Advantages, are listed alphabetically and are further organized into ranks. These ranks are numbered; higher numbered ranks have a more powerful affect on the character. They are abbreviated R1, R2, R3, R4, and so on.
Note: Gamemasters may allow higher ranks of character options than the examples given here. Players and gamemasters should discuss the best way to represent their characters’ unique set of traits.
- Authority (R1, R2, R3)
- Contacts (R1, R2, R3, R4)
- Cultures (R1, R2, R3, R4)
- Equipment (R1, R2, R3, R4)
- Fame (R1, R2, R3)
- Patron (R1, R2, R3)
- Size (R1 or more)
- Trademark Specialization (R1)
- Wealth (R1 or more)
Note: At character creation, Advantages cost one creation point or one skill die per rank.
The character has some measure of power over other people in his region. The scope of the character’s rank, duties, and power in his local jurisdiction dictate the rank in this Advantage. An Authority (R1) Advantage might belong to someone who, because of circumstance, does not have a lot of opportunity to use his authority or someone who is very low in rank.
Law Enforcement is one version of this Advantage that gives adventurers some measure of abilities associated with being a deputized agent of the law. Authority: Law Enforcement (R1) means the character can carry a weapon and has limited authority to enforce the law.
Mercenaries, bounty hunters, and bail bondsmen might need this Advantage in certain settings.
Restrictions/Notes: It is not necessary to have the Authority: Law Enforcement Advantage to own a weapon in those regions that allow ordinary citizens to own them. However, if owning a weapon is illegal in a country and limited to deputized officials, then this version of the Advantage would be necessary.
Remember, too, that outside of the character’s jurisdiction or permit limits, this Advantage may have little or no value.
Same as Authority (R1), but the character has more influence, possibly commanding a small number of troops or being in charge of a small company or town. With Authority: Law Enforcement (R2), the character is actually part of the city watch or royal guard and is allowed to make full arrests and search and seizures.
Restrictions/Notes: See Authority (R1) for more information.
Same as Authority (R1), except that the character has a great deal of power and influence. The head of a large guild or someone whose authority is simply never questioned would have this Advantage. With Authority: Law Enforcement (R3), the character could be a high-ranking officer in the watch or army, having authority over those with Rank 2 of this Advantage.
Restrictions/Notes: Higher levels of Authority indicate a wider sphere of influence, such as a large region, an alliance of kingdoms, or an empire. Otherwise, see Authority (R1) for more information.
The character “knows somebody” or a group of somebodies who will generally help out the character if he makes a decent appeal or sufficiently compensates the contact. This level of contact only sticks around for a limited amount of time (part of an adventure or maybe throughout a short adventure).
The character might know a “group” with a wider range of influence (but less power) that will help out, again, for a modest fee or under the right circumstances. The influence might not be as direct, but it is easier to come by. For instance, there might be a widespread religious group that will provide food or shelter for a small donation (much lower than getting such things at an inn). They won’t do much about that a raging giant chasing you, but they can be of immense help under the right circumstances.
Restrictions/Notes: Contacts should not automatically help the character, but they should be reasonable in their negotiations. Multiple contacts of various ranks may be selected and they may be stacked. For instance, a certain person might be a Contact (R1) in most circumstances, but he could be a Contact (R2) or even a Contact (R3) in the right place — such as a mercenary who might help out for a fee versus normal foes, but when fighting his “hereditary enemies,” he might be almost invincible and eager to help.
Remember that contacts are gamemaster’s characters. They should be created and played rationally. If a player refuses to roleplay or takes advantage of contacts, he should be penalized when trying to use them (and possibly lose them). There should also be a reason in the character’s story why he has these contacts.
This Advantage is identical to Contacts (R1), except the contact is more powerful, more influential, easier to get hold of, willing to do more favors, or affects the game on a larger scale.
If the contact is supposed to be a large group, it now has much greater influence over a wider area. For instance, instead of having the religious group as a contact, the character might be able to call on occasionally the aid of servants of the lord of a region.
Restrictions/Notes: Under no circumstances should any contact, regardless of rank number, make roleplaying and thinking superfluous. Contacts are totally under the control of the gamemaster. Even powerful and influential contacts from this rank should be kept under a tight rein. See Contacts (R1) for more information.
The contact or contacts chosen should be nearly supernormal, supernatural, or uncanny in origin. For instance, a character’s Contact (R3) might be a “thieves’ guild” with cells in every city — and the members can turn up at the oddest moments.
Work with the gamemaster to come up with some interesting contacts. It might be a group of highly spiritual monks who can be called upon for “mystical aid” — or maybe a really complete occult library.
Restrictions/Notes: Again, as with Contacts (R1) and (R2), don’t let the contacts take over the game — and don’t let the player’s character abuse them. Contacts are gamemaster controlled, but they will usually only be brought into play at the character’s request.
There is some sort of strange “force” that “watches over” and occasionally helps the character. In many ways, this Advantage is not as useful in most adventure situations as the other versions of Contacts, but it can have dramatic effects on occasion.
Some examples of this include a particularly powerful gamemaster character who steps in occasionally to help the character when he’s in trouble. Or, a widespread secret society might, for some reason, want to step in and aid the character at times.
Generally, the character can get minor assistance — as could be gotten from Contacts (R1) or Contacts (R2) — on a fairly regular basis — and under the same sort of circumstances as having lower versions of Contacts — but “the big stuff” only happens when the gamemaster thinks it appropriate. The character might get killed before the Contacts (R4) intervenes — maybe the character just wasn’t doing something the contact felt was important to it — but, most likely, assistance will be provided.
Restrictions/Notes: Players’ characters should take this option only if they want to take Disadvantages relating to it. For example, if a character wants to have a group of wizards who like him and will supply him with substantial aid on a regular basis (like a knight who’s outfitted with new weapons and armor at the beginning of every adventure and who can call for more during certain times in the adventure), then he should take Disadvantages that relate to that. The character could be a member of an organization (see the Disadvantage Employed), or he must do reciprocating favors for the wizards (see the Disadvantage Price), or there are equally powerful Contacts, Patrons, Enemies
In fantasy settings, family and employment often exist as important aspects of a character’s life. Contacts, Patrons, and Enemies can represent not only people the character knows, but also people that the character is related to by blood, marriage, apprenticeship, or fostering.
Furthermore, having friends in high places often means the character attracts the attention of the friends’ friends … and enemies. Players willing to roleplay long, associative networks may add lower-level Contacts in exchange for an equivalent number of Ranks in one or more Enemies. The player must purchase one Contact or Patron of Rank 2 or greater. All additional Contacts and Enemies must have an association with that primary Contact or Patron. As long as the total number of Ranks in the additional Contacts equals the total number of Ranks in the Enemies, the Enemies do not count toward the Disadvantage maximum.
Example: A player decides to have a Rank 3 Patron. The player may then add any number of Rank 1 or 2 Contacts as long as she adds an equal number of Enemies. If she chose to add three Rank 1 Contacts (well-placed personal assistants to the Patron), the player would have to think of three Rank 1 Enemies, or one Rank 1 and one Rank 2 Enemy, or one Rank 3 Enemy that this Patron has people who want to eliminate him because of his contacts (see the Disadvantage Enemy).
If the character does not want to take extensive Disadvantages relating to the contact, then Contacts (R4) should be unpredictable and not always useful. For example, the wizards might provide the character with plenty of magical equipment, but it might not always be what the character needs or might not work correctly all of the time.
This is another Advantage that can be utilized in more than one way. The first way is the simplest. The character has knowledge of a particular (usually unusual) culture that he can use to his benefit when among people of that culture. This gives a bonus (usually +1) to interactions in that culture and uses of the cultures skill to recall details of the society.
Example: A character might have Cultures (R1) pertaining to a certain type of intelligent monster. When the character goes on an adventure in monsters’ territory, chances are good he will get help from those monsters in his activities instead of being attacked as a stranger or trespasser and ending up with his head in the stew.
Restrictions/Notes: A character with Cultures (R1) has about the level of knowledge of a frequent tourist — no more. Unless the character has skills like streetwise, speaking, and other supporting skills, he acts as if he has visited the culture and learned a decent amount about their ways, but he is definitely an outsider. This Advantage may be taken more than once for different cultures.
The character’s background must reflect the “special insight” he has into the culture or cultural trends.
This option can be used pretty much like Cultures (R1), only on a larger scale. Instead of choosing a small, unusual culture, the character might choose an “alien” culture (one totally different from his own) and gain an understanding of it comparable to the understanding in Cultures (R1). Or, he could choose to learn more about a relatively small cultural group (to the point where the character would be accepted as one who has spent a lot of time with the people).
Restrictions/Notes: The same as for Cultures (R1), but the character has about the level of knowledge of an outsider who has lived in the culture for a while. Either that, or he would get more useful information on alien cultures or “sweeping” cultural examinations.
The character is either a native of an unusual culture or has the knowledge and the respect as if she were one. A person who has lived a significant portion of her life in a culture and has that sort of understanding of it would have Cultures (R3) — only the character is actually a part of the game setting’s dominant culture as well.
If an alien culture can be, and is, selected, then the character has an extreme familiarity with it.
Restrictions/Notes: As with Cultures (R1) and (R2), the character must choose what sort of cultural familiarity to have. Also, there must be a compelling reason the character has this familiarity or understanding. Finally, if the character chooses to be a “native” of a particular culture, she should probably have to learn speaking: (the culture’s major language) at least +1D.
This selection should be taken only if the game setting employs the use of alien cultures (those not totally understood by the dominant culture). The character understands the alien culture and can interact within it — he is still an alien to it, but he is treated better than any other outsider (most likely).
Example: In a game setting where non-Human races are rare, the character is a Human from a village that’s on the edge of non- Human races’ territory. She can thus interact with certain types of aliens and can understand their ways. This doesn’t mean she’s friends with them, but she has a better chance of interacting with them, figuring them out, and outsmarting their “inhuman logic” than other characters.
Restrictions/Notes: The character should have related Disadvantages, and there has to be some extensive background description telling why the character has this Advantage. Otherwise, see the other entries regarding Cultures.
The character gains a piece of equipment he would not normally have because it is too expensive or “unavailable,” but only if it is allowable under the game setting. For instance, a character could start the game with leather armor but not chain mail — the latter is generally too expensive for the average adventurer.
Alternatively, the character could take lots of little pieces of equipment instead — more than what the gamemaster would normally allow. Basically, equipment totaling in cost not more than about a few gold pieces (or a price difficulty of Moderate) would fit in this category.
Restrictions/Notes: Typically, as long as the character is not careless with it, Equipment taken with any rank of this Advantage is replaceable, unless the Burn-out Disadvantage is included with it. Equipment (R1) may be selected more than once or in combination with higher ranks of the Equipment Advantage with gamemaster approval.
The character gains a piece of equipment that would be very hard to get because of expense or availability. Standard military weapons that are usually out of reach of the normal citizen are available. In addition, equipment totaling in cost not more than a dozen gold pieces (or a price difficulty of Difficult) would probably be okay. In game settings that have magical or super-science equipment, objects of fairly low power would probably be obtained using this Advantage.
Restrictions/Notes: See Equipment (R1) for more information. Equipment (R2) may be selected more than once or in combination with higher ranks of the Equipment Advantage with gamemaster approval.
Items of equipment that are normally unavailable to just about anyone can be picked up using this Advantage. Any one item on any equipment chart can be selected, or the gamemaster can make up a “special” item that has unusual effects or Special Abilities. Alternatively, they can just be really expensive or virtually unavailable items. Equipment totaling a few handfuls of gold (or a price difficulty of Very Difficult) falls under this category.
Restrictions/Notes: The gamemaster should watch this Advantage carefully. It can only be selected once at character creation — though the Rank 1 and Rank 2 versions can also be selected — but it can still unbalance a beginning character. Generally, things that can be taken away fairly easily — like magic wands and swords, strange technology, low-powered miraculous artifacts, and other related equipment — would be suitably appropriate for characters with minimal experience.
Really bizarre and, most likely, powerful equipment is open to the character — but only one such piece or a collection of small, related pieces. No one else can use the equipment without making some sort of exhaustive skill total, and it can probably not be repaired or duplicated. Equipment with Special Abilities or atypical game characteristics fits into this category.
The equipment could be a weapon more powerful than most personal weapons in the game setting. Or it could be a magical spell that could not normally be used by the character or anyone else in the world at its relatively low difficulty. Or it could be a collection of gadgets and gizmos that can perform many different mundane tasks — but how, nobody knows.
Restrictions/Notes: The character should have Disadvantages related to the equipment. Maybe Enemies want to steal it, or it has an Advantage Flaw so it doesn’t work all the time — or the same way every time. In addition, the equipment should not make the character so powerful that opponents fall before him. In game mechanic terms, the equipment should be just slightly more powerful or more useful than what is available normally. The more powerful the item, the more Disadvantages and restrictions should be related to it.
Example: A player might choose to give his character an average bow and increase the damage score by two points. As this is a small increase, the gamemaster permits the bow to never need reloading. Instead, the arrows appear magically, cocked and ready.
The character, for some reason, is fairly well known. The character has a dense penetration of recognition, but with little wide-sweeping effects (for instance, everyone in town knows who they are, but no one from more than a few days’ travel away has ever heard of them).
Whenever the gamemaster or the player thinks the character might be recognized (and the Fame Advantage would come into play), the gamemaster should roll 3D. If the result is 15 or higher, the character is recognized. Otherwise, he has to do something “special” to be recognized (and gain the benefits of recognition).
If a character with Fame (R1) is recognized, he should gain small perks, like getting immediate service in a tavern, avoiding small legal hassles (like routine wagon checks when entering a city), or just be treated generally better (perhaps the character gets a couple of bonus points to persuasion, bluff, and charm attempts). Like most roleplayed Advantages, the gamemaster should decide on the results.
Restrictions/Notes: Fame may be chosen multiple times as long as the player defines how each Fame is different. For example, a character might have Fame (R1) in regards to his fighting abilities, but another type of Fame pertaining to his intelligence or some other ability.
The character is very well known. The character would probably be recognized in most fairly civilized cultures and almost definitely in her home culture. The gamemaster should roll 3D and, on a 15 or higher, a person from another culture recognizes the person and react (usually favorably). In the character’s own culture, this reaction comes on an 8 or more. If the character draws attention to herself in her own culture (identifies herself), then the reaction will most likely be automatic (gamemaster’s option).
Restrictions/Notes: At this level of Fame, the character should be treated like a well-known bard or popular fighter. Some gamemaster’s characters will be immune to this Fame, but most will have some sort of (generally positive) reaction. Otherwise, see Fame (R1) for more information.
There is a pretty good chance anyone in the game setting will recognize the character (or what the character is) fairly easily. The base die total needed is 8, and it can be modified by circumstance. The character has the status of a high-ranking noble or religious personage.
Restrictions/Notes: They are the same as for Fame (R1) and Fame (R2) — certain people just won’t be impressed. In addition, characters with Fame (R3) should almost always have to take at least one rank in the Disadvantage Infamy — no matter how nice, talented, or generally well-liked a person is, there’s always somebody out there who wishes her harm.
The odds are that most players’ characters are not independently wealthy. But they might have access to wealth in the form of patrons. If the characters are treasure hunters, patrons might include minor nobles, small fiefs, or even retired adventurers.
Patron (R1) means the character has a backer who will fund one expedition, with all proceeds going to the patron. All of the costs (room, board, travel, expenses) are covered by the patron, with the understanding that the player’s character is basically just a worker-for-hire. Anything that the adventurer discovers or purchases becomes the property of the patron.
A Patron (R2) expects much less from those he backs. The character may receive less financial support, but the adventurer has greater freedom of action.
An expansionistic government is a common example of an organization qualifying for Patron (R2). They cover a character’s travel expenses in exchange for news about new lands to conquer. Anything that the character finds on his own (like artifacts) remains his own.
A Patron (R3) will give a character a limited stipend and cover most expenses, then offer to purchase whatever the character recovers. Without consistent results, the funding will be cut off.
The character is much larger or smaller than the average Human. For every rank in this Advantage, the player receives up to +3 to his character’s scale modifier (which starts at zero). The player must specify whether the character is bigger or smaller than the average Human.
Restrictions/Notes: Generally, the character’s weight is proportional for his height, but a Disadvantage, such as Hindrance: Reduced Toughness, or a Special Ability, such as Hardiness, could be used to represent a very thin or very large character (respectively). Likewise, to reflect a longer stride, the character should have the Hypermovement Special Ability, while a shorter stride would get the Hindrance: Shorter Stride Disadvantage. Obviously, no character may take the Size: Large and the Size: Small Advantages.
For details on using scale, see the “Combat Options” chapter.
This Advantage works a lot like a combination of the Skill Bonus Special Ability and Fame. The character is remarkably good at one very specific thing, and he is known for it. Choose any specialization that the character has (or would like to have in the future), and the character gains +2D to the roll when it is used. In addition, when the character uses it, there is a gamemaster-option chance that people will recognize how “naturally good” the character is at the specialization, and this might produce interesting situations. Also, the character might be contacted or recognized by certain people because of how good he is at that one specialization.
Restrictions/Notes: This character acts as if trained in the use of this skill. No character may have more than two Trademark Specializations.
The character with this Advantage probably has an estate or a series of investments that will keep him comfortable for a good long time. Alternatively, the character could be minor nobility or be married to a minor noble. This doesn’t mean the character can buy everything — he is still subject to the availability of items.
For each rank in this Advantage, the character has 10 gold coins in readily available cash once per month. The accounts never have more than 10 gold coins times the number of ranks each month (fees and living expenses keep it at that level), and the amount could be less by the end of the month. Adventure bonuses could temporarily raise the figure, though the character would have to purchase an additional rank of Wealth to make the increase permanent. Players in games using the Funds attribute gain +2 per rank to all such totals.
Restrictions/Notes: Characters should select only one rank of Wealth, unless there is some reason they might have Wealth (R1) and another rank of Wealth in other circumstances. Also, this wealth does not always help and disappears if misused (and it should be a major concern to the character at times), but it should be there most of the time. Gamemasters will probably think of ways to work around wealth and players should play along — if you can throw money at every problem, then they aren’t that much fun to try to solve, are they?
The most likely Disadvantage a character with Wealth would have is Devotion, such as “helping all those in need” or “righting all wrong doing.” Otherwise, there should be fairly extensive reasons why the character can’t use his wealth to resolve every situation — or hire somebody to do it for him (which is really the same thing).