Famine: The Black Horse Book One of the Apocalypse
Famine—Wild Wastes Storms, floods, and pestilence have ravaged those living in the Farreaches, the western end of the Heldannic Freeholds, and the northwest corner of the Kingdom of Formour. Under the best of circumstances, this land is harsh and barren. The climate is cold and normally dry. The Farreaches can only charitably be referred to as stark and lifeless. The recent environmental disasters have rendered the water supplies of most communities undrinkable. Food is scarce, and many children are starving. With the body count rising—even whole villages at a time—the numbers of flies and other insects have grown to plague levels. To make matters worse, the area is home to foul predators of mankind. The remnants of the Old Empire make their homes here. The Hobgoblin Enclave dwellers of Formour are mere shadows of their former fierceness. The most vile and violent of the Old Empire's military forces escaped into this bitter land, where they now practice the arts of war against the other inhabitants—and occasionally against each other. The harsh environment has only served to harden these fierce warriors even further. They know neither mercy nor fear. Then there are the true monsters. Many strong predators are found here. The most commonly encountered large predators are wolves and bears, but even more dangerous foes dwell in the north. There are rumors of truly great beasts, unheard of in other lands. If ever there is a place where the mighty Dragons may find a home, it will be here among the many powerful devourers of men. Not the least predator by any means, the Lycanthropes can be hiding amongst the packs of wolves or the company of man. They refer to themselves as the Changing Folk, and many consider them to have the worst traits of both Humans and wolves; for while a wolf may be fierce in defending its home, a Human is devious about conquering the home of someone else. Even if there are neither wolf nor man in sight, you may still be stalked by these horrific predators.
Famineâ€”Wild Wastes Book One of the Apocalypse Writing Credits o o o
Werewolf ideas, zoological consultant, & all-around sage: Robert McIntosh Additional material written by: Golgotha Kinslayer Graphics & typing: nameless ghoul
The Famineâ€”Wild Wastes supplement is dedicated to Tex & Beki, whose insight into all things lupine has been invaluable to this project. Their help and patience with this supplement have gone far beyond the normal bounds of friendship. Thanks guys.
Table of Content: Prologue Writing Credit Dedication The Farreaches Survival Lycanthropy Forms Types of Wolves Hobgoblins Character Creation New Classes Alpha Packmaster Dread Warrior Hunter Skill of the Wild Wastes Howls Other Skills Mystic Items
3 4 4 6 7 9 12 14 15 17 18 18 19 20 21 21 23 26
The Farreaches From Masters of the Hunt by Lady Chandril Silveraxe the Well-travelled; historian, writer, and Dwarf
"Here there be Dragons" Many of the older maps of the middle lands placed these words across the great unknown that is the Farreaches. These realms still remain largely unmapped. The name "Farreaches" is a contraction of the descriptive phrase "far reaches," due to the fact that the physical limits of the land have not even been reached, as far as the loremasters of Midian are aware. The boundaries are poorly defined; being the area west of the Heldannic Freeholds, north of the Elven Homelands, and north and west of the Kingdom of Formour. The Farreaches are primarily a barren wasteland marked by often bitter cold interlaced with alternating droughts and floods. Strong winds gust up suddenly, and may arrive from any direction without warning. These winds blast the landscape, and contribute to the extremes of precipitation patterns. There are few readily identifiable terrain features. Most of the land is an open, rocky plain. Large, flat stones—often miles across—make agricultural efforts nearly impossible. There are places where a traveller may search for days before finding an area where there is enough soil within which to drive a tent peg. There are few trees in this area, and no known rivers. Little vegetation of any sort flourishes here, and what does grow is typically stunted and distorted by the harsh climate. The Farreaches are not completely devoid of life. Even some hardy members of the sentient species are known to survive here. Several tribes of Hobgoblin live here, as this was where their nation was driven to with the collapse of the Olde Empire. Trolls are found here as well, particularly Ice Trolls. Some Rock, or Cave Trolls dwell in the Farreaches, but their numbers are small. Humans who wish to avoid civilization may be found, either lone hermits, or small groups. There are no settlements larger than a village or small town anywhere in this desolate land. Humans are the most likely to form these communities, as the Hobgoblins tend to remain mobile, and the other species do not have the necessary concentration and numbers. An occasional Dwarf—removed from his or her clan—may be found here, as is—much more rarely—an Elf, Gaijin, or member of the other races. Some animal life exists here, as well. Small herds of oxen or sheep may be found eking out a meagre existence here, although these are often tended to by either Humans or Hobgoblins. Other hardy animals may occasionally be encountered. Elk, moose, scavenger birds, or small rodents and lagomorphs are to be found here. Predatory animals are, other than the sentient species, bears and wolves. The wolf is the lord of the Farreaches. It is the wolf's place to weed out the weak and infirm of all species—including Humans—from the land, lest all life sicken and starve. Cousin to both wolf and man are the Changing Folk. Properly known as Lycanthropes, these are commonly known as werewolves or wolfmen. The Changing Folk are believed to be found in abundant numbers throughout the Farreaches. If the travellers' stories are to be believed, these supernatural lupines may well be the only ones who stand a chance to prosper in the desolate Farreaches. 6
Survival Survival within the cold northern regions of Midian can be quite difficult. While heat kills twice as many people, the cold is a far more deadly. The terrain is either mountainous—offering thinner air to breathe and even colder temperatures, or it is flat & bleak stone—with no shelter from either sun nor wind. There is very little transitional terrain between these two extremes. Within either harsh condition, the amount of food & water will be sparse & often of poor quality. In recent months, the famine & pestilence that spreads across the north has rendered much of the available water supply undrinkable. Those unskilled in surviving these harsh conditions stand little chance at making it home alive. The lands furthest north, high atop the mountains of western Heldann, or winters throughout the region, are essentially unlivable [use these survival guidelines when under these conditions]. The sparse vegetation does little to scrub smoke & dust from the thin, cold air. When Hobgoblin raiders burn a village to the ground, a low haze settles across the land for miles. This is not to say that the air is stale & stagnant, however. The intense sunlight— untempered by cloud cover, now that the rains have stopped—does little to alleviate the bitter cold, but does charge the air with a crispness that makes restful sleep nearly impossible, especially when coupled with the very long "summer" days. Some travellers even report lands in the distant far northern wastes that know naught of night. Others report lands where the sun does not reach. Both varieties of tales are generally accepted by loremasters to be symptomatic of the cold freezing the brain. The dangers of northern survival—in addition to the cold weather itself—are sun, wind, dehydration, lack of sleep, and disorientation. It seems to travelers in the Farreaches, western arm of the Heldannic Freeholds, and the northern wastes, that the land itself desires the life & warmth within the fragile frames of those that dare trespass across it. Many travelers die from starvation rather than exposure—food is scarce there— and keeping warm requires a great deal of food & energy. [Cold causes one fatigue for every 30 minutes of exposure. Exceptionally harsh weather or inadequate protection can speed this check up further. The saving throw to avoid this is at a 14 +1 for every 10° below freezing. This is temperature after wind chill, and you are effectively 20° colder if wet. If the result of the saving throw is 2 or less (remember to subtract for fatigue points taken), the cold causes a hit point of damage instead.]
Rather than being the warming ally that it is in more temperate climes, the sun provides little or no heat—or at least it seems that way until nightfall. Sunlight on unprotected skin still can burn—the cold does not prevent this, and—in the snowy mountains of western Heldannic lands—the snow reflects the light into places normally overlooked when considering protection from the sun. The snow can cause one further complication: snow blindness. This can occur generally after 6 or more hours of exposure to sun-on-snow fields, and can last for days or even weeks. [By failing a saving throw against light/blindness at 16 +1 per hour after the sixth, sight is lost when the eyes swell shut. Roll every hour after the sixth.] This condition sneaks up on you rather than hits all at once. This causes any exposure to light to intensify the already unmanageable pain. Treatment for this is total darkness & cold packs on the eyes; the rest of the body needs to be kept warm. The wind robs the body of precious warmth and water. Wind also can cause dust or small flakes of snow to sting unprotected flesh. These small particles can get inside clothing, where they melt & drastically increase the chances of cold weather injury. Whiteouts can also occur when the wind, sun, clouds, and snow conspire to bring a solid white field with no reference points or depth perception. Under these conditions, movement is reduced to a near crawl, and ranged weapons become nearly impossible to accurately aim [half speed & -4 to hit, if the Game Master is feeling generous and wants you to make it out alive]. The wind also can lower the effective air temperature dramatically. Remember the 30-30-30 rule: at 30 below 0°, with 30 MPH wind, Human flesh freezes solid in 30 seconds. The effects of dehydration are not to be overlooked. Even if you don't think that it is cold enough for you to sweat, you are still losing water. Most sentient species require 2 quarts of water per day, 3 for Firps, Ogres, & large Trolls. If you do not receive adequate water, you cannot fight back the cold as well. With the sun, wind, and cold all robbing your body of water; your chances of survival with inadequate supplies are not great [missing a meal, or for every quart of water needed that you do not imbibe, take two points of fatigue—remember that this results in a penalty for saving throws, including those for the effects of cold weather—this fatigue cannot be recovered without adequate warmth, food, water, and rest]. Lack of sleep—and the accompanying disorientation—are the two final elemental killers of the wasted lands of the north. In addition to snow blindness & whiteouts, the lack of sleep causes generalized fatigue [1D10 points per night of forced sleep deprivation] that is difficult to recover from given the ionized air & often strangely long days. Being perpetually tired hinders your judgment. The open, stark plains of the Farreaches further complicate your sense of direction. Without terrain features, maps are all but useless. With enough cold-induced fatigue—heightened by the other mentioned hazards—the brain loses all sense of reality; nightmares give way to full hallucinations. Warmth is needed to recover from the effects of the harsh climate. If you are still cold, your body will not recover from exposure to the elements. [Knowing the appropriate survival skills allows you to retest (once daily) any of the saving throws against the harsh conditions. Cold resistance does help against the fatigue caused by the cold, but does not help against loss of sleep, food, or water.] 8
Lycanthropy By Zaire, Elven Healer and Loremistress of Zoology The 'Changing Folk' are a rare and secretive breed. This is perhaps because of the negative public opinion of them. There is evidence of wrongdoing by those afflicted with "the Madness" that affects those infected with the virus. The Madness typically affects newly infected werewolves during their first time shifting shape, and can last several months in some cases. An unfortunate few experience the Madness in a non-altered (Human) form. There are no recorded cases of this illness affecting nonHuman species, but the knowledge known about the virus is admittedly slim. One Elven story accounts a House that rode (and possibly interbred) with wolves, although no one could be found who had experience with them, and no supporting documents were found. There are myths of lycanthropes that shapeshift into other animals besides wolves, but there is neither evidence nor eyewitness accounts. The madness causes its victims to behave in a feral manner. The victim attacks anything in a frenzy, and does not even respond to his or her name. During the Madness, the victim is a wild beast and shows no signs of higher intelligence. This condition lasts until the werewolf falls unconscious (who then shifts back to Human shape). [The Madness occurs during the first time that the victim shapeshifts. Make a saving throw versus mental attacks to avoid (against a 24). Each successful save reduces the number needed on the saving throw by one; continue to roll for the Madness with each shapechange. If a natural 1 is rolled on any saving throw against the illness, then the Madness affects the werewolf even when he or she is in Human form. In this case, roll each day whether the victim shapeshifts or not. This aggravated condition lasts until the victim again succeeds on a saving throw against the illness. Those suffering the Madness cannot use any skills, and must make an additional saving throw not to attack anything that moves.] Lycanthropy is spread through fluid exchange. Bites may spread the virus through saliva, but claw or weapon attacks do not. Blood may spread the illness, but only when both werewolf and victim are in close contact and have open wounds. The victim's first change usually occurs the first night after infection. The nightmares that the disease causes trigger the shapeshifting, as does any stressful situation. The fever that accompanies the dreams (usually about running, hunting, and killing) is the first warning that the victim is infected. The shapeshifting is quite painful, particularly at first. The victim typically does nothing but howl in pain during the transformation. Due to the transmittable nature of this disease, and because of their desire for privacy, many among the Changing Folk do not leave any wounded survivors in combat. They often fight to the deathâ€”and those suffering the Madness certainly will do so as well. Most cases of infection arise from another infected person rather than 9
one born as a Lycanthrope; sudden outbreaks occur in this manner. There is a slight chance of infection via sexual contact. [Chance of infection is 1% chance per point of damage inflicted; roll at the end of combat. Damage resistance from toughness does not decrease the likelihood of infection. Chance of SDT infection is 1%. If the individual becomes infected, make a save vs. disease (17) to avoid becoming a werewolf. In a high-tension situation (such as combat, or even an argument) make a Willpower check to avoid changing shape. Shapeshifting for an infected werewolf takes 2D4 rounds, during which no tasks may be performed.] Like other viruses, this disease operates on a genetic level; permanently altering its victims, and possibly future generations. The instances of an infected victim (i.e. not born a werewolf) passing the disease down to progeny seem to be half the chances that those born to the disease have. If a child has one (naturally born) werewolf parent, he or she has a one-in-four chance of manifesting the disease. A child with a Lycanthropic grandparent has a 1-in-8 chance of being born a natural Lycanthrope. It is possible for the illness to manifest several generations past the original infected or naturally born ancestor, although the likelihood is small. However, having both parents that were born of the Changing Folk nets a 3 out of 4 chance. Again, these figures are half for children born of an infected parent. The first signs of the disease for these children show sometime during puberty, although there are some that manifest earlier or later. Children with both parents being naturally born Changing Folk tend to show symptoms far earlier than other children. This broad range and likelihood of non-manifestation may help explain why many werewolf families will leave their children with non-infected relatives, or even abandoning them to non-related Humans. The birth parents in these cases typically try to stay in the children's lives or at least observe for signs of manifestation. There is one legend among the Changing Folk that a mother stayed by her child's side in wolf-form as the family pet in order to watch over her son until he shapeshifted for the first time-only then revealing herself to him. Clans of werewolves—called "companies"—will collectively try and watch over 'lost' children if the birth parents are unavailable. Companies that have a high instance of early manifestation may keep their children with the parents, but those children who do not manifest the disease will have a more difficult time growing up. Fully Human children simply cannot run as fast or hunt as well as wolves. Living a life constantly on the move—an act of necessity—is far more difficult if one of the company cannot simply change shape and run with the rest. Please note that werewolf companies do not always abandon their young. Many raise their own children, sometimes even including those that remain Human. Some of these even keep their Human children in the company as adults. Those that live far from Humans are more likely to raise their own young.
One sagacious alchemist had this to add:
... a reason for the dramatic change in werewolves. I feel that it could be explained in part by the adrenal gland. Possibly in enlarged or over productive or an enhanced hormone a more potent form of an existing hormone.
Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, increases blood pressure, heart and metabolic rate, and blood sugar levels; dilates blood vessels. Released in times of high stress or high physical activity. Norepinephrine a hormone, secreted by the adrenal gland and similar to epinephrine, that is also the principal neurotransmitter of sympathetic nerve endings supplying the major organs and skin. It increases blood pressure and rate and depth of breathing, raises the level of blood sugar, and decreases the activity of the intestines. Those that are naturally born as Lycanthropes do not suffer The Madness and their shapeshifting is not painful, as infected werewolves must suffer. Naturally born Changing Folk shapeshift in a fraction of the time that those infected do. [Only one round for changing shape, and can act during that round.] There are five different variations of form that a werewolf may take when it shapeshifts. The first form is completely Human. The second is a monstrous-Human shape that moves bipedally, and has increased hair, nail, and tooth growth. The third shape is a half-form; this is a blend of Human and wolf. The head shows a more canine definition, and the body is completely covered in fur. The feet are usually altered to digitigrades (walks on its toes like a wolf), but this form moves bipedallyâ€”although running may be done on all-fours. The halfform is somewhat taller, about 20%, than the Human form from the modifications to the feet, legs, and neck. The fourth form is a monstrous-wolf. This is essentially a canine shape that retains some Human features. The forepaws are capable of manipulating objects, and the werewolf is still capable of speechâ€” although somewhat difficult to understand. This form moves on all four feet, but is as obviously non-wolf as the monstrous-Human shape is obviously non-human. The final form that a Lycanthrope may take is that of a completely wolf shape. In this form, they are indistinguishable from other canines. In the wolf form the Lycanthrope has about half its mass as when in the other forms. While the naturally-born werewolf can change between these forms at will, the infected Lycanthrope typically uses only one form other than Human. 11
Human: the original unaltered form, no modifications Monstrous-Human: Appearance traits: Distinctive, Fierce, -2 Appearance Personality traits: Speech Impediment, -1 on social skill checks Strength traits: Brawny x 5, Powerful, +2 damage, +3 on checks Agility traits: Good Coordination, Steady Stamina traits: Endurance x 2, Toughness, +1 save vs crushing, +10% system shock Awareness traits: Heightened Sense of Smell +3 Speed, Bite 1D4, Claw 1D4 Half-form: Appearance traits: Distinctive, Fierce x 2, Imposing, -6 Appearance Personality traits: Aggressive, Speech Impediment x 2, -4 on social skill checks Strength traits: Brawny x 8, Powerful x 3, +4 damage, +5 on checks Agility traits: Good Coordination, Steady Stamina traits: Endurance x 3, Toughness x 2, + 2 vs crushing, +12% system shock Awareness traits: Heightened Sense of Smell x 2, Heightened Hearing, +3 on checks +6 Speed, Bite 1D10, Claw 1D6 Monstrous wolf: Appearance traits: Fierce x 2, Imposing, -10 Appearance Personality traits: Aggressive, Speech Impediment x 4, -8 on social skill checks Strength traits: Brawny x 8, Powerful x 3, +4 damage, +5 on checks Agility traits: Balance Well, Lean, Poor Hand-Eye Coordination x 2 Stamina traits: Athletic x 2, Endurance x 2, Toughness x 2, + 2 vs crushing, +12% system shock Awareness traits: Heightened Sense of Smell x 3, Heightened Hearing x 2, +4 on checks +15 Speed, Bite 1D10, Claw 1D6 Wolf: Appearance traits: Fierce, Forgettable, -8 Appearance Personality traits: cannot speak, -12 on social skill checks Strength traits: Brawny x 5, Powerful, +2 damage, +3 on checks Agility traits: Balance Well, Lean, no hands Stamina traits: Athletic x 2, Endurance x 2, Toughness, +2 save vs chemicals & crushing, +15% system shock Awareness traits: Heightened Sense of Smell x 6, Heightened Hearing x 2, +5 on checks +30 Speed, Bite 1D10 The Game Master determines which form that the infected werewolf's disease prefers. The social skill penalty does not apply against other Lycanthropes, telepaths, and those with the Way with Animals trait. 12
Lycanthropes communicate with one another much in the same fashion as wolves. There are a number of different howls barks and whines that have different meanings. These are not instinctive, and must be learned by the new werewolves, much as a Human child learns its parents' language. Howls may indicate: birth or loss, territory, social status, to assemble the company, signal other werewolves, personal identification, Howls can carry up to 6 miles in mountainous terrain, and 10 miles in open country. Contrary to belief, werewolves do not howl at the moon, nor is the moon connected to their illness. This idea may have come from the fact that you can hear wolves more often during a full moon. The fact is, if you listen carefully, you will hear more of everything during a full moonâ€”it is brighter and therefore, there is more activity. Werewolves, being nocturnal animals, do their socializing at night. [See the New Skills section.] The Changing Folk are a tough, hardy breed. They recover from damage quickly, and are resilient enough to overcome most disease and toxins. They are adept at both dealing and receiving damage [supernatural strength (for level 5+ Alpha Packmasters), triple healing speed, & retest against disease & poison]. It is worth noting that a Lycanthrope generally retains whatever shape he or she is in when slain. That is, one in monstrous-wolf form when killed will remain as such rather than revert to a Human form. The exception to this rule is when an infected Lycanthrope is slain when under the effects of the Madness. In this case, he or she reverts to Human after death. There are six different known types of wolves in Midian, each with an accompanying variety of Lycanthrope. [Modifyers for wolf type affect all forms, including fully-Human.] An infected Lycanthrope almost always assumes the wolftype of the one that infected him or her. However, an infected Lycanthrope who's ancestry contained one of the Changing Folk [Wolf Blood Background] may possibly assume the wolf-type of his or her ancestor [player's choice].
Types of wolves in order of numerical superiority from most common too most rare: Timber Wolves: northwestern Formour, western Heldannic Freeholds, Farreaches usually mixed-coloration pattern, with grey, black, and/or brown [+1 to all physical & miscellaneous attributes; +3 hit points] Steppe Wolves: throughout Formour, may be occasionally found in Heldannic or Elven lands, or into the Farreaches mostly dark grey with white, some have patterns with black or brown [+2 Grace, +3 Strength, Toughness trait] Tundra Wolves: northern Heldannic lands, Farreaches, and further north to the pole light coat, often white [+2 Strength +3 Stamina, 20% cold resistance] Bren Wolves: deserts in Byzant solid or mottled tan [+1 Wits, +2 Agility, +1 Stamina, +1 Awareness, +2 Speed, 1/4 water requirement] Sea Wolves: Heldannic Freeholds & surrounding islands, including the Killian Empire solid yellowish tan or black [+2 Personality, +2 Agility, +1 Stamina, instinctive Swimming skill at master level] Storm Wolves: mountains surrounding Elven Homeland and nearby forrests, Farreaches; Lycanthropic Storm Wolves are never encountered inside the Elven Homelandâ€”they restricted to the bordering mountains by the Elves who will slay any within the Homeland solid black or grey with very pale eyes [+3 Personality, +2 Willpower, +3 initiative]
Hobgoblins Hobgoblins once had an expansive military Empire throughout Midian. From the Heldannic Freeholds in the north and east, south to the Byzant Empire, and west to the borders of the Elven Homelands, the Olde Empire of the Hobgoblins ruled its territory by terror and steel. Most Hobgoblins stand about 5 feet to 5' 6" and weigh between 130 to 180 pounds. They are stockier than Humans & have slightly longer arms. They have flat faces with sunken eyes and a wide jaw. Hobgoblin skin tends towards sandy brown with their hair usually a dark grey. Eyes may be dark red, bright green, deep brown, or shiny black. Hobgoblin ears are large and pointed and sit high upon their heads; some compare their ears to those of cats or dogs. Hobgoblins see well in low-light conditions. Their large ears pick up all but the faintest sounds. They are strong of limb and personality, but are often rather weakwilled. This general lack of strong will contributes greatly to their susceptibility to magic. Most of the inhabitants of the middle lands are familiar with the Hobgoblins that dwell within the area known as the Hobgoblin Enclaveâ€”a forest in the Kingdom of Formour. This was once the site of the last survivors of the Hobgoblin Emperor's last stand when the Olde Empire was destroyed. Those that surrendered were allowed to remain within the forest for the remainder of their days. These descendants of the Imperial family and their bodyguards are known as the Juran tribe. The Hobgoblins who remain in Formour still see themselves as being little more than prisoners-of-war. Being surrounded by Humans serves as a constant reminder of their defeat. The Hobgoblins of the Enclave are a pathetic remnant of their former glory, going from lords among conquerors to mere farmers. These Hobgoblins herd goats, and scavenge what they can from the forest. The cheese they produce is their primary cash-producing product. Many Formourian Humans, and nearly all Dwarves, are prejudiced against them. The majority of the Hobgoblin tribes escaped north beyond the cold borders of their lands, into what are now the Heldannic Confederation and eventually the Farreaches. As Humans began to settle the Heldannic landsâ€”and Dwarves reclaimed their old homes, these tribes were all driven into the depths of the Farreaches. Many believed that they were eventually slain by the harsh conditions of the Farreaches, but 5 tribes survived, eking out a minimalist life there. These tribes are: Devex, Lestin, Glandan, Levron, and Chatomel. A new tribe has arisen 50 winters ago in those desolate lands, the Nymil. Two tribes remain in the Byzant Empire, the Daevon and Tannex tribes. These are the remainders of the first to fall when Humans expanded into the north. As these invaders conquered the entire southern continent, the Hobgoblins that were not slain or pushed north eventually became integrated into society. In many ways, these two tribes have drawn the best lot of all surviving Hobgoblins. In joining the 15
growing Byzant Empire as citizens, they were able to channel their aggression and competitiveness into the marketplace. Many of the finest (and most ruthless) of Bizzannite syndics are Hobgoblins. As citizens of the Byzant Empire are measured more by wealth than by heritage, successful Hobgoblin merchants fare far better than either their disadvantaged Enclave cousins, or their starving and freezing relations in the far north. In addition to their mercenary tendencies towards finances, the Hobgoblins of the Byzant Empire also produce brandy and their traditional cheeses. Despite these small successes—or perhaps because of them— the Hobgoblins of Byzant keep to themselves, even in this cosmopolitan culture. Hobgoblins of the Olde Empire divided their society into two distinct castes, warrior and shepherd. The warrior caste formed the leadership and upper class of Hobgoblin society; all male Hobgoblins aspired to be considered true warriors. The shepherd caste were the general laborers of the Empire. They were expected to fight when conscripted, but did not share in the glory. A malnourished goat herder armed with tools tied to sticks cannot adequately compete with a trained, armed, and armored opponent. Each clan is led by a "Grandfather-General" from the warrior caste in this militaristic culture. From the perspective of the modern Hobgoblin, the necessities of survival—from the toadying Enclave Hobgoblins, to the mercantile Byzannite Hobgoblins, to the harsh survivalists of the Farreaches—all have been effectively demoted from warrior to shepherd, with no hopes of gaining greater status. Traditional Hobgoblin clothing consists of trophy sash and kilt. The latter has been incorporated into common clothing amongst Heldannic Humans, particularly those of the western mountains. Each tribe is associated with a particular color. This is found in the patterns of their kilts, in their war banners (not seen since the Olde Empire crumbled), and is often the only color of their trophy sash. These sashes have great personal value; Hobgoblins mark victories and major milestones by placing badges on the sash as a commemoration. The Juran, Daevon, and Tannex tribes have lost this tradition.
Character Creation: Hobgoblin Dice rolled to determine attributes:
Appearance: 3D6 Personality: 3D6+3 Grace: 3D6 Knowledge: 3D6-1 Wits: 2D8+1 Willpower: 2D6+1
Strength: Agility: Stamina: Awareness: Speed: Common Sense:
3D6+3 3D6 2D8+3 3D6 3D6-1 2D6+3
Average ability scores: Appearance—10, Personality—14, Grace—11, Knowledge—9, Wits—10, Willpower—8, Strength—13, Agility—10, Stamina—12, Awareness—11, Speed—10, Common Sense—10. Hunter: low-light vision; retest on hearing-related Awareness checks, & can hear beyond the Human range; can sit still & quiet for long periods Susceptible to Magic: does not apply to psionics; -3 on magic saving throws; mystic effects that target them directly (not area or group effect) last twice as long Intense Nationalistic Pride: free retest against forced betrayal of the Hobgoblin people (or Olde Empire), or being enslaved; these warriors do not question the orders of their superiors often Hobgoblins are conditioned by their harsh lives into robust, hardy fighters, & receive 1D8+2 hit points to start. Player character Hobgoblins may choose to be from any tribe. The colors of each clan are listed below. Enclave Juran
yellow light green
Farreaches Chatomel Devex Glandan Lestin Levron Nymil Warriors without a tribe (for whatever reason) 17
orange brown blue red dark green black white
New Classes The following are three new classes common to the Farreaches. They are: the Alpha Packmaster of the Changing Folk, the Dread Warrior of the Hobgoblin armies, and the Hunter—common to all species of the bitter north. The Alpha is the ruling leader of a wolf pack. The Alpha Packmaster is the dominant warrior of a Lycanthrope company, skilled in the arts of combat as well as the skills of a natural leader. Additionally, the Packmaster develops his or her innate supernatural abilities into a finely honed killing machine.
Alpha Packmaster Skills: Animal Lore Body Check Brawling Culture (Changing Folk) Glare or Intimidation Hiding Hunting Power Block Public Speaking Running Superstitions: choose 2 Survival (home terrain) Tactics Tailing Take It Like a Man Tracking Travel Sense
Skill cost: 14 Requirements: Changing folk only Minimum Personality: 14 Minimum Willpower: 12 Either Strength or Stamina—in Human form—of 13+ Training time: 6 months 1D6 hit points I.P.B.S. points equal to class level Understand canines—not speech, but basic understanding (i.e. danger, personal howls) Add class level to social skills when dealing with other Lycanthropes Considered a supernatural creatures
Level bonuses 2. Regenerate 1 hit point per hour 3. Status: Warrior; +1 to attacks with natural weapons 4. Darksight: can see in darkness, smoke, fog, and magical blindness; regenerate 1 hit point per 10 minutes 5. Status: Named, gains a 'Name of Valour' during a tribal ceremony, this is a major event in an alpha packmaster's life; Supernatural Strength 6. +2 to initiative; regrowth of limbs and organs, takes about 1 week 7. Sprint: add 30 to Speed for one round, once per battle 8. Toughness x2; regenerate 1 hit point per minute 9. Psychic scents: can use the Tracking skill even when no tracks may be left 10. Status: Acknowledged, you are now a leader among your people; regenerate 1 life point per hour 11. Thermal vision, can see heat 12. +1D8 hit points; regenerate 1 life point per 10 minutes 13. double jumping distances 14. Control canines: they can understand your commands & treat you as their pack leader; status: Dominant 15. +2 initiative; +2 to attacks and damage; regenerate 1 life point per minute 16. Berserker background; status: Enraged 17. +3 to all physical attributes 18. Charm Lycanthropes: must make a saving throw vs 1/2 class level, or treat you as their leader Per additional level: +1 life point Per additional even level: +1 to all martial proficiencies
The Dread Warriors are some of the fiercest opponents that most will ever have the misfortune to encounter. Originally developed from the (remnants of) the elite of the Old Empire, this special breed of fighter combines the pride & indomitable survival instinct of the Hobgoblins, with a nearly unbeatable stormtrooper fighting style. Learning from the past, these battlers practice with both horse & bow, as well as in negotiating skills. A force to be reckoned with either sweeping down on an opponent in a lightning fast strike, or in a social setting where their strong personalities dominate just as effectively. The Dread Warrior is the true elite of Hobgoblin pride.
Dread Warrior Skills Alertness Bartering Body Check Bow Maintenance Conversational Dominance Dodge Epics Horsemanship: Cavalry & Grooming Hunting Insults Intimidation Land Navigation Melee Weapon (Mass) II Military History Mounted Leap Power Block Select one additional Weapon proficiency I Shepard Suite: Animal Husbandry, Animal Lore, Packing Superstitions (select 2) Survival (select one: Arctic, Mountain, or Steppe) Take It Like a Man II Walking Weapon Maintenance
Skill cost: 17 Requirements: Minimum 14 stamina Minimum 12 strength Hobgoblins only Training time: 9 months Bonus background: Accustomed to cold +1D8 hit points Bonus equipment: trophy sash, color appropriate to tribe one free normal weapon
Level bonuses 2. Status: Warrior 3. +2 to all weapon proficiencies 4. +4 to cause fear & intimidation 5. Status: Warrior x2 6. Double damage when ambushing 7. Status: Dominant 8. +1D6 hit points 9. No-Scream: retest against pain, & interrogation 10. Immunity to fear 11. Status: Feared 12. upgrade all martial skills two levels 13. 10% damage resistance to one damage type: fire, hacking, smashing, or stabbing 14. +1D6 hit points 15. Dread Gaze: it is obvious to all who see your eyes that you are a fierce opponent 16. Vengeance: sacrifice some life points for equal additional damage to an opponent; lose these points before the attack roll is made Each additional level: +1 hit point Each additional even level: +1 to all weapon proficiencies
Quiet and stalking, the Hunter tracks her prey. Knowledgeable in all forms of hunting & trapping, and expert with a number of chosen prey, the Hunter is an invaluable asset to both adventuring guilds and communities in these barren lands.
Hunter Skills: Alertness Animal Lore Boasting Culture (native culture) Hunting III Leatherworking Recognize Tracks Running Scrounging Sneaking Superstitions: choose 2 Survival (home terrain) Tracking Trapping Travel Sense Select one martial proficiency at level II
Skill cost: 8 Requirements: Minimum Willpower: 9 Minimum Alertness: 13 Minimum Speed: 12 Minimum Common Sense: 9 Training time: 3 months
Level bonuses: 2. +1 to class proficiencies 3. Specialty: +3 to skills when dealing with one specific animal type 4. +3 vs disease & poison 5. +1 to all attacks 6. Additional weapon proficiency 7. Additional animal specialty, or may increase initial specialization 8. +3 to any one saving throw 9. +2 Stamina 10. +4 Speed 11. Additional animal specialty, or may increase previous specialization 12. Bonus trait: I.P.B.S. 13. Use Survival skill for any familiar terrain
Per additional level: +1 to any one class proficiency Per additional odd-numbered level: either additional specialization (may increase previous specialization), or +1 level of I.P.B.S.
Skills of the Wild Wastes Howls Unless otherwise noted, these are social basic skills, and require 90 hours to learn. Changing Folk receive a free retest on the Common Sense check to test-down the time required. Call to Arms Apprentice This howl allows you to summon your company and allies. Those hearing & understanding this howl (based on skill level) know who the caller is, approximate distance & direction, & whether the howl is for battle or an emergency. An apprentice is able to howl to one mile, alerting her company to her need. A journeyman can call out to 3 miles for his allies & all Lycanthropes with a request for aid. The master's howl can be heard for 10 miles, and she can determine exactly who may understand the call—others hearing merely a wolf's cry. Claimant Howl This howl announces that a given area belongs to you and/or your company. Cry of Panic Martial This mournful howl lowers specific resistances & the armor class of your opponent. A successful contest between your Personality and their Willpower divides their specific resistances—such as stabbing, fire, or crushing—by 20%, and lowers their armor class by -2. This howl sends chills up their spine, reducing their ability to passively defend themselves. This skill affects a all opponents within a reasonably close range—inside the same room or about 30 feet away. Fearful Howl Martial Proficiency Counts as 2 skills at character creation The fearful howl stuns enemies if they fail a saving throw vs. intimidation at a 10 + the skill level. All enemies within close hearing range (about 300 yards) are affected, as are allies that have not yet grown accustomed to the use of this ability. Stunning the enemies in this manner acts as a surprise round, & may be used once per battle. Howl of Glory This howl is used to glorify the actions of a member of your company. The heroic deeds are sent onto the winds, & the other Changing Folk who hear repeat it to 21
others further away. In this manner the outstanding deeds are made known across the land. Howl of Moons' Passing Used to alert other companies of a pending disaster. Severe weather, approaching armies, and fire, all are considered dire times ahead. Howl of Sorrow Used when a member of the company is slain. All who hear this mournful cry are made aware of the pain & grief of loss. Those responsible for the death will feel some remorse upon hearing the howl. Howl of the Hunt Traditional company howl to signify a great hunt; used both before & after. Hunted Dreams Mystic Often used for unmeted justice, this howlâ€”when heard by its intended sleeping victimâ€”causes nightmares where he or she is being chased & hunted by unseen assailants. The victim may possibly awake with cold sweats (if the howling still continues, this may clue the victim in as to who is responsible). The loss of sleep causes one fatigue point for every half-hour of nightmares. The victim receives a saving throw at 14 or better. Juno's Mastery 60 hours Your howls extend for miles; increase all ranges by tenfold. Luna's Invitation This howl is used to announce a general meeting that an area is open to all, or simply an excuse to get together. Taunting Bark By goading your opponent, and keeping him or her off balance mentally, you are able to lower their attack and parry bonuses by -3; this effect lasts until the end of the round in which you attack your prey. This affects a single enemy within melee range. This skill is best when used as part of tactical combat with allies, as the penalties your opponent suffer last until you stop using this bark in order to attack; you may continue to taunt your opponent while your allies attack, however.
Warning Bark Proficiency [Awareness] 200 hours This skill increases the advantage of pack tactics; Warning Bark gives packmates +1 to armor class (yes, stackable for each one who uses this skill) for the round on successful skill check.
Other skills common to the lands of the north: Bulldogedness Martial Basic 400 hours You are able to lock your jaw after biting an opponent. Your Willpower is added to the effective gripping Strength. Even death cannot separate your teeth. If the jaw cannot be pried loose, it must be cut off. Calling Mystic Proficiency [Personality] 400 hours Favored by conjurers, this mystic ability allows you to summon a supernatural entity that you have bound to you. The spirit must not be physically restricted from travel, and you must know the proper name of said spirit (even if its only a name is one that you gave it). You must first bind the spirit to answer such summons first, through art of the deal, defeating it in combat, preparing a sacrifice, or doing favors for the entityâ€”the exact details are dependant on the spirit in question & the twisted whims of the Game Master. Fang & Claw Style Martial Basic 600 hours You allow your instinctive rage to take over in battle. When fighting with only natural weaponry, you receive a +6 to initiative, +4 to attacks, +2 to parry, & +1 damage. Folding Body Martial Proficiency [Wits] 600 hours Double learning difficulty This skill is only possible for those able to alter their form in some manner. By shapeshifting while being struck a blow, the potential damage may be cut in half 23
(rounded up). The skill check to accomplish this is at 12 + the damage received; failure indicates that a more sensitive area was damaged, & an additional 1D6 points of damage are taken. Use of this skill counts as a defensive action (taking the place of a parry, block, or dodge). Inner Fury Mystic Apprentice 600 hours This potent battle-magic allows you to burn out your own body to wreak havoc on your foes. At the cost of one life-point per round, your strength is increased by +5, initiative by +3, stabbing resistance of +5%, and you do not feel the effects of shock, pain, or fatigue. You are still aware of when you are about to completely burn out your life force, but you do have the option of continuing into death (one last round, then you drop). After you discontinue use of this skill, you suffer from 1D6 fatigue points. A journeyman is able to make a Stamina check to avoid the fatigue cost, & increases the stabbing resistance to 10%. The master gains a retest on all Stamina checks while this skill is in use (excepting the check to avoid fatigue, at that point the skill is no longer in use), increases the initiative bonus to +4, & the stabbing resistance is matched by a crushing resistance of 10%. Mark the Territory Social Basic 200 hours By urinating & scratching trees or other objects, one may mark one's territory. Knowledge of this skill also includes recognizing the boundaries of another's territory. Personal Totem Mystic Proficiency [Stamina] 300 hours This is a small personal totem made "out of the carcass of his slain enemies" or as a tattoo. This causes a fear effect—those who oppose this warrior—and are able to see the totem—must save against emotive magic at 5+ the skill level or be intimidated. This is blood magic and requires the warrior to expend 5 life points to create the totem. Predation Social Proficiency [Grace] 200 hours You have the air of a predator. Most predatory animals in your presence will treat you as one of their own—or at least not want to mess with you. If this skill is used 24
against an animal that already feels cornered or otherwise threatened, then this skill may backfire, resulting in a possible attack. Sentient beings typically feel uneasy when in the presence of someone using this skill. Sense Weakness Social Proficiency [Awareness] 400 hours By watching a group for at least a few minutes, you are able to roughly estimate their combative abilities: which is weakest, who is the leader, if you have a good chance of taking down any one in particular, etc. Spirit Charm Mystic Proficiency [Personality] 600 hours You are able to coax spirit into an object for a time. The exact duration & effects are dependent on the nature of the spirit and how well the enchanter is at convincing it. There may be a small token act or sacrifice to convince the spirit to enter the object. This is dependent on the in-character interaction between the enchanter and the spirit at the time of the imbuing. Tribal Totem Mystic Basic 1000 hours Requires Mastery of Magic Lore Counts as 2 skills at character creation This is the knowledge of how to enchant a large immobile pole that protects a village. One or more animals or spirits must be defeated & slain, and bound into the totem. This is typically carved out of woodâ€”occasionally stoneâ€”and is often decorated with painted features & fetish-items attached. Each animal or entity sacrificed for the tribal totem is represented on the pole, & each adds at least one special feature to the village. For example, a bear may help keep the village alive through a cold winter, a hawk may warn of approaching danger in the form of a dream, a fire Elemental may prevent the homes from burning, etc. The effects are subtle, and generally do not need game statistics. From the example, the Elemental would stop a dropped candle from destroying a house, but couldnâ€™t prevent raiders from setting torch to the village. Learning this skill requires a solid knowledge of the culture for which you are shaping the totem in addition to strong knowledge of the principles of magic. Creation of a tribal totem requires at least two months.
Undo Scent Technical Basic 200 hours This is the knowledge of different methods to alter one's smell to that of a different animal. You know what portions of an animal's anatomy contains the needed glands, and are able to extract such and apply it to your person to mask your native odor. War Song Social Basic 200 hours You are able to inspire your comrades-at-arms in battle. Hearing this before combat, they receive a retest against fear, panic, or any other emotive drive that may make them flee the field. Whispers of the Spirit Mystic Apprentice 800 hours Counts as 2 skills at character creation This skill allows you to speak to a variety of non-corporeal entities. The spirits of those departed—that still retain some measure of sentience, Elementals, astral travelers, Demons, and most of the Fae are able to hear & understand your words— even if your exact meaning is unclear. Language is not a barrier, nor is physical blocks; the entity need only be in the vicinity. This skill only allows one-way communication; the entity may not be able to reply in kind. Note also that being able to hear & understand you does not compel the entities to do as you ask.
Mystic items found within the northern lands Liebeck Charter: The mystic script on this parchment enables you to deflect the blame of your actions or responsibility onto someone else—anyone else—just not you. When worn as a bib in full view, the Charter enables you to make a saving throw against Personal Responsibility at an 18 or higher to deflect the social consequences onto another person or group. Note that this item does not protect against the physical consequences, however, just the social ones. The Liebeck Charter allows you to state, "it's not my fault," and have people believe that this is officially true—although a noninvolved observer may still feel that the situation is bullshit. The mind-numbing effect does have negative consequences to its wearer: your effective Knowledge is halved with respect to mathematics. Light Burden: This small leather pouch is just large enough to hold a large book (or human skull...) and bears a shoulder strap & decorative leather fringe. The term is applied to two different types of magic item. One variety is keyed to its owner & a 26
mystic word of power. When word is spoken by one who has kept the Burden within close proximity for at least a week, it will apport itself into its owner's shoulder. The second variety is a form of D-purse that connects to a separate space & may hold a large number of objects without adding to either weight or bulk to the bag itself. This form of the Light Burden differs from a standard D-purse in that it can empathically discern what its possessor desires, & can only hold objects that could physically fit into the bag itself. There are rumours of a Light Burden bag that possesses properties of both varieties, but this remains unsubstantiated, and many summoners & neithermancers maintain that this would be impossible to create. Vicious Claive [of Wounding] Proficiency: Hand Attack: -2 Parry: +1; short blade, but basket-handle; opponents receive +2 on parries Damage type: Stabbing Damage: 1D4+6 + Strength bonus Special: stays attached even when the user shapeshifts Feature: jagged; +2 to disarm; opponents receive +3 to catch or disarm Handle: Specialâ€”basket & straps Size: 4-inch blade, 1/2 inch claws; 1 pound Encumbrance: None Cost: 300+ guilder [350+ guilder] This dark blade causes ragged wounds that are difficult to heal. These tears in the flesh take three times as long to heal & the heightened ability of some creatures to regenerate does not assist them. Only the normal healing (at one-third the rate) applies. The wound festers, and infection is likely. They retain the characteristic flexible basket that straps onto the hands/feet. The main blade is thin and double-edged with a jagged edge, and extending vertically from the back of the hand. Two smaller serrated curved 'claws' are on each side of the blade along each knuckle. The weapon is used in a stabbing motion so that the blade penetrates deeply while the claws rake the flesh further. The basket is mostly open along the palm allowing the user to hold other objects or run freely, although the basket and blades may complicate difficult movement and combat manoeuvres. [Vicious claives of wounding are especially dangerous. These hand-blades cause severe blood loss that cannot be staunched without being bandaged (again regeneration does not help).]