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The end of the world is nigh, and it's all your fault.
According to the official scriptures of Gershan, God created the world nine hundred and ninety-four years ago, and decreed a thousand years should pass before its death. The scriptures have nothing to say about magicians, though rumour has it that the world's mages are the only ones who'll prove worthy to enter heaven.
According to the official scriptures of Bernea, the seven gods created the world many ages ago, and will meet together for a final battle at the end of time, which will destroy the world and everything in it. The world's magicians, so the scriptures say, will be taken out of the world to fight alongside the gods they serve and will therefore escape the destruction by abandoning their humanity. The portent that all this is about to take place is an eclipse of the sun at midday. That happened yesterday.
According to the teaching of the Solist philosophy, the world came into being spontaneously, created out of the energy of a dying star. Magicians have been drawing on that energy ever since, and steadily draining it. We have six years left before the world runs out of energy entirely. Then we will all die.
Guess what people are choosing to believe.
'Conclave' runs for a fixed length of 24 turns, each one being 3 months in game time. Main turns fall due on the 1st of each month (including January 1st). In addition, there is the opportunity for subsidiary turns on the 15th of each month. Play is by email only and will follow the format of Inferno and Mammon Incwith an individual turn and a general newssheet every time.
All fantasy professions are available - magician, craftsman, wandering hero, barbarian leader, city politician and anything else you care to think of - and human, elf and dwarf races. Overlapping magical, religious, political, racial and geographical factions should ensure plenty of diplomacy from the start.
The History and Magic of the World
The world consists of two large continents divided by a stretch of treacherous sea. Over time, two empires came into being - the Gershans and the Berneans. The Berneans were exclusively elven, living in the woodlands of their continent, setting up a few cities and ignoring rumours of humans and dwarves on the other continent.
The Gershans, predominantly human, expanded more rapidly, and more aggressively. Spreading over the entire continent, they quickly absorbed the smaller dwarven settlements in the mountainous north and established cities along the length of the Lyvan River. Then the empire turned its attention to the land off its west coast.
As the territories of the two empires overlapped, there were many clashes between them, and three major wars. The last of these happened seventy years ago and so many people were killed that the two sides agreed a peace treaty which has lasted to the present day.
During this time of peace, the two empires have intermingled to such an extent that most ordinary people don't regard themselves as belonging to either side. Sporadic barbarian raids continued, especially in the north of the Bernean territory, but these have come to be regarded as a minor nuisance, and the cities are rarely affected.
Their separate religions still survive but Berneans are quite happy to accept that some people only worship one god (whilst they maintain that there are seven) while Gershans believe either that the Berneans are mistaken, or that they are worshipping seven aspects of the one god. Some people have cared enough to write treatises on the subject. Most people haven't cared about it one way or the other. Up to now.
Repent, for the end of the world is nigh...
Five years ago saw the emergence of the Solist philosophy, a religion that has grown rapidly in popularity. Atheistic, the Solists believe the world was created by a burst of energy when a star died. That energy is what powers the world today, and it is what magicians tap into as the source of their power. They are violently anti-magic. At worst, they say, magicians are charlatans, fooling a gullible public. At best they are wasting the energy of the universe and will bring about the death of the world. The Solists have measured the energy left in the universe, and the rate at which that energy is being used up and predicts there are only six years left.
This happened at a time when rumours were beginning to surface that the world is coming to an end. Gershans and Berneans have agreed that the end will come in approximately six years time. All of a sudden, people are taking an interest in religion again. And, as mages are either the cause of the destruction, or will be the only ones to benefit from it, they are becoming very unpopular.
The Solist faith has no formal structure. It was founded by Amphion - an illiterate farmer from a village near the city of Tredl in the northern territories of the Gershan homeland. He claims to have received the entire philosophy in a vision - and if anyone sees anything incongruous about a materialist atheism stemming from a divine vision, they have not yet taken the matter up with the founder. It is very popular with peasants and farmer and such, people who think they've had a raw deal so far.
Amphion now lives in Tredl, conducting public meetings daily.
The Gershan Faith
The Gershan faith is monotheistic, believing in one God who created the world as some sort of huge experiment. He made three races of people and gave them free will so they could rule themselves. He also gave certain people power of the elements of the world so they could use their powers for the benefit of others. The faith is administered through a formal structure with temples in all cities and small, outlying churches that oversee a fixed 'parish.' In charge of each church is a bishop who is generally wealthy and wields some political power, having influence over the various landowners and important people in the parish as well as being a figurehead for the local population.
The Bernean Faith and Elemental Magic
The Bernean religion is a pantheon, based on seven gods who each represent one of the elements of the physical world.
* KAISHA - fire (goddess), red-haired and hot-tempered, unpredictable. Her spells centre on attack. She has a natural allegiance with Hakan (metal) and Tadewi (wind.)
A basic level 1 fireball is enough to singe an enemy's eyebrows. A level 10 fireball will toast the entire area.
* Her sister, and enemy, GALA - water. Blonde, placid, but capable of great destruction if roused. Spells centre on defence/knowledge. She has an allegiance with Tadewi (wind.)
A bowl of water can be used as a focus to see events a long way off (the further the distance, the higher the level of the spell.) Other spells could involve freezing water to create armour or defences, breathing under water, or parting a river to walk across on dry ground.
* SCARRE - earth (god.) Black-haired, brown-skinned, he is even-tempered and patience, tending towards long-term plans. Spells centre on healing, and his followers can also have some limited control over the plants and animals of the world. He has an allegiance with Gala (water) and Oake (wood.)
A level one healing will heal cuts and bruises. Level 10 can bring someone back from near death.
* TADEWI - wind (goddess) - pale skin, white hair, given to quick changes of mood and tends to be flighty, living for the day. Spells centre on attack / movement. She has an allegiance with Gala (water), Kaisha (fire) and Hakan (metal.)
A level one wind blast will knock an average person over without hurting them. Flight is a level 10 spell.
* OAKE - wood (god). Slow, strong, deep-thinking, he has a natural affinity with Earth. Spells centre on defence/strength. He has an allegiance with Gala (water) and Scarre (earth.)
A level 3 spell could allow a mage to remain rooted to the spot like a tree, warding off attack.
* MASKA - stone (god). Grey-haired, the oldest of the gods, he appears harsh and uncaring about humanity. Elves regard him as the father of the dwarves. Dwarves do not. He has few followers, and his disciples tend to be loners. Spells centre on wisdom and defence. He is neutral, having no allegiances with other gods.
Divination, telling the mage what happened in a particular place goes from level 1 to 10. The higher the level, the clearer the picture, and the further back in time the mage can see.
* HAKAN (metal) god. Also adopted as the god of thieves, he is quick-thinking, changing his nature to suit circumstance - a version of Loki. Spells centre around deception, also things like magical weapons. He has an allegiance with Kaisha (fire) and Tadewi (wind.)
A level 1 illusion spell can make a sword seem to appear in the mage's hand. A level 3 spell could make an enemy's sword seem too heavy to hold.
The Bernean religion is less structured than the Gershan, having few formal churches and no ruling hierarchy. Instead, there are a large number of places that are considered holy and travellers will often see shrines alongside roads or rivers. The emphasis is on worshipping your chosen god in your chosen way - there are no set structures.
Note: Magicians may study more than one element, but specialisation brings better results. Bernean mages worship the god or goddess whose element they study and most of them are priests as well as mages. Gershans and atheists also use the elements as a basis for their magic, even though they don't believe in the gods.
Elves have the greatest magical ability, but there are many human and dwarf mages too.
* Elves - the longest lived, with an average lifespan being 170 years. Their women tend to be dominant and have many of the positions of power. They live mainly in the forests and cities of northern Bernea, though some have migrated to the Gershan homeland. Their mages tend to study the elements of earth, water, wood and wind most of all.
* Humans - Average lifespan is 70 years. They're noted most for their adaptability, and also for their lax sense of morality. Most thieves, assassins etc are human. Their mages are evening spread among all elements.
* Dwarves - Shorter than humans, with an average lifespan of 100. They are natural craftsmen and their mages tend to study stone, fire and metal. Most live in the mountainous areas of Gershan though, like the elves, some have migrated further south and into the southern cities of Bernea. The Dwarves at one time had their own religion but they are either atheistic or follow the Gershan faith now.
The Place of Magicians
Berneans regard their magicians as priests and say the power comes from the god they follow. Gershans believe magical power is a natural part of creation. As far as anyone knows, there are no practising mages in the Solist philosophy. Whichever religion mages belong to, they serve the same functions.
* Recluse. Having no responsibility for the outside world, the recluse stays in his tower and spends his time in research, only venturing out when he needs new parts for a spell.
* Travelling priest / healer. Having few possessions, either because they've rejected them in favour of an austere lifestyle, or because they're not good enough at what they do to earn much, these are the typical wandering mages, arriving at a place, performing a few miracles, getting paid by the grateful population and moving on.
* Guardian. Living in one location and acting as a guardian figure for the people in the surrounding area. Bishops of the Gershan church come under this category, or the mage may be a well-known hermit, a local landowner or a member of a town council. Whatever his involvement, local people believe he has a high degree of responsibility for what goes on in the area. They'll turn to him in times of trouble, and turn on him when things go wrong.
* Governor. A step up from the guardian, the governor owns the area he's responsible for and makes all the decisions. He has independent wealth and a great degree of political responsibility. He could be a bishop in a major city, the sole ruler of a town, or have control over a major city.
Obviously, the more outside responsibility a wizard has, the less time he has for research. So the most powerful wizards are the recluses, with magical power becoming steadily less going down the list.
Mages have no overall structure of government. There is a ruling Conclave, but it rarely meets and exists more as a token of the goodwill between mages than to achieve anything.
Originally the home of dwarves, who occupied the northern mountainous area, and humans who occupied the coastal areas and the Silver Desert in the south. There is still a far higher population of dwarves in the north, though many live well-integrated over the remainder of the Gershan territory.
The dwarvish capital, Teos, is in the cave in the upper middle of the SE group of mountains. It's still inhabited - very much so - with a large, stable population. It's more or less self-sufficient. There's an underground lake that provides water, fish and a disgusting soggy weed that's a local speciality. There's also a fair amount of trade with other cities and towns in the area. Teos has a large mining industry, along with the associated metal and stone working, and there are several trading outposts throughout the mountains.
The largest mountain in the range is called the Forbidden Mountain, because no dwarf has ever gone there (or at least, those that have, have stayed very quiet about it.) It has a legend attached to it that if it is ever disturbed by mining, disaster will befall the region. There's a parallel legend that its insides are pure gold, though no one has ever looked.
The two tented encampments in the central S are summer bases for nomads who the rest of the year roam the deserts to the south. They're known simply as 'The Camps' and people know to stay off them except when coming in to trade. The southern cities along the big river (between which there is great political rivalry) send caravans to these bases to trade. The nomads are notably tough. They also have some very strict customs to do with hospitality and relationships with outsiders. All are honour bound to offer hospitality to outsiders for one night if required. Offering hospitality beyond a single night constitutes an offer of friendship. Guests are expected to admire everything they see, but touch nothing unless it's offered to them, and they must stay within their host's tent at night - any nocturnal wanderings will be taken as proof that the guest is a spy. Spies are always executed.
Cimis is a new foundation, at the mouth of the fast-flowing Cimis River. Initially set up by refugees fleeing arrest in Ottah, it is now home to a growing population of humans and dwarves under the leadership of the Despot Karagis. Despite Karagis's absolute rule, he is a thoughtful and outward-looking leader, and is looking to build Cimis into a substantial trading power, independent of the despised River Cities: his Watch do not ask many questions of those who come here to carve out a new future. Life in Cimis is hard and one has to prove one's worth and ability daily, but the rewards are great for those who are sufficiently dedicated to the ideal, or sufficiently reluctant to return to whence they came.
Cimis has no Gershan temple. Instead, Karagis has declared himself the defender of faith in the city.
The Silver Desert Is so called because of the colour of the sand. However, there is also a rumour that it hides an ancient city whose walls are made of silver.
Yet further south lie trackless jungles.
The Lyvan and the River Cities
The Lyvan gets slower and filthier as it runs to the sea: the same (the filthier bit, anyway) is said to be true of the four cities. Going from the sea up, their names are Niu, Shu, Masud and Ottah. Each has strong political leadership and is run more or less autonomously. Ottah has the highest Dwarven population, Niu is a mix of human and elven. Masud and Shu are largely human, but with a strong minority of elves and dwarves.
The four River Cities are very similar in set-up: politicians at the top, mages generally ignored, people thinking they're above such trickery. Lots of people work in the mines or have links with the trading business that comes from the mines. The miners and their families are basically slaves, living in abject poverty, there is also some racism, with humans regarding themselves as better. All the city rulers are human.
All cities have Gershan temples. The bishops have never been known to practise magic and the temples are little more than political and trade centres. In Ottah, the dwarves have their own Gershan church, which the official Ottah bishop thinks is a great joke.
The emerald mines
Economically important to the River Cities, but very harsh and dangerous conditions prevail there. The cities compete to get the most and rival miners have been known to kill each other for the day's haul. Naturally, there is a thriving slave trade.
The great monolith, in the gritty northern reaches of the Silver Desert, is almost wholly mysterious. The glyphs which ornament or inform its surface correspond to no tongue known to elf, dwarf or human, and the material of which it is made is unfamiliar - far better resistant to weathering than any substance known to the moderns. More mysterious still, its presence seems to be erratic - some travellers have reported not seeing it at all, despite being in the zone of its supposed location.
The Dead Stones
There is a dwarvish legend of a group of mages who attempted to manipulate the very nature of life itself. Because of this, the life was drawn out of them and they were turned into statues and left as a warning to others. More likely, the stones are an ancient religious site or territorial marker. Their original function is a mystery.
It was under the rulership of the Lorn dynasty that the Gershan empire reached its greatest peak, pinning the Berneans up in their woodland fastnesses and enjoying a prosperity and authority undreamed of before or since. The current imperial dynasty, the Ungrave, retain the trappings of that dignity in Lorn, but their writ runs only over the coastal strip - the River Cities have long since disavowed their fealty. The most notable feature in Lorn is the great chasm in the floor of the throne room of the Red Palace, into which Empress Charis Lorn was dragged screaming by an incautiously-summoned fiend from the nether hells, signalling a rather conclusive end to her dynasty one hundred and twenty years ago - or so the tale has it.
Second city of what remains of the Gershan Empire, Tredl is slowly coming out from under the shadow of Lorn, adjusting better to the new world order. It is here that the Solist philosophy initially came to strength, its founder, Amphion, hailing from a nearby village. Solists now hold all the positions of power in Tredl, including the ducal line, the Fale family. Their high levels of organization and motivation have meant that their embassages and academies can now be found in every part of the civilized lands, except a few places where they're banned: and even in those benighted parts there are secret representations.
Lord Jan Fale personally supports the solist leader, Amphion, and funds the Solist teaching academies. At his order, all Gersham temples and Bernean shrines in the area have been destroyed and replaced with so-called forums of free speech.
In the dark days of the Kan dynasty, and the other short-lived Bernean-originated imperial families who preceded the Lorn dynasty, Bale-Beacon was used for human (and dwarven) sacrifice, to retain the favour of Kaisha. Either the sacrifices were insufficient, or else Kaisha was not greatly pleased by them, because the Gershans regained their lands and threw Bernea back into the sea. Ever since then, though, Bale-Beacon has borne a dark cloud about its summit, and no loyal Gershan will willingly set foot on it or see it without cursing its name (although those of Bernean ancestry cannot see what all the fuss is about: why can't people let bygones be bygones?)
Throughout known history Bale-Beacon has smouldered and occasionally oozed magma, but it has never erupted properly.
The Grey Sea
Is so called because of the foul weather which characterizes it. This and the maelstrom are the reasons why it took a while for the Gershans to cross to the central west area, which was initially disputed territory and saw most of the fighting.
The homeland of elves in the north and humans in the south. When the wars between the empires started, it was Gershan that invaded Bernea, but the Berneans were quick to fight back.
The four Watcher Lords guard against incursions from barbarous elves who live to the far north. Their names are Lord Scale, The Lady of the Winds, Lord Elmar and Master Geon Curr. Historically these Watcher positions have been in the gift of the Temple of Pax Everstill in Cleon, but lately they have tended to descend by appointment, as the priests found their temporal power increasingly hemmed.
The Great Forest
These barbarous elves, known as the Free Riders, also raid southwards into the Great Forest, but the civilised Bernean elves hold them off without too much trouble.
There are tales that the forest is magical.
The city in the forest is the elvish capital, as much as they regard such a thing as necessary: they have settlements throughout the forest. The city is called Kalevi. Other settlements generally take their names from local landmarks: Oak Valley, Brook, Silverhill, Willows are the main ones. Non-elves are not welcome in Kalevi, although humans and dwarves do turn up in the other settlements from time to time.
The towns on the southern margin of the forest are where non-elves usually go to do trade. They are called Penates and Ambar. There's an elvish legend that Penates and Ambar were the first elves to settle Bernea, having arrived on a great ship from a far distant land. Brother and sister, they are the ancestors of all the Bernean elves.
The Lighthouse (Herrik's Watch)
Its original function was to protect elven ships from the particularly rocky headland. During the Bernean/Gershan wars it changed hands several times as both sides used magically enhanced ships to cross the Circle Sea. It also became the home of a mage named Herrik who used it as a base from which to cast weather-related spells. And at some times in its history, the barbarian elves took control of it and deliberately wrecked ships to steal the cargoes. It is currently in the hands of Bernean elves who use it as a lookout post as well as a lighthouse.
It's actually a natural feature, though there are several stories about it, such as it was the birth place of a dragon who tore free of the earth at that point and flew into the Burnt Lands (hence their name.)
The cave (The Delve of Andas)
It has been the home of one mage or another for centuries, and thus has a very strong magical charge around it. The latest mage is called Andas, a famed air elementalist.
Looking northwards from the hills in which it sits, the free city of Kalofane is Bernea's most progressive. Its magistrate leaders are elected by citizen suffrage, for a fixed term of office, a custom enshrined since the city won freedom from Cleon back in the days of the Emperor Var Vilder. All citizens must also serve in the city militia, which is rightly feared for its efficiency, morale and quality of equipment.
The old Bernean capital, still trying fretfully to clutch the rags of its power to itself - the Imperial wealth is still very apparent in Cleon, and visitors cannot fail to be overawed by the splendour of its buildings and gardens, but there is a hollowness at the core. Pretenders of dilute blood squabble over who has the best right to the Jade Throne, ignoring the fact that the throne itself was broken up and scattered by Gershan forces three centuries since. The latest pretender is a young man called Jad-Arden who has gained a measure of popular support. The true force in the city is shared, uneasily at best, between the priests of the Temple of Pax Everstill, chief sanctum of the seven gods (not counting ancient elvish ones in the Great Forest), and the Brown Friars, founded as a mendicant order but now effectively controlling trade on this wealthy stretch of the Bernean coast.
Ruled by the sprightly Countess Grimby, this young city takes advantage of its mastery of the river from Larkwood to dominate the timber trade of Bernea. (The elvish inhabitants of the Great Forest will not allow its trees to be felled.) Although life in Veluta seems easy-going and fancy-free, this city is at daggers drawn with its larger neighbour Squill, and it is only active diplomacy by the neutral cities that has prevented conflict on more than one occasion in recent decades.
A quiet city seated amidst the plains of the Annun, Kessel has a reputation for cultural backwardness and self-satisfaction: young people from the coastal cities come here to seek their fortunes, but generally either settle in to Kessel's quiet ways, or else head off into the interior never to be seen again. It is ruled by Duke Bravon Turkelme, an indolent fellow who would doubtless be under the sway of his courtiers had any of them the wit to exploit his weakness.
The most populous city in what was formerly Bernea, Squill declared itself independent of both empires nigh on a century since, and from those days on has ploughed its own furrow - an apt metaphor, as its wealth lies in the fertile agricultural land which surrounds it, with the gently rolling Mummers, the clear-flowing Ridan, and the peaceable boughs of Kaden's Forest to shade it. But this idyllic setting has not bred tranquillity in Squill's governors, the Council of Ten: their policies towards their neighbours have been uniformly aggressive, and it is only the proverbial laziness and cowardice of the Squill trooper, wishing he were back on his farm, which has prevented them exerting a greater dominance over the western lands.
Sher, under the unwelcome sway of Squill, is a small city built on the fishing trade and valued for its command of the generous Mouth of Annun. The Bailiff of Sher is appointed every five years by the Squill Council, and is charged with enacting their writ: this rule is rather unpopular. It is known that Meridar has cast acquisitive eyes upon Sher, and it may be that the Bailiff will soon be called upon to defend Squill rule - oppressive, but surely not as objectionable as coming under the sway of the despotic Taskmaster.
The current Bailiff is Phila Naal. A hard and unpopular man, he's nevertheless done a lot in the city, establishing an effective militia and setting up trade links with Kessel.
The southernmost Bernean city is nasty. It tends to be a magnet for thieves, murderers and so on. There have been various attempts to clean the place up, so to speak, but none have succeeded and no one tends to go there anymore unless they've got business there. Meridar has no official centralized system of rule, but from time to time a strong figure rises to the top and is able to enforce their will over a decent proportion of their neighbours. At the moment, the de facto ruler of Meridar is called simply The Taskmaster. Outsiders know very little about him except that he made his fortune in the slave trade.
The Burnt Lands
Were destroyed many centuries ago, by forces unknown but much speculated about. Who knows what riches may lie in their wastes? Death is the likeliest boon they grant to greedy travellers.
There are 10 character stats. Simply rank them in order, from 1 to 10, with the exception that you can if you wish set either Potence = 0, in which case you have no magical powers at all (this is the case for the vast majority of inhabitants of the world), or Responsibility = 0, in which case you have no outside calls on your time at all. If you do this, you rank your other stats from 2 to 10, and you then get a bonus point to apply to any one of them you choose (which means you could take one of them to 11 if you wanted.) This is the only way in which Potence + Responsibility can be higher than 10.
* POTENCE - magical capability. Some people are just better mages than others. Potence + Responsibility must not be more than 10 unless one of them = 0. Potence is assigned to the element(s) the mage has studied. You may begin the game with a maximum of two elements, and you may divide your potence between them in any proportion you wish.
* RESPONSIBILITY - how important you are in the temporal world (governor, chief, elder, wastrel etc). Potence + Responsibility must not be more than 10 unless one of them = 0. A responsibility of 1 means you own your own home. Responsibility of 5 would see you onto a town council. A responsibility of 11 puts you in charge of a major city - please contact the GMs to discuss this if you want this option.
* SMITHERS - why this stat is so called has been lost in the mists of time, but it refers to one or more named individuals who assist you. Could be apprentice, side-kick, whatever. The points that go into a Smithers could reflect their competence, or something else unusual. The more incompetent your Smithers is, the more action points (see later) you'll have to spend explaining what you want done, else they could get the wrong end of the stick entirely.
* FOLLOWING - a 'faceless' mass of followers who can broadly be expected to pay attention to what you say. Unlike responsibility, you have no direct power over them. If you have a high Responsibility, this stat can be thought of as indicating your popularity (ie how many of your subjects will actually do as you say.) If of lower Responsibility, it suggests a less conventional network of influence - guild membership, for example, or a level of local fame such that people will take note of you.
* BODY - how physically capable you are - subdivided into strength [physical prowess + endurance], dexterity [agility / accuracy], and fortitude [how capable you are of standing up to the rigours of magic]. Fortitude determines how many spells a mage can cast in one game turn and also indicates a character's natural defence against magical attack.
* MIND - your powers of concentration and retention. Mind also determines how much magical research a mage can attempt in one game turn.
* LUCK - luck.
* HOLDINGS - how large your personal wealth / belongings / possessions are.
* TRUST - how easily people in general trust you.
* ABILITIES - specific things you are skilled at which are outside your field of work (you can be assumed to be good at whatever's required for that). An ability could be super strength, or the ability to read minds, as well as mundane skills. Players have the option of being given a secret GM-assigned ability if they want, which they will become aware of during the course of the game.
A mage may start the game with a number of levels of spells equal to his potence. However, spells must be built from level 1 up (see later for more details of spell levels.)
So an Earth mage of potence 10 may have 1 level one spell, 1 level 2, 1 level 3, and 1 level 4. (Or 10 level 1's if he feels like it.)
A mage with potence 3 in water and potence 2 in wood may have a level 1 and a level 2 water spell and two level 1 wood spells.
It is up to you to define your spells (more on spells later) - all starting spell lists are subject to GM approval.
Finally, feel free to fill in as much background information about your character as you wish. Where he comes from, what his job is, the name of his pet dog... Anything you think may be helpful.
Amycus - Travelling priest/adventurer Race: elf. Religion: Bernean. Element: Earth
Potence 4 - not a great mage, but enough to impress the locals.
Responsibility 2 - respected enough that people come to him for help, though doesn't have any formal political power.
Smithers 6 - assistant/apprentice
Following 7 - well-respected.
Body - 10 (fortitude 4, strength 3, dexterity 3)
Mind - 3 - generally has better things to do than research
Luck - 5 - things often go his way.
Holdings - 1 - owns what he carries and no more.
Trust - 8 - Even total strangers trust him
Abilities - 9 (swordsmanship 5, affinity with animals 4)
Starting spells: healing (level 1), accelerated plant growth (level 1), nature communion, giving basic information on what has happened recently at a location (level 2).
Penelope - politician and city leader. Race: human. Religion: none. Element: none.
Potence 0 - dismissive of magic.
Responsibility - 11 - head of a large city
Smithers - 8 - very competent captain of the guard
Following - 6 - very influential within city
Body - 4 (fortitude 0, strength 2, dexterity 2) reasonably fit and healthy
Mind - 9 - penetrating powers of observation
Luck - 2 - succeeds by hard work rather than random chance
Holdings - 7 - wealthy
Trust - 5 - reasonably well-regarded
Abilities - 3 (map-reading 3)
Tayib - Assassin. Race: dwarf. Religion: none. Element: metal
Potence 6 - Some skill in his chosen element.
Responsibility 1 - In charge of a small band of thieves and murderers.
Smithers 4 - Honir, his trustworthy apprentice.
Following 3 - People owe him favours.
Body 10 - (fortitude 3, strength 2, dexterity 5) Very quick on his feet.
Mind 8 - Rarely misses anything.
Luck 9 - Always seems to escape in the nick of time.
Holdings 5 - Owns a magic, silent crossbow.
Trust 7 - Can lie his way out of almost anything.
Abilities 2 - Metalworking (makes his weapons and own armour.)
Starting spells - illusion (level 1), enchant crossbow bolts (level 2), telekinesis of crossbow bolts (level 3.)
Conclave is based around main turns which fall due on the first of every calendar month and will be processed in the week that follows.
Turnsheets are free form. Every turn, which equals three months in the game world, you have 6 actions points (APs) to spend. You can divide them between as many actions as you like, but most actions will work better if they have more APs allocated, and some won't work at all if they don't have at least a certain number.
1AP roughly equates to two weeks' worth of effort, although it's best to think in terms of effort rather than time when assigning action points. A skilled theif attempting to break into a locked storehouse, for example, may well succeed with a single action point, whereas Thug, the clumsy barbarian, would need 3 APs and a good plan to achieve the same effect.
So, any action which you think is easily achieved should be assigned one or two APs. Actions of moderate difficulty, or which will require lengthier preparation will need three or more. A life-or-death situation may require all six APs.
Actions which can be deemed to be automatically successful (passing information to an ally, etc.) don't cost action points: just note them at the end of your turn.
To write your turnsheet, simply tell us how you are spending your action points that turn. How much detail you go into is entirely up to you, though it will help if you include a plan of how you intend to achieve the actions you are attempting, and mention any stats you think are relevant.
There are special rules regarding research and spell-casting for mages - more on that later.
Sometimes a month is just too long to wait for the next turn. Or you're planning an action that will require a lot of preparation and you want to make sure everything is set up before you launch your grand plan. In these cases, you may spend half of your action points early by submitting a subsidiary turn on the 15th on the month. Because not all players will be using subsidiary turns, you may not initiate an action that will require an immediate response from another player. You are, however, free to work with other players who have also submitted subsidiary turns.
Please also remember that following a subsidiary turn, you will only have 3 action points to spend in the main turn.
This looks quite complicated - well, OK, it is quite complicated - but bear with us, it'll be clear as a crystal ball by the time you've read through it a few hundred times.
First, to reiterate the rules about the seven elements:
There are seven magical elements: earth, wind, water, fire, wood, metal, stone. Each has different spell types associated with them. Mages must be aligned with one, or at most two, of the elements. They may attempt to learn, research and cast spells from other elements, but they will find it far more difficult, impossible in some cases.
Some spells may cross the boundaries between elements and require a mage skilled in more than one element to research and cast them. Or a group of mages co-operating, if such a thing can exist.
As for new spells, there is no fixed spell list. It's up to you, the player, to come up with spells, and justify why they belong to your element.
Spells are ranked in levels, from 1 to 10, with 1 being the easiest to learn and cast.
If a mage wants to be able to cast a given spell, they must either research it themselves, or learn it from a scroll written by another mage. Once this is done, it joins their list of known spells, and from that point they can cast it whenever they want, without having to learn it again.
Mages can never research a spell of level higher than their own Potence in the relevant element. They can learn a spell of level higher than their own Potence from a scroll, but if they try and cast it, it may go wrong. [With hilarious consequences...]
Each turn, a mage has [Mind] number of Research Points (RP) to spend. They can spend these on any combination of the following:
* Research new spells, at 1pt / level
* Create a scroll of a spell they already know, at 0.5pt / level
* Create a magical item imbued with a spell they know, at 1pt / level (more for many-use / complicated items)
* Learn a spell from a scroll, at 1pt / level
So if you have Mind 8 and thus 8 RP, you could in one turn research a new 2nd-level spell called Fiery Fingers, write two scrolls of it to give to friends, create a potion of Shrinking (a 3rd-level spell you already know), and get a quarter of the way through learning the 4th-level spell Fleevish's Flight, from a scroll given to you by your good friend Fleevish. (Any of these tasks can be split between turns - started on one turn and finished off on any later one.)
Note that scrolls are one-use - once a mage has learnt the spell off them, they crumble to dust. Most magic items are also one-use, though there will be exceptions.
[This system will be supported by accurate bookkeeping and reporting of what spells players know and what they're currently working on, managed by the UKG database. The GM will rule on what level a particular new spell is. The player will say 'I will research a new 2nd-level spell called Instant Death (description attached) with the 2 research points I have left this turn.' The GM will say 'You get partway through researching Instant Death, when you realize it is actually a 7th-level spell.']
Researching spells and Action Points
Magical research also costs Action Points, of which you only have 6 total per turn.
As a general guideline...
* Researching a new spell: Level 1-4, 1 action point. Level 5-8, 2 action points. Level 9-10, 3 action points.
* Creating a scroll: 1 action point.
* Learning a spell from a scroll: 1 action point.
* Creating a magical item: same as researching a new spell.
There is a degree of flexibility, so players can put in extra APs if they want to be sure of a good result, and less if they need to cobble something together in a hurry. There will also be variations in planning (you may be able to use fewer research APs if you've planned well), and for things like very familiar spells not taking so much of your action potential.
A magic item is created by imbuing a mundane item (a generic one or one that has been specially made) with one or more spell effects. All the spell effects must be known to the mage. For the simplest kinds of magic item, the cost in research points is just the levels of the spells involved. For more complicated ones or for many-use items it could be a lot more.
Anyone can use a magic item, you don't have to be a mage. (Unless eg. one of the spells on the item is 'Rathbone's Restriction of Item Use to Mages Only'.)
As a guideline, a level 1-4 magic items costs 1 action point; A level 5-8 costs 2APs; Level 9-10, 3APs.
As well as researching and learning spells, mages can also cast them, or where would the fun be. Casting spells is a physically demanding activity: each turn, a mage has [Fortitude * 3] Casting Points (CP). (Fortitude is a subdivision of Body.) They can spend these on any combination of the following:
* Cast any spell they know, at 1CP / level
* Cast a spell from a scroll, at 1CP / level
Unlike learning spells, you can't split casting spells across turns. You must complete the casting in a particular turn.
Casting spells also costs actions, just like researching them does.
1 casting of a spell = 1 AP, with discounts for familiar combinations (eg. if a mage has 3 defensive spells which they regularly cast every round, this will become less demanding as an action).
Casting a spell from a scroll is a 0 AP action. Mages may therefore find it beneficial to make scrolls for themselves to save themselves action points in later turns.
Casting a spell from a scroll uses it up in the same way that learning the spell would and it is automatically successful as long as you have a potence of at least 1, regardless of the level of spell.
How can you ever cast spells of greater level than your Casting Points? You can in emergency cast one spell (and only one) when you don't have enough CP to do so - this renders you unconscious for the remainder of the turn, and furthermore it means you can't cast any spells at all during the following turn.
Certain spells may need specific ingredients to cast, with higher level spells typically needing exotic things that'll take some time and trouble to collect. You'll find this out when you attempt to research the spell.
There will, of course, be exceptions to these rules. Very powerful spells may take extra action points to cast, for example, and some may even take more than one mage working together.
To summarize scrolls:
* A mage can create a scroll of any spell they know, at 1 RP / level, costing 1 AP per scroll.
* A mage can learn any spell from a scroll, at 0.5 RP / level, which uses up the scroll, costing 1 AP.
* A mage can cast any spell from a scroll, at 1 CP / level, which uses up the scroll, costing 0 AP.
* Non-mages (people of Potence 0) cannot use scrolls at all
Although all the above starts the game as hard-and-fast rules, we are talking about magic here, and there's no reason why lateral-minded players shouldn't research spells which by their use subvert or overthrow the tenets. For example, 'Archbold's Accelerated Learning' might be a spell which when cast allows learning of spells from scrolls at half RP cost for the remainder of that turn. Or 'Sersivian's Scroll Democratizer' might allow a non-mage to cast a spell from a scroll. Or 'The Mind-Thief's Lockpick' might allow you to learn a spell directly out of another mage's mind, without them realizing. And of course there is bound to be magic which has the capability of increasing characters' stats.
Creating a new spell
The player should
a) name the spell
b) state what level it is
c) state its exact effect
d) justify why it fits their particular element
Non-mages (people with Potence 0, which includes the vast majority of the populace) cannot use magic other than in magic items.
Conclave is not a competition and the game is more about achieving individual aims than beating other players. However, the following tables are updated monthly and will let you see how you are doing compared to others in various areas of the game.
Out of Character Stats - these are accumulated turn by turn:
ACHIEVEMENT is the stat you gain points in when you accomplish your aims. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But many characters, despite the best laid plans, find themselves ending up in a totally different situation from the one they envisaged. Achievement denotes your skill at carrying out your intentions.
INSPIRATION is one of the most difficult stats to gain points in since it depends partially on the whim of the GM. If your ideas, creations, plots and stories are especially inspired or inspiring (influencing others with their scintillating brilliance) you will gain points in this stat. You will also gain points in it if you produce information, colour and background which add to the life of the game. It doesn't even need to be that good or even noticed by your fellow characters. We, as GMs, notice and appreciate your efforts and will award you points for your creations.
PATRONAGE is a great stat for characters who take the lead in plots. If you involve other people in your plans and form teams and societies and groups of any kind for any reason you will start to gain points in the Patronage stat.
In character stats - these can go down as well as up:
MAGICAL POWER is calculated on your raw magical capability, your mastery of known magics, your recent manifestations of power, etc, all combined in a cunning formula which accurately reflects your magical oomph.
POLITICAL POWER is an assessment of your current political capability as an individual, your influence, the strength of your allies, the weakness of your enemies, the respect in which you're held, the forces you can command, and such like, again all combined in a formula of surpassing cunningness.
REGARD is a general stat for those without much political clout but who go about doing heroic deeds and are therefore very well regarded by the general population. It could be positive or negative depending on whether the character is regarded as a hero or villain. It is a general indicator of how good or bad the NPC population think the character is, and therefore how they're likely to react to them.
What it Costs
Main turn: £4.50
Subsidiary turn: £2.50
Main turn following a subsidiary: £3
Add 50p to these costs for postal turns as well as email.
What you Get
In the first week of every month you will receive the main turn results:
Individual turnsheet giving results of actions for the 3 month game period.
Individual spell / stat sheet, giving current stats, spell list, scrolls and magic items.
General turnsheet with news for the three months.
General stat sheet with the various success tables.
In the third week of the month, if you submitted a subsidiary turn, you will receive:
Individual spell / stat sheet, giving current stats, spell list, scrolls and magic items.
There will also be occasional extras such as reports from group meetings and extra news sheets.
Main turn results should be with you by the 7th-8th of each month, subsidiary results by the 22nd. Some turns may be quicker, some (less likely) slower, in which case you'll be warned in advance.