rules

rules

Core Rules: Skill Aspects

When making a skill players only have to worry about the column that is Skill Aspect/Verbs.

The reason for the table as it is for our purposes with a game system it's worthwhile to go from the super super abstract to something more granular to apply those ideas to parts of the game system and setting. This will allow System to review the skill verb/aspects and determine if we need to make any kind of adjustments.

Skill Aspects/Verbs

Abstract Concept General Category Skill Aspect/Verb Extra Notes
Create Create Summon Create a temporary effect.
- - Craft Customized permanent effect.
- - Persist Make a temporary effect, permanent.
- Repair Repair Damaged people or objects.
Read Learn Know Pre-existing info, book learning.
- - Discover Gain new info about things that are.
- - Predict Gain new info about things that may be.
- Use Operate Using a thing without changing it.
Update Modify Move From point A to B.
- - Teleport Skipping space between.
- - Change Shape Such as volume, dimensions
- - Change Nature Such as temperature, type. To convert.
- Influence Convince People/Social skills. Persuade.
- - Bolster Positive modifier or remove a negative one. Buff.
- - Weaken Negative modifier or remove a positive one. Debuff.
- Resist Avoid Prevent damage from occurring. Shields, defense, etc.
- - Endure Prevent secondary effects of damage. Hardcore skills.
- - Conceal Hide people, information or things.
- - Bypass Avoid effect without negating it.
Destroy Damage Damage Damage to people or objects
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Vampires and Werebeasts

--- Werewolves ---

Infection
A victim subject to infection rolls CON along with any skills for resisting disease or magical effects. The difficulty is the attacking therianthrope's werebeast skill alone (not their total might). Only one roll is required for any given source of infection (that is, per werebeast biting the victim) in any given 24-hour period, so multiple bites from the same werebeast in the same combat do not require multiple rolls. The poison is the same.

If the CON roll fails, the curse can still be driven out by curative healing magic (toxin or disease removal) close to the time of infection. The difficulty for this magic roll is 70 plus the werebeast's skill, and at least 25 PP are required to remove the infection.

After 24 hours untreated, the infection takes hold permanently except in extreme circumstances (as dictated by the Setting department)

Regeneration and Shapeshifting
A new werebeast receives a skill for free at zero. This skill works like a magic skill and in order to use it the character will need to roll Int and Spir.

Werebeastism - A werebeast gains an uncanny ability to heal themselves and able to withstand many types of toxins and diseases (this effect is only usable on the infected character, and usable while unconscious but the effect is reduced by half.)
A werebeast is also able to transform into same type of werebeast that infected them. In (insert character name)'s case it is a (insert werebeast type).
Repair, Endure, Change Shape
Werebeasts will not need an operate aspect to use their new form, but the shapeshift will follow the Shapeshifting Rules in regards to what enhances is earned by the shift.

Regeneration of limbs
It possible for a werebeast to try and regenerate lost limbs. The difficulty for such an action is base 25 + the amount of damage dealt that lead to the removed limb.

Forced Change
At nightfall on the day before any full moon, the player must roll the werebeast shapeshifting skill (along with INT and SPI) against a difficulty equal to their CON (along with any skills for resisting disease or magic). If they fail the roll, they are not forced to change. Otherwise, they become a feral werebeast for the duration of the three-night span (the night before, after, and during the full moon).

NOTE: Because it may seem counter-intuitive, the reason for a failed roll leading to no change is to balance the benefits of a higher skill with a higher chance to suffer a forced change. A new werebeast (with a low skill) is less likely to suffer a forced change, but also doesn't gain much from their werebeast skill (because it's so low). The stronger a werebeast they become, the more in-tune with the curse they are, and less control they have at the full moon.

During this time the character will be unavailable to play. This is due to the loss of control and consent factors and the risk that the character will do things that even the player may want to avoid. Such actions may lead to very dire consequences. Until we can develop a better way to reflect this loss of control, for now we are just setting the character as unavailable to play.

--- Vampires ---

Infection
While the rituals vary, turning a new vampire operates the same way regardless of the original vampire's type. A vampire must choose to try and turn a victim, it is not automatic like a werewolf's bite.

The target rolls CON along with any skill for resisting disease or magical effects. The difficulty is the sire's vampire skill alone (not their total might). Only one roll is required for any given source of infection in any given 24-hour period, so multiple attempts from the same vampire sire in the same day do not require multiple rolls.

If the CON roll fails, the curse can still be driven out by curative healing magic (toxin or disease removal) close to the time of infection. The difficulty for this magic roll is 70 plus the sire's skill, and at least 25 PP are required to remove the infection.

After 24 hours untreated, the infection takes hold permanently except in extreme circumstances (as dictated by the Setting department)

Skills
A new vampire receives one skill for free at zero:

Vampirism - A vampire gains a native affinity for using hands and fangs to capture prey and consume their life essence (blood typically, though not always). Ruled as unarmed combat, the damage from the attack heals the vampire at a one-to-one ratio (no additional roll needed), as well as staving off their hunger.
Damage, Repair, ----
[i]System note - this skill is in need of updating, as it is lacking an aspect/i]

Feeding
The ability to feed on the life force (or some other aspect) of living beings is one of the primary things which defines a vampire. To accomplish this feeding, all vampires need to damage their victims in some way, and to do so need to perform regular combat rolls to physically get into a position to feed on a resisting victim. Damage dealt is converted into 'life force' gleaned. This is true even for vampires who do not subsist on blood, and the damage is always resisted as per the rules for normal physical combat.

Vampires require 10 PP worth of life force a day, though much like humans, they can go several days without feeding. When a vampire reaches 100 PP (ten days' worth) of hunger, they must feed within the next 24 hours or become frenzied and out of control (an A/SH will roll for and determine the effects of frenzy, which wears off only when all 100 PP worth of hunger have been staved off - the frenzied vampire's all-consuming goal).

A player of a vampire who is absent from the site continues to rack up hunger at the normal daily rate, but the amount never exceeds 100 PP. When the player next plays the vampire character, they have 24 hours from that point to reduce the hunger through feeding. As long as the hunger is less than 100 PP 24 hours later, they do not frenzy, even if the player was absent or didn't play the vampire for a very long period.

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Shapeshifting Rules

Transformation/Shapeshifting
The actual casting of transformation or shapeshifting magic (sometimes listed as a type of biomancy) is fairly straightforward. Start from a base difficulty of 25, like any magic. Things get more complex if the mage is trying to shapeshift into something noticeably larger (a brown bear) or smaller (a mouse) than their current size, or something extremely exotic or much more complex than their current form (typically +20 difficulty - more if they combine effects, like turning into a giant scorpion, which is both larger and more complex).

The tricky part comes when you try to determine the effects. How do the PP translate into actual benefits of the new form? There are several types of benefits to choose from:

  • A direct bonus to exactly 2 or 3 Stats with the PP divided between them. Be careful not to award all the PP to a single stat, or to more than 3 stats at once, which may spread the bonus too thin.
  • A weapon bonus equal to the PP generated to represent the new form's natural weapons
  • A temporary skill equal to the PP generated and subject to the standard rules for skills (fire magic for a fire lizard, stealth for a panther, etc)

NOTE: The PP a shapeshifter can apply to stats or a temporary skill is capped by their current skill in shapeshifting. This is the skill alone, not the total might. If a caster with a 15-point skill in shapeshifting gets 49 PP, they can only use 15 of it for the effect.

Some examples of these bonuses in action. Assume a character produced 21 PP on their roll and has a skill high enough to use it all. You could grant them:

  • +10 STR and +11 END if they turn into a bear
  • A 21-point stealth skill if they turn into a jaguar
  • A 21% weapon bonus to represent a serpent's bite
  • +15 to AWA and +6 to AGI for a bat's sonar and speedy flight
  • A 21-point awareness skill for scent and sound for turning into a wolf

These bonuses last for the entirety of that change. If the shapeshifter decides to shift again, all earlier bonuses are immediately lost and replaced with the results of the new roll, even if they choose the same form and perform worse than their initial roll (for instance, if they want to try again to become a bigger, tougher bear - the bonuses don't stack, the latest roll is all that counts).

Also bear in mind that most shapes a shapeshifter can take are not capable of wielding ordinary weapons (and bonuses between normal weapons and natural weapons do not stack), nor are most animals capable of speaking. While a shapeshifter retains their intelligence and can attempt to gesture or pantomime, actual speech is something most animal forms are simply not capable of.

Permanent vs. Temporary Change
Despite how some skills may be worded, any shapeshifting skill can be used for either permanent or temporary change at any time. When the mage chooses to shift, they are either shifting temporarily (where the effect automatically expires after PP/7 rounds, and they revert to their old self, gear and all) or they shift permanently (where there is no duration, but a second roll, meaning a second action, is required to return them to their normal self).

If a player doesn't specify which type of change, ask out of character which they'd like it to be and treat it accordingly from there. They can make the choice each time they change, they are never locked into one type of shift or the other.

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Sirian EMP Mechanics

EMP ("electromagnetic pulse") is a commonly played-up concept in sci-fi, and Sirian is no different. Thanks to popular media, most folks believe an EMP blast is enough to immediately shut down all electronic equipment in its radius, bar none, for a given amount of time.

In Sirian, that's not quite the case. While some electronics will always be shut down by EMP, others are equipped with shielding and redundancies that makes them resistant to EMP effects.

To determine both whether a given device is affected by EMP and how long it's shut down for, if so, use the guidelines below.

EMP happens in one of two ways: as cast-off from certain types of explosions, or as a crafted weapon designed to shut down targeted electronics. The different forms are ruled in two different ways.

EMP as Environmental Damage
When EMP happens as cast-off from an explosion, treat it like a type of Environmental Damage

Like most effects, EMP starts at base PP 10, which each device can roll versus Diff 1 to attempt to reduce. If the damage is reduced to zero, the device suffers no interruption. If any PP remains, that's now many rounds the device remains powered down for (partial remainders round up).

For instance, if a device generates 6 PP to counter an EMP effect, it's shut down and remains shut down for 4 rounds (10 - 6 = 4), including the round it was hit.

Weaponized EMP
When EMP is generated by a weapon designed to generate and target the effect, it works a bit differently.

An EMP weapon is ruled as an attack like any other, using DEX and STR versus the target's DEX and END. The device is given a fixed STR score, like other Sirian Ranged weapons, and uses the DEX of the wielder for aiming. The targeted device uses its own END and the DEX of the person or vehicle carrying it to attempt to dodge and absorb the EMP effect.

If the attacker succeeds, their net PP are divided by 7 and rounded up. The result is how many rounds the device is shut down for, including the round it was hit.

Device Resistance
The first question most SHs or players would ask when an EMP goes off is "what the heck is the END stat of a datapad?" That information is outlined below to help fill in the gaps with items that don't typically have stats:

  • Portable electronics (ex: datapads): No END stat
  • Standing electronics (ex: consoles on the bridge of a ship): END 25. Additional shielding may apply.
  • Vehicles (ex: Pipe Fighter): Use the vehicle's END stat
  • Cyberware (ex: cybernetic limbs): Use the PC's END stat

Additional Ruling Notes
Shielding
All electronics can be fitted with shielding versus EMP. This shielding is a crafted item and adds its value directly to the END stat of the device for resisting EMP.

Portable electronics
These devices always fail versus EMP for the full 10 rounds unless they have been specifically shielded, in which case they use only the shielding's value to attempt to resist the EMP effect.

Vehicles and EMP
Standing electronics inside of a vehicle use the vehicle's Stats to resist EMP that comes from outside the vehicle. EMP inside the vehicle (like a grenade in the cockpit) uses the standard END might for standing electronics themselves.

EMP and flight
A flying vehicle in the atmosphere that is hit by EMP begins to fall. For simplification, all craft fall at 200m per round.

When the EMP effect wears off, if the craft has not crashed, a pilot can attempt to recover from the dive by rolling their piloting mights versus a difficulty of 25 + 10 for each round of freefall (Diff 35 for 1 round, Diff 55 for 3 rounds, etc).

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Teleportation and Portal Rules

Teleportation/Portal Magic
Teleportation and portal magic work the same way, despite a difference in description - a portal is essentially an 'item' crafted using teleportation magic.

Difficulties
Difficulty for teleportation and portal magic is the same base 25 as other magic. Distance covered and duration of the portal is governed by PP, as with other magical effects.

The difficulty can be impacted by the following factors:

  • Additional people to be teleported: +5 difficulty after the first (Diff 30 for two people, Diff 35 for three, etc). This difficulty does NOT apply to portals.
  • Destination unseen: +10 difficulty. Not knowing where you're going is always going to be trickier. This applies to both teleportation and portals, meaning most portals of any distance will be at Diff 35, not 25.

PP Required
The bigger judge of teleportation and portals is in the points produced. For instant teleportation, all PP goes into distance. For portals, it has to be split between distance and the duration the portal will stay open for.

As a quick guide for how much PP is needed for a given jump, use the examples below. These are NOT exhaustive or set in stone, they're purely meant as a guide to help in the midst of a session.

PP for Distance

  • Up to 100 yards (an American football field away): 10 PP
  • A few miles away (across town): 25 PP
  • A few day's travel away (Ramsalon to Andular): 50 PP
  • Cross-continent (Ramsalon to Tesaria): 100 PP
  • Transcontinental (Vaxia to Shi Inkahan): 250 PP

PP for Duration (Portals)

  • One round: No additional PP required. Portal will open the round after the mage casts and stay open till the end of that round, then close.
  • Three rounds: 10 PP
  • An hour: 25 PP
  • A day: 100 PP
  • A week: 250 PP
  • A month: 1000 PP

Instant-portation vs. Portals
While they use the same skill, there are some inherent differences between instant teleportation and standing portals, mostly in terms of time required.

Teleportation happens immediately on the same round the mage casts it, and bringing additional people increases the difficulty. Portals, by contrast, can let any number of people through, but they only appear a round after the mage is done casting, with a fixed duration based on their stored PP at that time.

When the ceiling is caving in, you'll likely want to teleport away. When you need to move prisoners you just liberated from the bandit camp back to their village from deep in the mountains, you'll likely want to create a portal.

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Specific Case Rules

The following is rules for more specific situations or conditions that have additional rules or mechanics in the game.

Many tend to be more on the rare side in sessions or general play due to the the effort needed to play, however for the most part these rules only apply to those specific situations or conditions and not much else.

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History of the Heal-Harm Ban

In roughly 2006, the site's Evaluators team established a new restriction on magical skills called the "heal/harm ban."

The rule stated that no single skill could both heal damage and also deal damage.

A similar ban, not explicitly stated, also prevented any single skill from allowing teleportation or portal creation alongside damage-dealing abilities.

The rationale at the time for the ban was to provide those with skills that focused exclusively on healing or teleportation a way to stand on their own. The thinking was that if everyone could roll healing and/or teleportation into any other magic skill, there needn't be a pure healing or pure teleportation skill.

In the summer of 2014, the System Department revisited both bans:

http://vaxia.org/forums/lets-discuss-heal/harm-ban

and decided by a narrow vote:

http://vaxia.org/proposals/assessing-heal/harm-and-teleportation-bans

to remove them, with one caution in mind.

The concern now is that a magical skill that can deal damage and heal damage could become something of an 'Ur' skill, encouraging everyone to have one. It could discourage skill diversity, which is considered by many current players to be one of Vaxia's more uniquely wonderful qualities.

For that reason, we are leaving this history on the books. Should site trends become such that healing and teleportation appear to be too ubiquitous and ever-present, we recommend that the site revisit the issue and discuss whether to implement a new restriction.

Suggested during our discussion was the option that any skill that could damage as well as heal, or damage and teleport, be restricted to those two aspects only and not the typical three for magical skills. This suggestion along with any others should be considered again if anyone feels that the lifted bans are leading to too narrow a skill selection among characters site-wide.

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Stats

Stats are numerical values which help determine in game play how strong or weak a character is at performing certain tasks.
For the most part they determine how your character should be played (are they frail, nimble, clever, gruff, etc).

Skills also have numerical values which help boots the chances a character will be successful at certain actions. and help reflect how proficient the character may be at certain tasks and professions in the game world.

The combination of using a stat with a skill is known as mights.

Which Stats a player may use on their character is largely determined by what kind of action they want to succeed at or situation they are reacting to..


Most actions will make use of these stats often using two trait rolls, though sometimes a one trait roll may be requested.

    Life: Has two functions - Hit Points and Mental Points.
    • Hit Points are how much damage a character can take.
    • Mental Points are how a measure of how long a character can withstand non-damaging mental or phantasm effects.

    The others can be grouped into two broad categories:

      Physical Stats: These are most often used for actions that make use of one’s physical capabilities.
      Examples: Running, Punching, Kicking, Hand to Hand Combat.


      • Endurance (END): Physical Resistance; Fortitude
      • Strength (STR): Physical Power; Toughness
      • Dexterity (DEX): Physical Coordination; Deftness

      Mental Stats: These are most often used for actions that make use of one’s mental capabilities, includes all flavors of Magic and Psi actions.
      Examples: Casting a spell, trying to convince someone of something, solving a puzzle

      • Intellect (INT): Mental Acuity; Reasoning
      • Spirit (SPIR): Mental Power; Wisdom
      • Charisma (CHA): Mental Resistance; Influence

In order to improve a character one must invest XP into its stats and skills.

How much XP it costs is tied to how high the stat already is: the higher it is currently, the more XP it will take to raise it even higher.

To raise a stat it costs 10% of their value, rounded down.
Example: When your INT is at 20, it takes 2 XP to raise it to 21. It will stay that 2:1 ratio until you get it to 30, when it becomes 3:1, and so on.

Skills, on the other hand, are cheaper to raise. Raising a skill costs 7.5% of its current level, rounded down.
Example If your skill is at 10, then it takes .75 xp to raise it to 11. Then when it is at 20 it will then take 1.5 XP to raise it to 21. The only exception is when you're raising a skill from 0-10, which also costs .75 XP per point.

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Acquiring New Skills

Once you make a character doesn't mean that character is only stuck with the skills you made them with. In fact on of the many ways you can grow and develop a character is to gain new skills over time.

ICly there are many different methods one can take advantage of to have their character learn new skills. However Setting may have certain restrictions due to current events on which methods are available, or have to be done. We will post those here to help make that information available, but System can not change anything in that regards.

Game mechanics there are just three ways one can gain a new skill, however a couple of those are restricted by how much HXP (historical XP) a character has gained.



Under 20 HXPs

HXP stands for Historical XP. It is the total amount of XP that character has gained since its activation.

We understand that sometimes a concept may not work out as expected, or some ideas tend to go in a different direction then anticipated. Sometimes there is just a learning curve. Whatever the reason, we give a grace period to let a player try out their idea and have some time to switch it up if they want, which is until the character reaches 20 HXP.

So long as a character is under 20 HXPs a player may adjust and change anything they would like to adjust with the assistance of a SH and its within the rules of both System and Setting. This includes stat and skills.

This can be done a couple of ways:

Redoing Skills - If a player doesn't like how they were playing out, or just wants to change things up from adjusting the Points in the skills or the aspects and wordings. A player may even try and take out points of some Stats and skills to add in a new skill.

Adding in a Skill at 0 - Every character can start with a single skill at 0. If a player doesn't want to change any of their numbers then this option can work out. However it is only 1 per character, and once that character hits 20HXPs that option is no longer available.


.
Over 20 HXPs

Once a character has more then 20HXP the grace period to change Stats and Skills is over (Backgrounds can still be altered by talking with Setting.)

There is only one way that a character may learn new skills, which is through RP.

  • The base RP requirement to learn a new skill on your own is 3 XP, or 210 KXPs worth of posting.
  • If working with a trainer (someone with a skill of 40 points or higher in the relevant area), the RP requirement is reduced to 2 XP, or 140 KXPs worth of posting.

This RP does not have to be done in a single sitting, after all that is a lot posting. So it can be broken up and done in chunks and all put in a scene which will also help you track your progress.

Then once you reach the required XP/KXPs you can submit the scene, and in the notes section put the very skill you desired to have added. After a review by a SH to ensure all requirements have been met and ensure the skill passes, the skill will be added to the character at 0.

There is also no time limit on posts you can use for a gaining skill scene. So if you notice your character having a lot of posts of actions that could be added in for a new skill - you can use those!
Scene Creation Guide



ICly Restricted Skills

On occasion Setting may have restrictions in how certain skills are learned in character. This is often a reflection of certain IC events or regional themes in the setting. We will post those restrictions here, but if ever in doubt feel free to ask in the forums!

Current Restrictions

Vaxia

  • None

Sirian

  • None


Exceptions

We have since updated our scene tools and archiving tools which has removed the need for certain exceptions.

In the cases of a long history of rp - any posts can be dug up from the Archives and added into a skill learning scene as outlined above. If there is any trouble adding in an archive post a request can be made on the forums to get some help adding it in.

If a SH desires to award a character a skill after noticing a trend in RP or by a character stumbling into a RP quest that could lead to one - then that must also be recorded and submitted through a scene as well assigned to the targeted character.

We understand we can not account for every possible case, so if you feel like may qualify for a possible exception to needing to use the above rules, you may petition your case on the forums to be reviewed.

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Evaluators

Character Evaluation Guidelines

The following should act as both training and reference material when evaluating submitted characters to gauge how viable they are in the Vaxian world. If you ever have a question on a particular character, it’s never a bad idea to ask another SH to look over it and compare notes.

Understand, we’re fairly flexible, especially with newer players. As a general rule, if you don’t feel the character would do genuine damage to the site or the IC setting(s), approve it. We can always disapprove it or revert it to draft status later if problems arise.

That said, trust your gut: if the character seems like a two-dimensional excuse to roll dice, it’s probably a bad fit for the site. If you’re not sure if you trust you own gut yet, here are a few guidelines on how to sniff out the roleplayable Cs from the dregs:

Whenever possible, revert to draft to give the player a chance to fix the character and make it playable. Only if you feel the character is beyond any hope (e.g. the player doesn’t even seem to be trying) should you set it to “disapproved.” Any time you’re about to set a character to disapproved, please check with another SH first.

Character Details

Background

The Background is usually the best way for telling if a C is a complete character or just numbers wrapped in fluff. It's important to remember that a background doesn't have to be long, nor do long backgrounds automatically equal good Cs. Believe me, I've seen 2-page backgrounds for "elite turtle ninjas," so length on its own is a bad measure ?

Backgrounds also don’t have to be particular well-written. It’s the content, not the stylistic quality, that’s at issue. Look for the pivotal events in a C’s life that made her who she is now. See if they follow a logical path, or if there are jumps and skips that might need further explanation. This will also be your roadmap to check against the character’s skills later.

What you want to look for, really, is an eventful life. How hackneyed does it seem? Is it "lost his parents to a demon and is now out for revenge" with six skills that would put ninjas to shame, or is it "grew up as a farmer, until one day his parents were killed by a demon, so he went about to many different teachers to learn different arts so that when he encountered his family's killers, he would be ready"?

It’s a subtle difference, perhaps, but it shows evidence that the player thought through the life like a complete, coherent story, not just an excuse to have a sword named "World Ender" that bursts into flame on command.

Be wary of epic backgrounds, even on older accounts. Fallen angels, ex-demons, gods on vacation, some of these "I was the cosmic janitor" stories are a little outlandish for a starting C. That said, something like a dethroned empress might be okay, since she would have lost her previous riches, allies and influence, and thus have returned to starting level.

Personality & Occupation

Personality and Occupation together can help you gauge of the playability of the character. Watch out for loners: they tend to work well in books and terrible in RP. Look for a sense of purpose, a goal, a general connection to the world around them. Without that, they’re likely to do a lot of dark-corner RP, which the player themselves may not find very satisfying (whether they realize it or not).

Description

The character's Description is not usually an area of too much concern, but because it's the one part other players will see, it does at least merit a quick once-over. Just make sure it's in line with the character's numbers, to help show the player understands what those numbers mean. Someone described as "supremely gorgeous" with a Beauty score of 20 (below average) may demonstrate that the player has unrealistic expectations for how their character will preform IC.

Numbers

Two things to watch for in numbers: consistency and extremes.

For consistency, make sure that the Stats and skills match the character as described. If the C grew up a humble farmer, an INT of 40 may merit some further explanation. As would a skill in Blood Magic; not exactly something one picks up while milking cows.

Also, watch the extremes. You’ll likely find that most characters start with one or two 40’s in their stats and another 40 in their skill list. There are exceptions, but be watchful both for two many 40’s, and too few.

For instance, a mage with magical mights of 50 may struggle more than they expect to, despite the fact that "25" is supposed to be average. Realistically, if it’s their primary character function, mights of 70-80 are probably more appropriate.

If you’re worried that the character may run into frustration against even average situations IC, feel free to revert it to draft status with a note for the player in the Workflow Comments.

Any stat below 15 should catch your attention as possible min-maxing. Make sure it’s explained somewhere in the Background or Description for the character. 5 to 10 is so ridiculously low, the character might as well not have the stat, so it should be an equally extreme situation (brittle bone syndrome, raised by wolves, etc).

Skills at Zero

Having a starting character with a skill at zero is actually allowed. It can be something the C just picked up and is only now starting to learn. That said, zero-skills should be limited to one per character at the start. They can learn more in the future through RP as per the normal rules.

Min-maxing

Be wary of any character with very high stats and very low skills. Skills cost less to increase, so some players will front-load their stats and then use their XP to raise the skills to get higher mights earlier. If it doesn’t fit the character background (an orcish grunt might have more natural talent, but less skill, for instance), you may want to revert to draft to have the player balance the numbers better between stats and skills.

Skill Descriptions

Skills are possibly the most complicated thing in our system because they’re so wide open. Refer to the Skill Guide for good boundaries on a skill to ensure it’s balanced with the rest of the site.

A couple of specifics to watch for, skill-wise:

Most skills should list three semi-specific functions. For instance, a thieving skill might allow the C to pick locks, pick pockets, and blend in with a crowd to avoid notice. Some skills, like Melee combat or awareness, tend to look more limited. This is normal.

Skills which directly boost a single stat are generally a no-no. The one exception is Awareness skills, which are limited to two senses (sight and sound, sound and smell, etc). For this purpose, “magical tingles” counts as a single sense, though there should be some explanation of why the character is attuned to magical auras.

Any skill that contains specific numbers, like suggested difficulties or produced effects, should be edited to remove said numbers. The numbers will always rely on the SH ruling and the dice rolls at the time the skill is used.

Be sure to watch for exotic and problematic abilities: regeneration (normally just a troll and werewolf thing), biomancy, blood magic, shapeshifting, mind magic, shadow magic, etc. None of these make a C unplayable by themselves, but they should call into question whether the player properly understands the responsibility of having such a skill. Naturally, if you don’t feel it’s adequately explained in the character’s backstory, that’s reason enough to kick it back to draft and ask for clarification.

Other Details

Non-standard ages: humans and Orcs don’t typically live to 1000, but some players try to make one that old anyway. See the “epic background” caution above.

Borrowed names: if a character’s name matches one from popular fiction, it doesn’t necessarily mean the player did so intentionally. Check to see if the description also matches the character (an old wizard named Gandalf, a petulant gnome named Tyrion, etc) before making the call.

Equipment in the Description field: sometimes people will try to sneak their world-ending equipment into the description (“he is never seen without his faithful blade, Morgul, which counsels him in combat”). Animal companions also count, though if they’re companion is a perfectly ordinary squirrel they met in the forest, you can probably let it slide. Intelligent dire wolves, less so.

That’s it! Again, if you’re ever uncertain of your judgment on a given C, check with another SH to get a second opinion.

Sample Characters

Below is a handful of sample characters if you'd like to practice your evaluator skills. Each is initially presented without comment, but there will be a link to an annotated version of each in case you'd like to compare notes afterwards.



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