that anyone there can “swim” through it as if it forms without complex minds are not detectable.
were water. Space within the Void is extremely compressed
and it can be used to cross large distances in Altais very Anyone attempting to keep their mind hidden from this
quickly; in fact, humanity once used it to travel between power needs to roll Subterfuge/+Focus in a Contested Test
the stars. against the casting roll. They can only do so if they remain
more than 5 metres/yards away from an observer; any clos-
There is no native matter in the Void, only things that er and their presence becomes obvious.
people bring in with them, although the Rephaim have
made it their home and have built hives and worse within. By strengthening the Veil, the caster can reduce how
One of the most unusual properties of the Void, and one strongly the minds within the area impact on the Void and
of the least well-understood, is that the energies of the Void make them invisible to the above effect. Each DoS rolled
vibrate in the presence of sentient minds, reacting to the on the casting adds a +5 bonus to the result of the Subter-
electrical energy within. These vibrations can be sensed by fuge/+Focus roll, and this even allows them to go unde-
others nearby, allowing thoughts and emotions to travel be- tected up close.
tween people in close proximity.
Void Magic can also be used to distort space, which is cus roll to determine who the thoughts came from. The
extremely disorientating for those trying to act within the thoughts of animals can also be perceived, but tend to be
area. You may cause all within the area to suffer a penalty framed as emotional and instinctive needs rather than as
on all Skill Tests equal to the DoS rolled. words or complex concepts.

Rank 2: Thoughts Within Space


Your control of space has also increased and you can
now compress or stretch space to hinder or aid movement.
Type: Magic, Void. You may grant all targets within the area a bonus or penalty
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2. to their Speed equal to the DoS rolled.
When using Ripples of the Mind, those in the effect can
now read the surface thoughts of any mind within range. Rank 3: Into the Void
The amount of information gained is based on the DoS Type: Magic, Void.
rolled. Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 3.

With one DoS you can sense the emotional states of all Opening a rift into the Void can allow you to travel great
within range and tell whether they are angry, upset, hap- distances in a matter of moments but comes with incredible
py, and so on. With two you can determine general surface dangers — not only of Void Taint, but also of being noticed
thoughts, who they are currently thinking about, and short by the Rephaim.
term intentions; for example you could sense that they plan
to kill the Baron but not how or when they will do it. With When using Ripples of the Mind, you can choose to al-
three or more DoS they are an open book and all their cur- low those affected to influence the minds they can sense
rent thoughts are available. You can’t sense anything the tar- around them. To do this, they make an Intimidation/+Fo-
get isn’t immediately thinking about, although conversation cus roll as a Complex Action. Controlling someone’s mind
and social Skills could be used to guide the target’s mind to is hard, and any attempted forced action must be immedi-
a specific subject. ate; you can’t implant a delayed suggestion or tell someone
to wait 10 minutes and then perform an action. The DoS
When in a large crowd of people, reading thoughts and rolled determine how effective the control is.
emotions becomes very confusing. You might for exam-
ple detect that someone in a large crowd has murderous Rolling one DoS allows you to make a small change to
thoughts, but would need to make a Perception/+Fo- the target’s emotions. You can change aggravation to an- 177
Rank 4: Folding the Whole
ger, happiness to overwhelming joy, and similar. You can Type: Magic, Void.
force someone to take a simple and inconsequential Free Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4.
Action, such as letting go of something they are holding
or speaking a few words. This cannot force someone to do Space is also now yours to command, and you can fold it to
something dangerous. remove things from the scene for the duration of the effect.
Everything within the area of effect is folded into a pock-
Two DoS allows you to calm someone who is in a strong et of space and ceases to be part of the area. If you have
emotional state, making them relaxed and neutral, or turn enough Veilcraft to exclude targets then you can choose
someone in such a state towards any strong emotion. You which objects get folded into the pocket and which don’t.
can now force someone to take any Quick Action. All affected objects and the space containing them effec-
tively cease to exist for those outside:
With three DoS you can turn any emotion into any other
emotion, and you can force someone to take a Complex Walls are no longer present to block the way.
ØØ

Action of your choice.
Creatures are not there to attack or be attacked.
ØØ

In addition, when using Thoughts Within Space, you A giant pit would no longer block the way and could be
ØØ

may spend 1 Valour to create one of the following effects: stepped past easily.
Void Rift: A human-sized rift into the Void opens in the
ØØ
  Any removed space doesn’t use up part of the charac-
ØØ

centre of the area which one person can pass through ter’s movement.
each Round. Travel is possible in both directions and
a rift left open could allow the Rephaim to enter the For example if a character removes a 10 metre/yard
world. Space within the Void is highly compressed — patch of ground and the wall it contained, they could move
someone who enters at one location, takes a step, and from one side of that area to the other in a single step. The
178 then opens a new rift to exit could find themselves over space within no longer exists and cannot be seen or walked
the other side of Altais, or worse: inside a mountain. into, it’s simply skipped over.
Those who step through are also exposed to Void Taint Everything within the pocket space becomes another lo-
and even those standing near the rift may have to make cation: if multiple creatures are folded in together they can
a Taint Test (see page 255). still interact and affect each other normally, they can still
Sever the Void: One target within the centre of the ef-
ØØ
  move around inside the pocket space and see everything
fect is cut off from the Void completely. This makes that’s been folded in with them, however the space seems
the target immune to all Void Magic and prevents them to confusingly fold back on itself at the edges and it’s im-
gaining Taint unless they use Void Magic themselves. possible to leave until the spell ends. Anyone attempting to
This can help those who have been Tainted but not yet walk out of the area just finds themselves walking back in
consumed by the Void recover (see page 257). This can where they left.
also be used to cut a Vaelyth off from their masters, and
when used on a Rephaim the effects are even more dire. Alternatively you can thicken the Veil, stretching space
Lesser Rephaim cut off from the Void take 3d/+0 dam- out and making it all but impassable. Every point in the area
age per Round, are disconnected from the hive mind, of effect becomes a huge distance from any other point.
and can no longer use Void Magic. Greater Rephaim Each object remains intact but the space around them be-
don’t take the damage but are otherwise similarly affect- comes immense. A character within the area could still walk
ed. In addition the entire area of effect no longer caus- around but would never reach their destination and another
es Void Taint regardless of how tainted it was to begin character attempting to attack them would find their sword
with, although the Taint returns when the spell ends. takes forever to pass through the space between them and
never arrives. Those within the spell radius can continue
Using either Void Rift or Sever the Void increases the to affect themselves and anything they were carrying when
Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase lasts a day. the spell began but they cannot move to a new location or
affect anything else in any way, nor can they be affected in
any way.

When the spell ends those within the effect can begin
acting normally. Note that attacks cannot be queued up
against those within the effect as their precise location can- cantly faster there. It is possible to enter the Wild, spend
not be determined. Space is not what it appears. three weeks travelling, and exit to find that only a few sec-
onds have passed on Altais. This made it useful for those
You can also use this Rank to enter or escape from pock- who needed to journey long distances in a hurry, and travel
et spaces or expanded spaces, including those created by through it became very common.
others or by Surges, relics, or other effects.
Soon life began to appear in the Wild. Seeds were carried
Finally, you can shield yourself and others from the Void, in clinging to traveller’s shoes, and animals entered through
preventing Taint even while travelling through the Realm permanent gates that had been set up to make travel easier.
itself, and making all those affected immune to Void Magic. In the thousand or so years that have passed on Altais since
Anyone under this effect can also breathe while in the Void the Fall, millions have passed within the Wild. From a few
as if there were air. seeds and stray animals an entire ecosystem has grown and
spread. The Wild has become a dangerous place filled with
Using this spell increases the Surge Rating in the area by
megaflora and strange beasts, and travel within is now a
1, and this increase lasts a day.
very risky idea.

Rank 5: Hive Mind As the Veil is weakened, time flows into the world faster
and things begin to speed up. Strengthening the Veil has
Type: Magic, Void.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5. the opposite effect, reducing time and slowing everything
down. This alters time directly, rather than changing the
The Void itself is yours to control and even the Rephaim velocity of an object. A sword slowed down still hits with
cannot match your mastery of this Realm. all the force it normally possesses, in fact it’s still moving
at the same speed: it’s time that has slowed, not the blade.
You can link the minds of multiple people together to
create your own hive mind. Those affected can communi-
cate telepathically over any distance, even if they move out-
side the area of the spell. You can also use this to listen in
on other hive minds, including that of the Rephaim. Listen-
ing to their thoughts is not a pleasant experience, but while
doing so you can make a Subterfuge/+Mind test as a Com- 179
plex Action and for each DoS you achieve you can give one
order to one Lesser Rephaim and they will obey. However
this risks drawing the attention of the Greater Rephaim.

The final effect costs 2 Valour and allows you to pull


the substance of the Void together to create a simulacrum
of a Lesser Rephaim. Although not truly one of them, this
imitation has all the same stats and abilities as the Lesser
Rephaim except that it is not limited to staying in Tainted
areas and takes no damage from being away from the Void.
It is connected to your mind rather than the Rephaim hive
mind and will loyally obey your mental commands over any
distance. You can also choose to percieve through its senses
as a Quick Action. If killed, or when the spell ends, this
creature melts back into the Void-stuff from which it was
formed.

Wild Magic
Group: Rare.

Of all the other Realms, the Wild is the most well-travelled.


Its environment is similar to that of Altais. There is solid
ground, a breathable atmosphere, and similar gravity. The
most unusual property of the Wild is time.

Some think that time originates in the Wild and leaks


through into other Realms; certainly it flows signifi-
DoS Initiative Accuracy Defence Speed
When people are sped up, they still perceive themselves 1 +4 or -4 — — +1 or -1
as moving at normal speed and it’s the rest of the world that 2 +4 or -4 +1 or -1 +1 or -1 +1 or -1
appears to slow down. When people are slowed, they see 3 +6 or -6 +2 or -2 +2 or -2 +2 or -2
the rest of the world speeding up. Individuals who are fro- 4 +8 or -8 +3 or -3 +3 or -3 +3 or -3
zen in time are not aware of their surroundings at all while
the effect lasts and cannot take any action, but they also 5+ +10 or -10 +5 or -5 +5 or -5 +5 or -5
cannot be harmed since any blows against them are unable Touch of the Wild cannot be stacked with this spell.
to impart any energy to their bodies which are locked in a
moment of stasis.
Rank 3: Verdant Step
Despite this Realm being one of the more commonly Type: Magic, Wild.
used, there is one limitation that seems to be immutable: Prerequisites: Veilcraft 3, Focus 3.
Time can never run backwards. It can speed up, slow down,
and even be brought to a stop (or so close to it that you No longer limited to bending the Veil, you open it com-
can’t tell the difference), but it never runs in reverse. pletely for just an instant and slip into the Wild, or close it
off completely to bring time to a stop.
Rank 1: Touch of the Wild When using Gift of the Moment, you may now increase
Type: Magic, Wild. (or decrease) the actions of those affected even further.
Prerequisites: Focus 2. Characters sped up gain an extra Complex Action every
second Round instead of the Quick Action normally grant-
You can bend the Veil, altering the flow of time slightly so ed, while those slowed down lose their Complex Action
that objects appear to speed up or slow down. instead of their Quick every second Round. Slowed char-
For each DoS rolled, you can halve or double the ap- acters may spend 3 Stamina to regain their lost Complex
parent speed of affected objects. This doesn’t change how Action for a Round.
much damage a moving object deals when it hits but may In addition, when using Gift of the Moment you may
180
allow characters to avoid certain hazards at the GM’s dis- spend 1 Valour to create one of the following effects:
cretion, for example it’s a lot easier to get out from under a
falling boulder when it’s slowed to a crawl. Wild Rift: A human-sized rift into the Wild opens at
ØØ

the centre of the effect and one human-sized target
In combat, targets sped up gain a +3 bonus to Initiative may fall through. The rift is wide enough for one per-
and +1 Speed, while those slowed down suffer a -3 penalty son to enter or exit per Round and travel is possible
to Initiative and a -1 penalty to Speed. in both directions, so things from the Wild may begin
to come through if left open for too long. Time in the
Rank 2: Gift of the Moment Wild moves much faster than it does outside, and any-
Type: Magic, Wild. one spending time within could re-emerge and find that
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 2, Focus 2. no time outside has passed at all.
Sever the Wild: A single target at the centre of the effect
ØØ

Bending the Veil, you can alter time even further, granting
is frozen in time as their connection to the Wild is sev-
people an incredible boost of speed or slowing them almost
ered completely. They cannot take any action until the
to a stop.
effect ends and are not aware of anything that happens
Those affected by this spell gain bonuses or penalties to while they are held in stasis. The affected target cannot
Initiative, Speed, Attack and Defence based on the DoS be harmed or moved, and in fact their body is com-
rolled. They gain all bonuses (if sped up) or all penalties (if pletely invulnerable due to being locked in a moment
slowed), you cannot give someone a bonus to their Attack of stasis. Even the air around them becomes effective-
but a penalty to their Defence. ly solid, unable to move out of the way of other ob-
jects. For example an arrow fired at them would simply
So long as you achieve at least one DoS you can also bounce off the solid air around them since it is unable
give your targets a bonus Quick Action if they are sped up. to move out of the way of the arrow’s flight.
When slowing targets down you may cause them to lose a
Quick Action unless they spend 1 Stamina each Round to Using either Wild Rift or Sever the Wild increases the
continue acting normally. Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase lasts a day.
Rank 4: Time’s Retribution Rank 5: Second Chance
Type: Magic, Wild. Type: Magic, Wild.
Prerequisites: Veilcraft 4, Focus 4. Prerequisites: Veilcraft 5, Focus 5.

With fine control you can speed up or slow down different When using Gift of the Moment, you can alter the flow
parts of a creature separately, causing them to take damage of time even further: Those sped up gain an additional
as their muscles rip with every movement. The damage they Complex Action each Round instead of a Quick Action,
take is based on the DoS rolled: while those slowed lose their Complex Action unless they
spend 3 Stamina.
DoS Damage Damage Per Action Skill Penalty
When using Sever the Wild, you may now apply the stasis
1 1d/-4* 2 -1
effect to the entire area, freezing the whole location in time.
2 1d/+Focus 4 -2 Nothing inside the area can take any action and nothing
3+ 2d/+Focus 6 -3 outside can affect the area in any way.
Damage: The targets take this damage when the spell is By far the most significant manipulation however is to
cast and again each Round on your Turn if they remain in break the most fundamental rule of the Wild: that time nev-
the effect. *Minimum damage is 1. er flows backwards. By spending 2 Valour and succeeding
in a casting roll, the caster can cause time to reverse for one
Damage Per Action: The targets take this additional Round per DoS rolled. Everything within the effect is re-
damage each time they take an Action, even for Free and verted to its previous state, injuries are undone, and objects
Reflexive Actions. They may choose to take no Actions on and creatures return to their previous location. Objects out-
their Turn to avoid this damage. side the area are unaffected, which can lead to some unu-
Skill Penalty: The targets suffer this penalty to all Skill sual paradoxes: An arrow fired at a soldier outside the area
Tests due to the pain of moving as their muscles rip each does not return, even though the archer never fired it, while
other apart. one that was fired into the area is reversed back to the point
it entered the area and then resumes its flight, possibly in-
You can also shield against these effects, protecting some- juring someone all over again.
one from changes to the flow of time. 1 DoS is enough to 181
prevent them gaining or losing Actions due to changes in Minds are unaffected by this spell and everyone both in-
time. 2 DoS halves any bonuses or penalties to Initiative, side and outside the area still remembers everything that
Attack Rolls, Defence, and Speed from Wild effects (round happened before time was reversed. Using this spell in-
down). 3 or more DoS makes the target immune to Wild creases the Surge Rating in the area by 1, and this increase
Magic completely. lasts a day.

When using Wild Rift, you can now create a gate wide
enough for five people to enter at a time.
When you purchase this Blessing, choose a Skill other

Celestial Blessings
than Melee, Ranged, Brawl, or Veilcraft. Once chosen it
cannot be changed. All Tests you make that use this Skill
Cascade on a roll of 9