Introduction: After London
The World After London
The Kingdom of England
England, as it stands covers the Home Counties extending west to the West Country and north to the Midlands. Part of the strength of the Kingdom comes for the vast areas of fertile arable land that covers most of England.
Key Cities: London, Nottingham, Southampton, Coventry, Canterbury
The Royal Family
King Mark, now in his 60th year (41 of which have been on the throne), had been a positive stabilising force in Britain as a whole. His father had been feeble minded and lead by his generals (mostly from Mercia). When Mark took the throne he literally had to go war with these advisors to secure his right to rule. In the process of these wars, which took most of the first decade of his reign, he made many enemies but also won the respect of vast swathes of the population. He never sought war unnecessarily and made great efforts to ensure that the fallout from warfare harmed the population as little as possible. By supporting and giving validity to his father’s folly, the Order of the Lion, he won over many people – angry at the corrupt and selfish knighthood.
However, in the last three years, after a short period of comparative peace the King succumbed to what is apparently becoming a family susceptibility to weak mindedness. King Mark’s brother in law, Lord Lovell now manages much of the day to day responsibilities of the King. Lord Lovell is a man in his late forties but still in excellent health. He is over 6 foot tall (a relative rarity these days) and a skilled athletic warrior. He is considered a stern, pragmatic man who is deeply religious in a puritanical sense. Although unmarried, he is rumoured to have had several illegitimate children.
The Queen, who died in childbirth with Arran, was a popular figure and it is widely known that the King loved her dearly and her death hit him very hard but not so much that he lost focus on his children or position. The Queen’s first child, Alice has caused all manner of concerns for the more traditional elements of the aristocracy. She ensured that her father had her trained in the arts of a warrior and the skills of diplomacy. Although she spends sometime at court, her true activity seems to be travelling the nation acting as patron to the Order of the Lion and, it is rumoured, less legal groups. The Princess (who hates the title) is a small statured but demonstrative and passionate character who publically butts head with Lord Lovell on regular occasions.
Prince Arran is a widely mocked character. Some claim him to have caught his family illness at a young age. This is not strictly fair however, the Prince is averagely intelligent – he is just enthused on subjects that most sane people regard as childish or fanciful like the myths of Arthur and the other Worthies of Britain. The Prince is a gentle spirited man who has done his best to push against Lord Lovell’s extreme puritanical leanings, but his habit of telling long tales of Robin of Loxley, of Sir Drake the Pirate Admiral and King Alfred’s battles to create law in England haven’t earned him much respect amongst the aristocracy at court.
Lord Lovell has the loyalty of a large amount of the aristocracy in England, he is seen as a strong and capable leader compared to the current King or his heir. Prince Arran is more widely supported in cities and towns, as he has made many effort (along with his sister) to curb the excesses of the landed gentry. He is however, a poor military strategist and the Knights of England (Order of the Garter) have split loyalties. The Knights of the Rose and of the Lion both consider him a noble, valorous man who has little interest in war – and that this is a good thing but as the conflict with Mercia deepens, the more practical wish the heir would inherit his father’s title fully and bring Mercia (and with it Northumberland) back under the banner of London.
Northumberland lies between Mercia and Scotland, although technically allied with the Kingdom of England the nation is cut off from London and has back England in the military conflict. Dominated by the cities of Newcastle in the East and Carlisle in the West, Northumberland is currently administrated by a Steward and Council of Lords.
After the rebellion by the Mercian Barons, Northumberland formally rebelled from the Kingdom of England as well but did this in order to dissuade attack from Mercia. Instead of a new outright ruler, the Lords of Northumberland decided to elect a Steward to maintain the nation till the point that it could rejoin England. The current Steward is James Gray, Lord of Darlington.
War is a defining force is many civilisations throughout history. This is no different in current Britain despite the reduced technology level. Due to the comparative lack of horsemanship amongst even the wealthy elite, warfare has become a largely infantry based affair.
Each knight and lord is sworn to provide his lord with a quantity of men in times of warfare. This system of patronage continues up the levels of patronage till the King may command a vast network of allegiances. When war comes the bulk of an army’s infantry is made of those pledged men that generally fall into three categories; yeoman retainers, slaves and conscripted peasants. Beyond that professional soldiery also exist.
Peasants lease their land from a knight or lord, and as part of that agreement (in which the lord must protect and look out for a leaseholder) men over the age of 16 must take up arms at their lord’s request. Some lords equip their men well and require them to train regularly, others have far less egalitarian minds and simply hand out cheap spears ahead of battle.
The peasant conscripts will typically make up 40-70% of any army or force. Their equipment and training is highly variable. Some of the more war-minded lords will have peasantry armies equipped with crossbows, good quality polearms, shields and armour. More typically, spears tipped with junk metal and wooden round shields are the typical peasant armament. In some areas, lords require that each villager spend so many days a month training with a longbow – dangerous but hard to master weapons. A lord with a good compliment of skilled bowmen is a vital asset in warfare.
Liege lords normally retain the serves of a number of men as a professional military ‘household guard’. These men are contracted freemen who technically have no loyalty to anything other than coin (in theory) but in practice these contracts often extend across generations becoming closely personal. A low level knight with a simple estate may only employ a single martial retainer (typically a Marshall of Arms) responsible for organising the peasantry and household defence. By comparison, a liege lord with vast estates may employ hundreds of guards, soldiers and marksman to bolster his forces.
Slaves are used in vastly differing proportions. The forces of Mercia use slave soldiers as fodder to bolster their on-field numbers, whereas the Welsh tend to avoid their use in warfare entirely. Slave detachments are normally promised freedom on survival of battles and are recruited specifically to be used as such. Armed with the cheapest weapons, normally amounting only to clubs, staffs and spears, they can be effective when employed in vast numbers. Chivalrous knights consider this tactic abhorrent as even 10 men with clubs could barely stand up to a fully armoured and armed knight.
Knights & Cavalry
About 50% of the knight class in Britain have sufficient horsemanship skills to ride into battle. With the exception of very expensive mercenary cavalry, few other warriors are likely to be seen riding into battle. In small scale conflicts, knights will typical stay amongst their own men, helping where it is needed most. When mounted, knights will often form small formations charging through opposition when the opportunity presents itself.
In much large conflicts, which are fortunately rare, individual knights may cede control of their men to designated commanders. Knights are then used as more independent formations – forming a heavy infantry core to an army and providing their cavalry requirements.
Strategy & Tactics
The wars of modern Britain follow relatively traditional infantry line and shield wall tactics. The lack of horse mounted warriors limits the viability and dominance of cavalry on the battlefield. Typically, infantry forces will line up to face each other and approach whilst bowmen behind each line exchange volleys till the main front is joined. Battle then consists of an all out melee, occasionally given order where troops have been properly trained in the use of shields and spears to form phalanxes.
An army’s strategy is determined on the eve of war by a council of the most senior knights in an army. Organisation is sometimes lacking and debate can rage long into the night, leading to poorly structured plans and fatigued generals. Regional Differences
Tactics differ due to composition, and to this end the various nations often have slightly different make ups. The Order of the Dragon, Welsh knights, are excellent riders and are commonly skilled at archery from horseback. Welsh armies typical utilise this skill into small hunting packs of knights that harry an opposition until the infantry can strike a killing blow.
Comparatively, in Scotland there is a much greater influence on effective infantry charges in which knights and clan leaders are expected to lead from the front. In Mercia, a heavy use of mercenary companies drastically improves the efficacy of the nation’s army.
The Kingdom of England has survived, in part, because of its heavy drilling in the use of longbows amongst its peasantry. The well armoured and regimented armies of Mercia have been held in check by volleys of arrows from English peasants.
Longbow vs. Crossbow
The longbow is a cheap, easily available weapon that can be used with devastating effect. This however requires a lifetime of practice. The heavy English War Bow and slightly smaller Welsh Longbow can puncture even good quality armour with comparative ease but the use of a bow requires substantial strength and years of target practice.
By comparison, the crossbow is relatively expensive but desperately easy to use. A solider needs only a few hours to familiarise himself with a crossbow before he is proficient in its use. For that reason, crossbows are seen as somewhat ‘dishonourable’ weapons but their use in the crumbling ruins of Britain or the field of battle are indisputably effective.
Order of the Garter Knight class of England
A blend of military officer and cultural elite that has developed out of the remnants of the army and the old class system. The Order of the Garter is a feudal network of loyalty headed by the King of England which grants estates and land in exchange for service in war. The Order of the Garter represent the majority of aristocratic land holders throughout England. They are widely hated by the populace but not always deservedly so. Knights of the Garter are well equipped with the traditional (and incredibly expensive) weapons of a knight: fine swords and heavy armour.
Order of the Thistle Knight class of Scotland/Alba Whereas England has collapsed back to the old liege lord system, Scotland has moved partial back to its clan routes. Although, divided by Highland and Lowland, the clan system has lead to the re-emergence of almost continual low-level civil war throughout Scotland. The warriors of the clans of Scotland, the Order of Thistle, are experience warriors - less well armed than their English counterparts but measurably more experienced.
Order of the Dragon Knight class Wales/Cymru Power is split amongst a council of princes in Wales, and rather than open warfare, political infighting is concentrated between the princes and their retainers - mostly keeping the suffering away from the common man. Cymru is the home grand tournaments of jousting, sword play and archery, its knightly order, the Order of the Dragon, are passionate and capable, as well as being arrogant and self centred.
Order of the Rose Bodyguards to the Royal Family and secret police Fiercely loyal but small in number, the Knights of the Rose travel the country searching out treason and quelling it as quickly as possible. A visit by a Knight of the Rose is a great honour but carries a threat. These knights are widely portrayed a patriotic heroes rooting out conspiracy and heresy. With access to the King's arsenal, and some of the few working firearms in Britain, this is a job that is more easily accomplished.
Order of the Lion Middle class knight errants The current King's father was a hated man, who let greedy lords control him, his one act of rebellion against these lords was the Order of the Lion. During an assassination attempt, a simple carpenter stood up to defend the King, slaying a number of treacherous knights and earning knighthood himself. To be knighted by the King gave this carpenter freedom to knight whoever he wished to, free of normal land liege obligations. He founded the Order of the Lion, a heroic but fundamentally penniless order dedicated to upholding the virtues of chivalry. The Knights of the Lion are in equal parts ridiculed and feared by the establishment; although these warrior sometimes fight in little more than the shirts on their backs, they are loved by the public and can demand the same rights as any other knight in the land.
Mercenary Sell-swords and professional thugs Very few landowners can afford to directly pay for substantive numbers of armed, trained soldiers. Most armies are raised through systems of a feudal patronage wherein each knight is duty bound to serve his lord in a time of war and provide retainers for that purpose. For those that lie outside of that system such as towns and cities, or need to bolster those forces often rely on paid companies of soldiers. Mercenary companies are a substantial force in New Britain, and demand for their services is high. Mercia has made heavy use of sell-swords in their war with King Mark. A mercenary is only as loyal as the coin he receives and conflicts are regularly decided by who can pay more for a group of mercenaries, rarely coming to actual battles. Different mercenary groups operate with different levels of ethics from the no-job-is-to-low to the aspirational, private knightly orders. Mercenary characters will likely be mid-level officers with experience of command and war first hand.
Jaunters Arena fighters In the same way that slavery has become an accepted part of work, blood sports have become an accepted part of leisure. Most towns of any real size have an arena, often an old sports complex or piled ring of rubble. In these arenas a variety of classic British entertainment takes place, bear-baiting, do-baiting and good old fashioned human-baiting. Some slaves are condemned to brutal fights with each or animals but the real attraction of the arena, the main event, are fights between volunteer fighters. In order to take place in these events a man (and only men) must legally sign a document that states they have no dependents and so obtain a Jaunters licence, giving him free reign to walk the country and make his fortune or lose his life in one on one duels. Jaunts are not intentionally lethal fights and combatants use blunted blades and wooden staves, however there is no penalty for killing in the arena only in delivering a killing blow to a downed opponents. Some Jaunters are honest fighters or desperate soldiers looking to make some cash, others are depraved killers. Although illegal, it is possible to find games where morally liberal Jaunters fight to the death for the amusement of a rarefied crowd. Jaunters (unsurprisingly) excel at one-on-one combat but also often have a commanding knowledge of British geography.
Rangers Patrolling the Great North Road & the Backbone of Britain Civilisation may have crumbled but people still need to travel. Merchants, farmers and other travellers need to move about the country and the easiest way to travel is on the old A-roads and motorways of Britain. The heavy concrete and tarmac has helped keep the roads free from the re-forestation of the country and their historical use as major roadways have helped sustain this. Preying on these travellers are all manner of bandits, highwaymen and thieves. Based predominantly out of Northumberland (which covers the most desolate parts of the major North-South routes), the Rangers patrol the major roadways of Britain operating tolls, safe-haven inns and financing themselves through collected spoils. The Rangers operate as a self-established police force and have so far stayed in more or less everyone’s favour. The men of the Rangers are typically capable soldiers, stalkers and archers, used to long nights in the darkness and hunting vicious men.
Christian missionaries in dark times
The Knights Templar are recruited from orphanages and trained to be the purest examples of God's Will on Earth. Their primary role is defending members of the clergy but also, increasingly, to seek out and destroy paganistic and devil worshipping influences in the country. In addition to being competent warriors, many Templar have the ability to access some for of Divine Grace. This takes two forms; Charismata and Intercession. Intercession is a form of ritualised prayer directed to specific patron saints asking for their intervention into the world, to help their servants. Charismata is more direct, literally a spiritual gift that allows a character to commune directly with God - speaking in tongues and healing the sick (and punishing the wayward).
The Templars are occasionally called the Order of the Lady, after the Virgin Mary, but they are not literally knighted they just often armed similarly to knights and they are a monastic order rather than a military one. The authority of the Templars originally extended simply from a need to defend the fragile clergy in the immediate aftermath of the Fall. For this role, the clergy recruited those orphaned by the regular famines and plagues to serve as bodyguards – utter loyal to the church. The children received a good education, including reading and writing in English and Latin, and a place in the world. The clergy receive a cost effective military order that are loyal and often very well trained.
During the decades of the Templars existence, a strange phenomenon was discovered. Members of the order were increasingly exhibiting remarkable divine abilities. It was theorised that the long years of physical hardship and spiritual dedication (often longer than member of the clergy who join typically in their late teens) were causing this connection to the divine and was actively encouraged. This connection and power lead to an inevitable sense of righteousness which fed into the already burgeoning, self-appointed role of not only God’s shield but also his hammer.
The main base for the Templars is in Walsingham which has been a centre of British Christianity for a millennium. The little town in Norfolk is essential a monastery cum military camp. More recently, the zealous Baron of Liverpool has helped establish a companion centre on the outskirts of Liverpool. Although there is no legal or political limit to Templars or clergy crossing national boundaries – it was considered easier to dedicate a chapter to looking after Mercia and further north.
Marksman Union of professional bowmen Such is the power of the longbow, that a guild of experts have established themselves as arbitrators of who can claim to be a 'true marksman'. The Marksmen's Union operates out of Nottingham and will grant a certificate of accuracy to applicants who pay a fee and can hit targets at set intervals. A Union Marksman can demand high fees on individual contracts as a mercenary or bodyguard. Training with the bow is considered a way out of poverty for poor, rural youth and the Union supports this aspiration holding massively popular tournaments country-wide. The group claims to be apolitical and will generally not place bans on who its members contract out to. The exception to this is certain nobles who are known to cut off the arrow-fingers of any captured bowmen. To this end the 'two-fingered salute' is maintained as a traditional insult by the Union, and others. The Union are quite traditionalists and are staunch supporters of the King, but only a hard to utilise clause in the Union's membership would make them actually turn out as a single force.
Courier The Royal Mail lives on! Although it does not seem like a terribly heroic role, carrying packages across swathes of dangerous territory, riding late through the night to uncertain destinations requires a certain kind of steel in a man. The fragments of the Royal Mail managed to pull themselves together after the collapse and operate a massively reduced service, finally at free-market costs. While the Royal Mail is the only carrier endorsed by the King himself, there are other smaller groups that offer similar services and compete violently with the post. All postmen ride armed and are expected (and regularly required) to defend themselves. The post is an obvious target of bandits and thieves and the life expectancy of a postman is not long. Couriers are well liked by most people who see them as reliable, its known that a postman would die before giving up his charge. The Mail recruits a little like a military organisation with tests, training and regiments.
Alchemist Science didn't disappear, people just forgot about it During the great collapse, many intellectual skills were lost, one of these was the use of chemicals for creating useful substances. Now the knowledge of how to make gunpowder (even poor quality gunpowder) and antibiotics are jealously guarded secrets. Alchemists are the holders of this knowledge and normally work in small collectives in old centres of learning. They venture out into the world to find new knowledge, test substances and buy materials. They are, almost universally, odd individuals who are well liked and sought after albeit cautiously. The two key areas of expertise are Chemistry (which allows for all kinds of colourful explosive toys and bangs) and Medicine (which covers healing potions as well as powerful drugs and deadly poisons). NB - For the purposes of the game, science will be treated as magic because that's the way everyone will view it. Long 'magic' rituals can lead to great feats of inventions and an in game skill might be a flash-bang. There is also a communal memory that science partially caused the great collapse which has lead to quite a hostile intellectual environment.
Keys Freedom fighting ex-slaves Slavery reappeared in the post Collapse world. Unfortunately with laws and decency went the prohibition on forced human servitude. Slaves are used by unscrupulous land owners as cheap labour, servants and expendable soldiers. Slavery can be handed down as a sentence for even minor property crimes and slave traders get rich trading domestically and internationally. Each slave is branded on the inside of the right wrist, forever marking a person as a commodity. The Keys are a group of escaped slaves who are loosely organised across Britain. Although the Key generally avoid violence, more extreme factions have been known to confront the problem more head on than others, for this reason and others the Keys have been branded a criminal organisation in all the nations of Britain. Keys agents normally focus on smuggling slaves out of captivity to a number of 'free towns' and rely on stealth and sympathiser networks as much as confrontation.
The Hidden Hand Guardian gunslingers of technology Britain never had a vast number of guns, it did however have enough that through fortune or favour, some have survived, well kept into the post-Collapse years. Guns are treasured enormously and can often only be carried by licenced individuals. Revolvers (because of their durability) and double barreled shotguns (due to their numbers) are the most common. The Hidden Hand, formed long ago by a mixture of survivalist nuts, scientists and military personnel established what would become a secret organisation. The Hand has slowly developed relatively noble intentions of preserving technology and to this end they send operative out into the world to hunt, quite literally, for treasure. Every Hand allowed into the world is given a gun as a sacred responsibility, 'return with it or not at all' is taken as a given. Hands will often pose as merchants, normal scavengers or drifters whilst methodically hunting down leads to technology. The group is prohibited as most nations understand the power of firearms and seek to control it for themselves. [Editor's note: the technology to produce bullets, although at a poorer quality has been marginally re-learned/retained but a well working semi-automatic pistol could buy an estate to retire in comfort with.]
Vagabond Jesters, beggars, charmers, thieves Every civilisation has its beggars who desperately claw a life off the mercy of society. This is still true but the vagabonds of the new order actually have some resources that are almost unique in Britain. Very few characters will have travelled as far and seen as much as vagabonds. Talented musicians and performers can actually make half decent money from town squares and local courts. Although not a formal group in any sense, most of the travelling folk are friendly too each other out of mutual necessity and as such rumours can spread quickly. Most vagabonds will have a trade, be it music, storytelling or rumour mongering, and they tend to supplement this income with a bit of thievery when they have the chance. Unsurprisingly most are used to a fight. Society sees them as honest scoundrels who more often than not at least offer something for the money they ask for.
Aldermen Secret organisation working to overthrow the landed elite Although the majority of political power lies with the King in London, representatives are still sent to Parliament. The aristocracy make up the House of Lords, and as the House in which the King sits, has the great influence. Each town and city in the country also sends representatives to the House of Commons which is very much now seen as the lower House. The tension between country and town has reverted back to favouring the rural elite but there is a secret organisation of well-to-do elements of the country’s urban areas that work covertly to alter this. Aldermen are typically the sons of well off merchants or professionals who take up the cause. Their work typically involves seeking to bring down local members of the aristocracy through fair means or foul. Membership in the group is kept very secret but relatively high in larger urban centres. Aldermen are experts are subterfuge, stealth and have access to a variety of exotic high end weapons afforded to them by their sponsors.
Guardians of the Dryw Warrior disciples of the Druids Deep in the West Country and Wales, the old religion of the country is being practiced again. Old stone circles, long quite, have reawakened with the loosening of the walls between the worlds, vibrating along old forgotten leylines. The Druids, almost extinct, have reappeared, tapping in to this dark, ancestral power. Their followers nominate warriors, armed with the gifts of their belief, to protect the Druids and fight back against the Templar threat. In addition to their status as warriors, Guardians can utilise ancient Woad Tattoos to grant themselves supernatural physical abilities or use nature spells of the Drwyr themselves. Feared and reviled by the populace, most Guardians are actually personable true-believers dedicated to their cause, which is protecting their religion.
Neophyte of the Golden Dawn Traditional academic mages, who's spells have finally started working The study of demonology has long been a quiet hobby to a few eccentric individuals, only recently has it started to actually work. By summoning, controlling and dealing with demons and spirits, the Golden Dawn can make all mater of impossibilities happen. The order itself is loosely split between the Right Hand Path (which considers itself spiritually pure and is highly academic) and the Left Hand Path (with is far more self-indulgent, focused on breaking taboos and the closest thing to genuine 'devil-worshippers'). The Golden Dawn is highly secretive and draws mostly from the wealth urban classes and easily diverted aristocracy. The activities of the group tend to be coloured by the worst acts of the Left Hand Path and are highly illegal. Almost anything is achievable with the right ritual but members of the Dawn have 'trapped' various spells for easy access.
At its core, After London is based on a very simple pair of systems. One for dealing with tasks with only one person attempting something (a test of a character) and the other for dealing with two people competing.
Every force is rated by an attribute, mortal creatures have 9 attributes, typically ranging from 1 to 6 in the mortal realm. War machines and gods can take this to a different scale entirely but those instances are limited.
When a character attempts a simple task, that task has a Difficulty (DC) and the character must roll a d6, add his relevant attribute and equal or exceed that DC to succeed. If a difficulty is not stated and a character is simply asked to take a test, the default DC is considered to be 7.
Example: Morrison is trying to clamber over a wall in order to escape from pursuing assassins. The GM asks Morrison's player to take an Agility test. Morrison has an Agility of 3 so needs a 4 or more on his d6 roll in order to succeed. Morrison's player rolls a 5, scales the wall and makes his get away.
As thing get more challenging, as does the difficulty of a task. The normal highest difficulty for a task is 10.
Example: Morrison is again get the wall, unfortunately the wall is 4 metres high, slick with rain and smoothed by centuries of wear. The difficulty to scale the wall is a 9 meaning Morrison's player needs to roll a 6 to succeed this time. Unfortunately Morrison does manage the roll and scrambles on the stone work before crashing to the ground. Morrison now has to face down his assailants.
Sometime, tasks can be impossible to successfully roll. The task may literally be too difficult to complete, or simply very very unlikely. If the GM thinks the task is impossible he can tell the player there's no point rolling. If he thinks there's an outside chance of success the GM can grant success on a 6 as long as the player can then pass a Luck test for the character.
Example: Once again, Morrison faces the wall. It is now 8 metres high, with no apparent footholds and thick icy frost covering it. The GM agrees to let Morrison's player roll, on a 6 he can take a Luck test to succeed. Morrison's player rolls the 6, and then passes the Luck test. Morrison leaps blindly at the wall, and luckily grasps piece of broken masonry close enough to the top to haul himself over.
The three central rules areas covered by character creation are Attributes, General Skills and Focus Abilities.
Characters have 28 points to split between the 9 attributes with 2 being the minimum without specific GM approval and the 6th point in an attribute costing double.
Characters have 4 points to spend on General Skills, Mystical Skills cost 2 points.
Characters have 4 points to spend of Weapon Proficiencies (max level 2 at creation) and Focus Abilities.
In order to keep the game quick and simple, the most important element of a character is his 9 core attributes. Attributes run from 1 (weak, childlike) to 6 (peak of human ability) with 2 representing a normal man on the street and 3 some above averagely capable.
There are four physical attributes (Strength, Endurance, Coordination & Agility), four mental attributes (Intelligence, Will, Social Skill & Wits) and one meta attribute (Luck).
Strength covers all manner of physical exertions and is the default combat attack/defence stat (although coordination and wits can also be used).
Endurance covers physical resistance and the ability to keep going.
Coordination covers basic manual dexterity and hand-eye-coordination, key for archers and light weapon users (as well as thieves).
Agility covers physical speed, alacrity and acrobatics. It directly effects how fast a character can move, clambering over stuff and getting out of the way of explosions and falling masonry (not that there will be any of that...).
Intelligence covers the combination of common sense, wisdom and book smarts.
Will covers emotional strength and mental presence.
Social Skill covers, well, social interactions, lying, charming, seducing and threatening.
Wits covers perceptions, reactions and general awareness; and can be used to dodge fast attacks and use small weapons like knives.
Luck covers the mysterious hand of fate that determines whether or not you fired 6 bullets or only 5...
Health Points = End*2 + Will
Editor's Note: HP is essentially Endurance x Size, where Size for humans is 2. The player characters get a boost of their Will to represent them being heroic.
Stress Points = Will*2
Focus Points = Wits + Intelligence
A level in a General Skill means that when attempting an associated activity, the character may either gain a +1 to his relevant attribute or a re-roll (player’s choice). A second level in the skill means that the character gets both bonuses. Most of the skills represent natural abilities that are well honed but, at the GM’s discretion, difficulties may be higher or tasks impossible if a character is unskilled. For example, Riding, a character without the skill suffers a +1 difficulty to any riding task.
Mystical skills: Having a skill in one of the special mystical skills allows a character to learn appropriate focus skills/spells. A character can use the skill for more elaborate rituals (or inventions) but this has to be specifically played out in game.
Character Creation – Each character starts with 4 points to spend in general skills. Any mystical skill (Intercession, Charismata, Demonology, Woad Writing, Science and Dryw) cost 2 points. Buying a skill at level 2 is possible at creation, is just costs an extra point.
Example Build 1 – Scout: Wilderness Survival, Sharp Senses, Warm Blood and Stealth. Example Build 2 – Thief: Stealth, Sleight of Hand, Security, Subterfuge. Example Build 3 – Investigator: Security, Empathy, Menace, Brawler. Example Build 4 – Barbarian: Break bonds, Iron Stomach, Pain Resistance, Smash. Example Build 5 – Negotiator: Charm, Subterfuge, Empathy, Menace. Example Build 6 – Team Support: Medicine, Equipment Repair, Wilderness Survival, Sharp Senses.
Brawler: This skill covers non-lethal brawls and scuffles, of which the character is very experienced. Hauling: This skill covers any strength based action to move, pull or lift an object. The character is simply very good at moving things. Simple, but useful! Throwing: Any time a character throws an object he gets a bonus to his distance roll. Strong back: The character can carry more than he would otherwise seem able of ignoring all but the heaviest of burdens. Break bonds: The character is skilled at using his strength to bend bars and snap ropes. Smash: This skill covers any destructive physical act, most commonly breaching locked doors and windows.
Endurance Athlete: Any situation where the character has to keep up an exertion for a period of time, this skill applies. Pain Resistance: This skill covers any situation where the character suffers injury and has to deal with the pain. Warm Blood: This skill covers any situation where extreme weather calls for an Endurance test. Tireless: This skill comes into effect when rolling to resist the effect of getting less than four hours sleep a night. Iron Stomach: Any situation where the character has eaten something foul or started drinking heavily, this skill comes into effect. Strong Immune System: The character gets his skill bonus when resisting infections, diseases and poisons.
Security: This skill covers any attempts at lock picking. Craftsman: This skill covers any attempt to create a work of art or some other creation – a specific craft should be noted. Sleight of Hand: This skill covers any coordinated action designed to be fast and undetected, pick pocketing and cheating at cards are very good examples. Ambidextrous: The character gets his bonus against the normal penalties for using your offhand (normally an increase of one difficulty). Ride: The character is adept at riding horses. Special: Woad Writing – The, literal, art of mystical tattoos practices by the ancient Druids and their Guardians.
Sprint: Anytime a character’s speed is tested this skill can be used. Leap: Anytime a character is trying to jump up or across this comes into effect. Typically jumping tasks can be given a difficulty OR a dice pool where each success is two metres in distance or half a metre up. Climb: Anytime a character is trying to scale an object this skill comes into effect. Free-run: This skill covers moving quickly across difficult or dangerous terrain such as a collapsed building or rooftops. Sneak: This skill covers any attempt to stealthy avoid detection by a target. Dive: Anytime a character is trying to dive out of way of an area effect weapon (explosions etc).
Literacy: Not an assumed skill anymore, this skill means characters will have ability to read and write English well. Medicine: Basic medical treatment has survived without losing too much of its use into the new world, used when treating injured characters’ wounds. Academics: This skill covers any esoteric or scholarly test of knowledge or complex understanding of academic subjects. Equipment Repair: The character is adept at repairing damaged weapons, armour and even shooing horses. Special: Demonology – Both the Left Hand and Right Hand Paths of the Golden Dawn stem from the study of demons. Special: Science – Both the chemical powders and potions of the Alchemist come from the same root of study, carefully guarded scientific knowledge.
Torture Resistance: This skill covers the ability of a character to resistance painful torture or mental intimidation. Sound Mind: Any attempt to overcome or ignore the effects of stressful situations or psychosis is covered by this skill. Also works against mind control. Devil-May-Care: Any test to get the character to do something incredibly dangerous is covered by this skill. Nerves of Steel: Any situation where a character might break under stress such as a Mexican stand-off or waiting to ambush someone, are covered by this skill. Special: Intercession – One of the two mystical abilities of the Templar, the practice of imploring Christian saints for aid via ritual prayer. Special: Charismata – One of the two mystical abilities of the Templar, the practice of directly contacting the Holy Spirit and channeling for healing, or punishment.
Leadership: Efforts to motivate or lead people to a decision or task are covered by this skill. Charm: Any attempts to sway a person to a decision are covered by this skill. Oratory/Performance: This skill covers the delivery of speeches and performance. Whether a character takes this to mean music, singing, comedy or acting is up to them. Subterfuge: The ability to lie and detect lies is covered by this skill. Empathy: This skill covers the detection of emotions, hidden or otherwise, in other people and also dealing with them – such as in comforting a victim of tragedy. Menace: This skill covers attempts to frighten or intimidate people, this includes verbal abuse and physical torture.
Quip: Any attempt to make a snappy comeback is covered by this skill (a successful test may allow the player more time to come up with his line!). Snap Reflexes: This skill covers a character’s reaction time and comes into effect when working out combat initiative. Sharp Senses: The ability to spot threats is covered by this skill, which includes sentry duty and ambushes. Dodge: Any time the character needs to quickly move out of the way of an incoming threat, this skill comes in to effect. Wilderness Survival: Any attempt to forage, hunt or build shelter benefits from this skill. Special: Dryw – One of the two mystical abilities accessible by the Guardians. This is the secret knowledge of the Druids.
|Aggressive||Free||+1 Attack Dice this round.|
|Defensive||Free||+1 Defence Dice this round.|
|Brutal||Free||+0.5 Damage this round.|
|Precision||Free||1 Re-roll to be used during the round.|
|Heavy||Free||+1 Armour Penetration this round.|
|Accurate||Free||+1 to hit this round.|
|Weak spot||Free||+1 Armour Penetration this round.|
|Fast Load||Free||Reloading this turns counts double towards the number of turns needed to reload a weapon. With weapons with 1 turn reloads, this makes reloading a free action.|
|Lethal shot||1||Attack = +d3 damage, +1 DC.|
|Disarm shot||1||Attack = Disarm opponent, +1 DC.|
|Leg shot||1||Attack = Target is knocked prone, +1 DC.|
|Mighty Blow||1||Double damage this round, +1 DC to attacks.|
|Breach||1||Add half of your Strength to Armour Penetration, -1 Attack Dice.|
|Berserk||2||+2 Attack Dice, +1 Armour Penetration, +0.5 Damage, Armour Value -1, Defence Dice -2.|
|Shatter||1||Attack = Make a standard competitive roll, your Strength versus opponent’s Strength or (Coordination -1). If successful, your opponent must make a durability test for his weapon DC6+the number of successes.|
|Turtle||1||+2 Defence Dice and +1 Armour Value this round, but you cannot take a full action this round (can still take free actions).|
|Mere Flesh Wound||1||Ignore attacks this round if you can pass a DC 4+x Endurance test where x is the HP damage.|
|Masochism||1 + HP||If a melee attack deals damage to you this round, you can take optional damage. Each 1HP of optional damage deals d3HP damage to the attacker with no Armour Pen rolls.|
|Flurry||2||Take a Coordination test of DC 4+x, where is x is the number of melee attacks you can make this round as one Full Action.|
|Mastery||1||Re-roll failed dice in a dice pool once this round.|
|Coup de Grace||1||Attack = Make a Coordination test DC 4+x where x is the number of HP the target has. If successful the target is killed spectacularly with no further rolls.|
|Disarm||1||Attack = Make a Coord vs Coord or (Str-1 roll). If successful, opponent’s weapons is knocked d6-1m.|
|High Risk Attack||2||All successful Attack Dice explode this round, however any 1s count negatively to your total.|
|Trip||1||Make an Agility vs Agility or (End-1) roll. If successful, opponent is knocked prone and takes d3 damage.|
|Jump Up||Free||Getting up from prone is a free action this round.|
|Acrobatic Attack||1||Take an Agility test on DC 6+x, where x is the number of bonus attack successes in your next attack.|
|Tactical Assessment||1||DC 8 Intelligence test to activate. Any allies, including yourself may re-roll initiative immediately.|
|Battle Plan||Variable||You can pay the Focus cost of any allies’ abilities this turn.|
|Outwit||2||DC 8 Intelligence test to activate. Cause all opponents to re-roll their initiative immediately with a -1.|
|Order||1||You can use the initiative of any ally this round.|
|Indomitable||1||Ignore the effects of Injury Load this round.|
|Righteous Anger||1||Take a Will test on DC5+x, where x is the number of bonus Attack Dice in your next attack dice.|
|Protect||Free||You can take any Defence rolls for an ally in the same melee; treat it as if the attacker was attacking you.|
|Heroic Effort||All||Only usable on a truly epic endeavour. All dice rolled get +2. Injury Load is ignored. Will test DC 8 to not pass out afterwards.|
|Inspire||2||DC8 Social Skills tests to activate. All allies get +1 to all their Attributes this round.|
|Stay Safe||1||DC8 Social Skills tests to activate. All allies get +1 to their Armour Value this round.|
|Rally||Free||Target ally who is prone can get to their feet for free, can be used at range.|
|Dirty Trick||1||Make a Wits vs Wits or End-1 roll against a target, that target has all their dice pools halved this round.|
|Allegro||2||DC8 Wits test to activate. Have another full action this turn at the very end of the round.|
|Chink||1||Make a Wits vs Wits or Cord-1 roll against a target, if successful your attack against the target this round automatically penetrates armour.|
|Duellist||1||Pick a target, you get +1 to your Attack and Defence Dice against the target but -1 against other targets.|