Les Terres d'Amarande by MonsieurChoc
Introduction and GlossaryOriginal SA post
I got my copy of my friend's rpg, so I'll do a review now to try and sell people on it. Warning in advance: this isn't going to be a very objective review. I'm going to try and give an accurate idea of the game, but I love it and that's most likely going to bleed through. The original game is also in french, so I'm going to have to translate myself. I'll do my best, but I'm not a professional translator, so please bear with me. Anyway, without further ado,
Les Terres d'Amarande (The Lands of Amarande)
The game was created by Daniel Bonin over the course of 15 years: the oldest copy we could find was dated from 2001. Over the years, as the game was played through his group and others a lot of mechanics were changed and reworked and the world expanded.
Here's a picture of the old copy of the book from the RPG Club La Crypte at Ahuntsic College. I joined it around 2005-2006, which is when I met Daniel and discovered the game. I want to say this copy also dates from that time. The book is pretty big, containing stuff like families and monsters that would later be spun-off into other books. Some of the classes in that version are near-unplayable and would be completely changed later (such as Mime). Still, all the base concepts are there.
(Please disregard the complete mess that is my home) Here are my personal copies of the game, which I got around I wanna say 2010-2011. The game has now been split into three books: the core, the big book of families, and the monster book. It's a much more polished version, and eminently playable. It's the one I used to run a game set in the Tactics Ogre setting (instead of the game's own setting) only a year ago. Most changes after that are clarifications and re-balancing.
Here's a link to the final version, the one now officially published and that I'm going to review. Artwork has been used to replace the placeholder covers used before and to inside the book. The book is 300 pages long, and while it's missing the stuff on Families and Monsters, I think it's a very solid core.
The book opens with a picture of the Initiative Wheel (to print and use) followed by an index. The book is structured in a classical manner: setting first, followed by mechanics, followed by the classes and powers and ending with a GMing chapter and a character sheet.
Part 1: Introduction and Glossary
The normal introduction to roleplaying games and how to play them. Much like D&D4, the game is played on a grid with character's range and movement being measured in Squares. Height and environment is super important: good players and gms will use the terrain strategically to make fun battles. Daniel has created large pieces of map using foam, kind of like a large jigsaw puzzle, that he uses to build 3D maps. Small objects are then used to signify objects on the map: dices are often used, with the number shown on the face used to show the Height of the object (a tree with a Height of 4 Squares will be represented by a dice showing a 4).
Speaking of dices, the system is purely D6-based, throwing a small pool of dice to get results. D4s and D20s can also be useful to have: the first to count down status effects which usually last 3 or 4 turns and the latter to represent non-fighting NPCs which usually only have 20 HP.
A small overview of the setting is given: Humans are the dominant race in the world. Elves, Dwarves, Lizard-Men, Fairies (hard to translate Esprits Follets here), Moonmen ( Lunadains in french) and Tomtens (think hobbits and gnomes) used to live in the worlds of the Yggdrasil before it fell. Felines, Ratlings, Golems and Hippanthropes (men with horse heads) are less respected species who need to fight to get the respect they deserve.
In the beginning, there was a war between the Gods. The Jotnars, who loved Nature, fought the Ragnars, who wanted to help Mankind. The humans who lived in the perpetual darkness of the Yggdrasil rose up and defeated the Dark Lord who ruled the world, and the battle destroyed the Yggdrasil. The Ragnars were exiled in another dimension and the Jotnars closed the door of Paradise. A long time after that catastrophe, Lady Amarande united the survivors and founded an Empire based on the ideals of knighthood. Immortal, she ruled until she was deposed by her general in a coup.
There are three major religions in this world, based somewhat on scandinavian mythology (but with a lot of differences), who fight to convert as many people as they can before Ragnarok. The Church of the Jotnars respect life and nature and want to find a way for the Jotnars to forgive their crimes and open once again the gates of Paradise. The Church of the Ragnars seek to prepare themselves for the battle of Raganrok when the Ragnars willr eturn to break down the gates of Paradise and give it to humanity. The third religion, the Church of Mercy, seek to preserve life and knowledge from war, old age and sickness through enchantments and necromancy.
A sidebar here the inspirations for the game, and I feel it's probably the most important one: the major inspirations for the game are video games. The combat system is based on strategy games and tactical rpgs. Other games often have mechanics with the goal of creating an idea of realism: not here. The goal is to take the best from both roleplaying games and video games to make something fun. To add my own words here: there are no pretensions that HP are anything other than points. Characters will discuss classes and powers in-character. In fact, there are pwoers that enable you tos traight up read the enemie's character sheet and know their stats. The physics of the world are the crazy physics of a game, with logic left behind. A combat technique that lets you ignore Height lets you jump to an airship, get the McGuffin and then jump down without any problems (actual play example here).
Follows a fairly extensive glossary, mostly comprised of gameplays terms and important setting elements. I'm not going to go over every word, it would be too long and kind of boring. I'll just emntion a few important ones:
Anima: Basically mana points.
Breidablik: formal name of Paradise.
Crystal: When someone dies violently, they'll sometimes have trouble letting go and leave their memories and soul behind in Crystal form. These Crystals can be absorbed by other people, acquiring the memories and sometimes some of the skills of the person.
Einherjar: People who decide to remain on Earth instead of going to Valhalla in order to further their training. Einherjar must be recruited by someone able to (Valkyries, Muses, some families...) and can be summoned and cast away by the recruiter. They are not controlled by the summoner thoguh, they maintain their free will. PCs can either be Einherjar or recruit them.
Elements: There are six elements in the world of Amarande: Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Holy and Darkness. Some equipments (known as Anigame, no idea how to translate) and techniques have elements. Some even have multiple elements. Every character is associated with an Element and receives a bonus on Elemental Effects.
Philosophical Elements: The philosophical associations to an Element (earth: stability, etc.). Each class is associated with an Element on a philosophical basis and every Family posses one technique for each philosophical Element (this doesn't necessarily make the techniques Elemental of that element, a somewhat confusing concept I know).
Enchantment: A process by which someone or something is transformed and given new abilities. Can be quite traumatizing.
Hell: Also called Niflheim, it's a dark, cold place where the dead rot for eternity. It's built out of tunnels dug by the Yggdrasil's roots.
Status: Status effects are powerful and useful in this game. They are grouped into three categories: Positive, Neutral and Negative Statuses. They include stuff like Charm, Reflect, Undead, Poison, etc.
Futhark: the 24 runes discovered by Odin, and the alphabet used by everyone.
Galdors: Secret powerful spells that can reshape the world. Usually highly illegal.
Abilities: The special powers used by the classes. I'm going to try and remember to use that instead of powers or techniques from now on. Some are passives while others have to be used actively. Some are sealed, being unusable even when learned as long as they aren't unsealded. The Holy Ability of all Families are Sealed. Vocal Abilities are noted with a ! and cannot be used when Mute.
Immortals: The gods worshipped by the Church of Mercy and who stayed neutral during the war between the Gods. They are supposedly still present in the world.
Maestro: The game's term for game master.
Mention: The special XP gained through actions in the game rather than normal XP awards. There are five types of Mentions: Goodwill (
), Aggressive, Prudence/Careful, Pride and Tricky. When you outsmart someone, you can ask for a Tricky. When you help someone out, you can ask for a Goodwill. Etc. These are used exclusively to buy up Abilities.
Level: How powerful you are in a Class/your Family. The number is derived from how many Abilities you've bought.
Physical/Magical: Some Abilities are physical in nature: they have no costs. Any Ability which costs something (anima, cash, HP, etc.) is Magical.
Civilized Races: The 12 intelligent races of the world. The Dark Elves are thought to be all dead.
Impure Races: the name used for the lowest races on the totem pole, those without "noble" origins: Ratlings, Hippanthropes, Golems and Felines.
Pure Races: the Races that used to live in the Yggdrasil: Elves, Dwarves, Fairies, Moonmen, Lizard-men and Tomtens.
Rands and Randils: The money of the world. 1 Rand equals 100 Randils. Not actually an objectivism joke: Daniel didn't know about Ayn Rand until I told him about her. It's just a funny coincidence.
Secret Spells: Sometimes an ability will let a player roll on the Secret Spell Table or select one the spells there. They're all really good.
Tiles/Ground/not sure how to translate
in this particular case: the make-up of specific Squares, such as Ground, Grass, Lava, Water, etc. Used by some abilities, and some are dangerous by themselves. Can also be changed by some abilities.
Hunting Grounds: places considere dimportant by the Gods. Many go there to die and become Einherjars.
Cursed Ground: places considered bad by the Gods. All actions are harder there.
Holy Ground: places considered holy by the Gods. Don't start a fight there.
Midgard: One of the biggest and most important cities of the Empire, it's described in the book as a base setting.
Sidebars introduce the various icons used throughout the game (for mentions and the different Ability Types). One sets the Empire's technology level at around Renaissance-level. Another clarifies that every one speaks the same language, just like every JRPG. Finally the chronology of the setting is divided into 8 Chapters (plus chapter Omega: Ragnarok) to be used as settings for games. Very much Ogre Battle Sage Episode VII: Let Us Cling Together here. A much larger one names all the Realms the Yggdrasil used to link: Vanaheim, Svarthalfheim, Muspelheim, Niddavelir, Alfheim, Jotunheim and Asgard. The tree was so tall it touched the Moon, although it can no longer be reached. (We went to the Moon a few time inv arious games actually: you just need to find a way like an ancient airship or a gate or something. You know, plot hooks).
That's a lot to digest at first, so I'm going to stop there. Next is an example play (based on an old game) and the city of Midgard.
Default Setting: the City of MidgardOriginal SA post Les Terres d'Amarande/Lands of Amarande
Example of Play
RIght after the Glossary, we get a small example of play. It stars two characters: Surestis, a Moonfolk warrior who's parent fled the life of slaves of the Southern Empire, and Alleria, a Valkyrie looking for brave warriors to send to Valhalla. They're member of the Adventurer's Guild and are returning home to Midgard after failing to catch a fugitive in the Frontier. On the way, though, they stumble onto a meeting between a Dragon and an undead elf. Listening in on the meeting, they see the dragon ask the undead to look after her son, because a killer is after her and she wants her son to be safe. Thinking that the description of the killer fits with the fugitive they're after, the PCs attempt to present themselves to the Dragon. Before they can be eaten, the fugitive shows up to kill the Dragon and a fight ensues. The killer manages to escape, but not before Surestis managed to grab his pendant. Next, the PCs will chase the enemy back to Midgard, using the pendant to try and identify him. A sidebar give examples of mentiones earned by the players during the game.
Like I said, it's a pretty short example.
Default Setting: the City of Midgard
A small map of the city and surrounding region
The Empire is made up of multiple Kingdoms, and the city of Midgard is the capital of the southernmost of them, the Kingdom of Norsur (sure north?). A sidebar explains that this default setting takes place during Chapter 3: Rise of the Guilds , but short description of the city during the other chapters is given. In Chapter 1 the city is the home of the future Empress, in Chapter 2 it's in the way of rebels coming in from the Frontier, during Chapter 4 it'S in the middle of a succession crisis, in Chapter 5 it is often used as the site of negotiations between the Empire and the Frontier, in Chapter 6 it is the crowning place of the new Empress, in Chapter 7 it's the home of strange events (all the description we get ) and finally during Chapter 8 the city is in decline. Once again, more on the Chapters when we get to the History section.
Midgard is a decently sized city, and getting pretty crowded. A project to expand the city is generating a lot of intrigue. People are generally well educated, and living conditions are pretty great. They've gotten better after the building of the new sewer system. The current lord, Frederick Amarande, has two sons. David, the elder, is getting ready to succeed his father, while the younger, Viktor, is trying to get people to sign up for his New Guild of Adventurers. The city has good populations of multiple races aside from humans: Ratlings, Dwarves, Golems, Elves and Moonfolk are all involved in city politics. The majors religions in town are the Jotnar Church, with a temple in the city and another one in the Royal Palace, and the Church of Mercy, with it's Mausoleum near the cemetary. Next up is a list of the major locations in town
The Tavern "Let us Drink Together"
The headquarter of the Guild of Old Adventurers, the tavern is pretty huge, with dozens of rooms for adventurers, a laboratory and a prison in the basement, a training field in the backlot and even an entrance to the sewers. There's, of course, a bulletin board full of job offers and announcements for adventurers.
The Genova Research Center
Basically a Mad Scientist paradise. It's pretty secretive, and in fact belongs in secret to the Jotnar Church.
Ramses' General Store
A general shop that also buys up curiosities and antiquities. Legend has it the founder had himself mummified and put into a sarcophagus with his riches in the basement.
The Durax Brothers' Forge
A forge owned by two Dwarf brothers for many years, it's the most well-known and respected place to buy weapons in town.
The Race Tracks
An old training field, bought up by the family of Martin Fourth of the Name who transformed it into a horse racing track. To keep the element of surprise, the owner often changes jockeys and brings new mounts. His daughter Gloria gives riding lessons in the New Guild of Adventurers.
The Medical Institute for Physically Handicapped People
A charitable organization that fights sickness and heals wounds. Since not a lot of people can afford personal doctors, this hospitla is often full.
Bordello of the Arch
Pretty much what you expect. Since one of their clients is William Knights, captain of the guard, they continue to operate in full legality despite some people's opposition.
Big Joe's Pawn Shop
Big Joe's the only pawn shop in town. He'll accept and sell anything. He's got some martial training and will ebat up anyone who tries to extract protection money from his shop.
Blue Eagle Transport Company
Headquarter of the Merchant Guild of the Sandros Family, they'll ship stuff to all the corners of the Empire. Often hires mercenaries to protect it's shipping.
Gardens of Laufey
A nice park during the day, a dangerous place to walk at night.
Tavern of the Sick Dog
A wretched hive of scum and villainy. Where to get in contact with criminals.
The Thanathos Mausoleum
Temple of the Church of Mercy in town. It goes down multiple levels, and is msotly inhabite dby Undead and Necromancers who feel they don't fit in with society. The Mausoleum is not open to all, since the Church recognizes some people in town as enemies.
Situated between the two churches, it's one of the biggest in the Empire.
The Milita Barracks
The Barracks of the Town Militia are located in town instead of in the Castle, as the current captain William Knights wanted to distance himself from Imperial power. There are many monsters held in cellsm in the basement, ready to be released in case of invasion.
A nice plaza full of craftsman and nice Café. A statue of a Golem named Nails is displayed in the center, with no mention made of why it's there. No one remembers.
The Tower of Bebel
In defiance of the law restricting building size, the Tower of Bebel is a twenty-story high marvel of engineering and magic. It's full of Enchanters. Some believe Nails might have built it.
The Temple of the Jotnars
Built on Holy Ground, it is a safe place for anyone who goes there. Some say that at night the gargoyles come alvie and will terrorize bandits who enter it.
The Carlisle Mansion
The house of one of the major noble families of the Empire, few go there due to the Family's Curse.
The Elven Pacificate
The home of ambassadors from the secretive Council of Elves, which rules over the Elven Kingdom, it's an important place in city politics.
The New Guild of Adventurers
Prince Viktor, with the help of many other noble sons and daughters, is trying to bring nobles and commoners closer together with his new Guild. He also considers the old Guild a relic of ancient times, so there's a rivality there.
Olamn is the official Astrologer of the nobility. In secret, he's a moonfolk manipulating the nobles to keep his race informed.
The opera is also a theater, an auditorium and a refuge for strange beings. There are many rumors about it's basements full of costumes and props.
An historical residence maintained by the Jotnar Church, it is apprently where the Empress lived ebfore the founding of the Empire.
The Dylan Monument
A monument to the hero Dylan, who defeated a terrible dragon and accompanied the Empress.
The Norsur Royal Palace
A huge palace, almost a small town, where the Norsur Royal Family lives.
So, all in all, a pretty normal Adventure Town, with everything needed for a classic PC group.
The Guild of Ancient Adventurers
The guild was founded by the Empress during the early days when Midgard was her capital. The goal of the guild wwas to take care of problems caused by the proximity of the Frontier. The guild get it's money from the services it renders, as well as part of the city taxes. The Guild has remained loyal to these ideals, and remains loyal to the Empress even after the Coup by her General. The Guild is opposed, of course, by the New Guild of Adventurers, with kind of a Musketeers vs Richelieu thing going on. It's also opposed by criminals and mosnters, many take refuge in the nearby Frontier, where no law rules. The old Guild still has many allies, despite the New guild stealing their merchant contacts. Those the Guild helped in the past, the families that served the Empress directly (Knights, Fletcher, the Condemned...) and even those inhabitants of the Forntier that have come to have a grudging respect for the Guild. The guild is elad by three people: Gustave, who takes care of finance and politics, Arvis, who takes cares of the people and general day-to-day activities and the Old Sage, who's in charge of scientific research. Punishment for adventurers is usually expulsion from the Guild at worst. The Guild ignores the past of it's amembers, basically letting them make a new life for themselves and work toward their own betterment.
Next time: Gods and Mythology/Cosmology
MythologyOriginal SA post Less Terres d'Amarande/The Lands of Amarande
Magic is common in this world, but not capable of world-shattering miracle. Most spells are based around combat, healing, or helping accomplish more mundane tasks. GOds, on the other hand, are those special beings who posses the Spark of Invinity which confers both Immortality and numerous other Powers. However, since the battle between gods during the far past, they have been exiled from the world, invisible to all but a few gifted people, and have had to rely on dreams, rituals and other indirect means of manipulating events. Until Ragnarok, anyway. Gods CAN curse mortals who hurt them, sometimes for multiple generations, so don't go around burning temples.
The Jotnars, Ragnars and Immortals are the principal factions of Gods, head of their respective religions (some Dragons, Monsters or stranger beings might be Gods, but they remain isloted). This is written in the Bible of Hermod, a book describing the past and future and the Gods, although of course the three religions itnerpret the book very differently. None of the Religions have managed to gain the complete support of their Gods, who oftenr emain aloof: this, the priest says, is the proof of divinity. It is mortals who needs the Gods, and not the reverse.
The major Ragnar gods are Odin, Thor, Ull, Aegir, Baldr, Freya, Tyr, Fenrir, Logi, Eir, Hel and Jord . Since they come from Norse mythology, there isn't much I can say about them. Thor is popular among humans, Aegir among Lizardmen, Freya among Elves, Tyr among Felines, Fenrir among Moonfolk (for some mysterious reason), Logi among Tomtens, Hel among Hippanthropes and Jord with dwarves. Thor's hammer is the official symbol of the Ragnar church.
Next are the Immortals: Mardouk , immortal of the sky who took back the Tablets of Destiny from the dragon; Chess Knight , immortal of war strategy, who's enchantment permits objects to come to life; Bahamut , immortal Dragon who looks like a giant fish and hide sbeneath the dephts; Doom Train , immortal machine who transports souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead; Golem , either the first golem or the primordial spirit of the race, Golems pray to him to break the chains of their Enchantments; Mummy , immortal who prepared his entrance to the world of the dead so thoroughfully he came back as undead; Rats of Hamelin , immortal enchanted creature which represents the submission of nature to intelligence, worshipped by Ratlings; Serving Shadow , immortal shapeshifter that can look like anyone's reflection, thought to originally have been the shadow of another god; Vampire , immortal who planted his sword into the Yggdrasil and drank the Blood of Life that gushed out; Statue , immortal of art and inspiration; Leviathan , immortal sea serpent that has switched alliance multiple times while somehow remaining neutral and Cyclop , an immortal giant that was thrown out because he gave fire to the monsters. As you can see, a strange, varied bunch.
And then there's the Jotnars: Thrivaldi, Titania, Mimameidr, Fraudelling, Rokar, Skadi, Rindr, Svanhit, Sinmara, Annar, Kari and Mani . They're basically Giants of nature, elemental spirits. Fraudelling and Rokar, sibling gods of the Sun, used to be one God, Sol, but were cut in two by the blind god of winter Hodr. Mani si the god of the Moon, and as such is close to the Moonfolk.
A sidebar talks about summoning gods. Some classes can summon avatars of gods to fight for them. Those aren't conduits to these gods, just representation of the power of the summoner shaped by his or her belief. (Yes, you can summon Doom Train)
Ragnarok, the mythic battle at the end of the world, is certain to most in these superstitious times. The prophecy states that, after Baldr's death, three years of winter will follow. Loki will break his chains and lead an army of Jotnars, the Raganrs and their Einherjars will fight without mercy on the gates of Breidablik, the Moon and Sun will be eaten by wolves and at the end only two humans and a few gods will emerge to create a new world.
The section ends with a short list of other gods that do not belong to any faction. There's the Fates Udr, Skuld and Verdandi , Mimir the sage who's head was cut off by Odin, Hodr blind god of winter, Iomungard son of Loki a snake so huge it circles the world, Nidhogg ancient king of dragons that gnaws at the roots of the Yggdrasil, Loki the eternal trickster and wild card and the Dark Lord , a mortal who grew so powerful he challenged and eventually became a God. He took his power from the shadow of the Yggdrasil. Those are just the most important ones.
Next: a look at the various playable races.
RacesOriginal SA post Les Terres d'Amarande/The Lands of Amarande
Before I look at the various races of the setting, a little primer on game mechanics is needed. This is due to every race having different starting Stats: each race (except humans, who get a completely different bonus) start with 3 in one stat, 1 in one stat and 2 in all others. So, I have to explain what the Stats mean in a basic way. The basic dice-roll mechanic of the game is this: you roll a number of D6s equal to your stat and then you add a bonus to one of the dice equal to your skill (in case of a skill roll) or the stat again (in case of a raw stat roll). It's important to note which dice you add the bonus to, because every time you roll a 6 or more on a dice, it "explodes", letting you add another dice to the roll. All the dices are added together to beat the Target Number. There are six stats: Speed is agility and fastness, Morale is willpower and moral fortitude, Tonus is strength and stamina, Insight is general intelligence and understanding, Character is charisma and force of personality, and Instinct is perseptions and reflexes. While some stats have more skills associated with them than others, they are all equally useful. Each weapon use a different stat for hit and then damage, each classe use a different stat for the hit roll and damage/effect roll, and then each stat also determines some of your characters other stats. Morale and Tonus determine your HP, Insight and Character determines your Anima (MP), Speed and Instinct respectively determines your Physical Evasion and Magical Evasion and one of them is used to determine your Initiative bonus (your choice, usually the highest but sometimes you want to act later in the turn).
A sidebar talks a bit about the "Mortality Sickness". Humans spread mortality like a disease, and most PCs will probably be mortal. Elves will still live like 500 years, so it's not something that will come up in-game unless you've decided to do a multi-generational game across the timeline.
The Races of the Empire are divided into three categories: Humans, the Pure Races and the Impure Races. The Pure Races are naturally immortal and used to live on the Yggdrasil. Impure Races lives among humans and have kind of the shit end of the deal. I mean, the names Pure and Impure aren't some objective statement of fact, they're in-game terms suggesting the inherent racism of the Empire. In fact, a sidebar talks about racism and how it's something that should be reserved for bad guys and normal PCs shouldn't be dicks to this or that race unless everyone's okay with roleplaying those kind of characters. Racial Mixes, people with parents from different races, are treated even worse than that. Anyway, the Empire is dominated by Humans, and the various non-human groups often band together to get their own place in society.
Humans: Your usual humans in a fantasy world. The msot nuemrous and varied race, with pretty varied ethnicities depending ont he region of the disc (the world is a flat disc circled by the World Serpent). Humans start with 2 in every stat and get 4 more experience points at the end of the first game . There is an interesting kind of balance with those numbers. Raising Stats cost the level you want to reach X 4, so going from 1 to 2 costs 8 xp and from 2 to 3 12xp. Now, if the human waits until he can raise a stat to 3 and the non-human waits until they can raise their low stat from 1 to 2, assuming the average xp per game is 4 (usually how it goes in our games), then anyone, no matter the race can have 3 in one stat and 2 in all other stats by the end of game 2. This is by design.
Elves: A race of perfectionnists, always looking for the perfect moment. This tends to make them really arrogant. Originally from Alfheim, most live away from humans, following the orders of the mysterious Council of Elves, which is comprised of what is left of their nobility. Elves get +1 Insight, -1 Tonus , they are smart but somewhat weak.
Ratlings: A discrete and humble race, legend goes that they fell from their branch of the Yggdrasil because they gnawed through it. They don't see being cowards as a flaw, arguing that it is better to flee and live than fight and die. Survival is a key point there. They made a place for themselves among the lower rungs of Human society, and are probably the non-human race that understands Humans the best. They might manage to become the first non-human race to be fully accepted as equals one day, althoguh they would have to betray their ancient tribal heritage to do. Ratlings get +1 Instinct, -1Morale as they are a perceptive but nervous race.
Lizardmen: hailing from Musphelheim, Lizardmen are a proud race of warriors. Cold, hard, and monastic, they see faith as a transaction tool with the divine. Lizardmen get +1 Tonus, -1 Instinct , they are a strong race but not the most perceptive of fellows.
Fairies: they used to live in the Yggdrasil itself, tending to it as their duty. Now that is has fallen, they are a relic of the past, living hidden in natural places or as historians and priests. They get +1 Instinct, -1 Speed they see much but react slowly to changes.
Tomtens: originally from Jotunheim, Tomtens are a peaceful race who live in quiet farming communities. Small and with a tendency to become fat, they are a friendly people. They get +1 Character, -1 Tonus , preferring to resolve conflicts through diplomacy rather than force.
Felines: According to legend, a mockery of humanity created by the Gods for shits and giggles. They served the Gods for a long time before their masters tired of them and threw them off the Yggdrasil. Nowadays, they are a curious people, noted for their independant streek and their desire to be useful. They also seem to have an ability to stay enthusiasthis in terrible situations. They get +1 Speed, -1 Insight , they are fast but learn slowly.
Moonfolks: coming from the moon, there's a ton of legends about the Moonfolk. Apparently, in the early days, their knowledge of magic rivaled that of the Gods themselves. There's a ton of superstitions about them, and they often abuse that fact instead of dismissing them. They look like pale humans, soemtimes gray, with easily hideable antennas their distinguishing characteristic. Some have joined humanity in secret, while others plan for the day they can return to the moon. Their bonus is +1 Morale, -1 Tonus . They're confident and sur eof themselve,s but favor using their midns over their brawn.
A side bar of common Moonfolk myths:
- They turn into werwolves during the full moon.
- They communicate telepathically with their antennas.
- When a Moonfolk kills another, the Moon goes red. COnversely, a blue moon calms the entire race.
- When you look at a Moonfolk, he can read your mind thanks to his antenna.
- They kidnap human children and replace them with their own.
- They prefer to die during the day, when the Moon shines on the world of the dead.
Golems: The youngest race, created as servants through technology and magic. For the longest time, they were unthinking being until, one day, one of them became conscious. As such, many Golems starts as Monsters, unthinking automatons, and become real people only when they become self-conscious, at which point to switch over to character rules. Some think this might be a variation on Mortality Sickness. Golems created by other Golems tend to go through this much faster. Golems start with +1 Tonus, -1 Speed the classic storng but slow race.
Hippanthropes: THeir origins are unknow: some think they might have been the guardians of the mythical animal known as horse, while others think they might be descendants of Sleipnir. They look like men with horse or goat head. They're a simple race of nomads and wanderers. They get +1 Tonus, -1 Insight , they focus on survival skills over book leanring.
Dwarves: Coming from Nidavellir originally, they used to live and work in large stone fortress. They'Re the classic Tolkien Dwarves, hard-working, traditionalists, monarchist. Some have adapted to life with the humans, becoming merchants and artisans. Most believe their noble families are long-lost. They get +1 Morale, -1 Character , they're sure of themselves but gruff and unsubtle.
A sidebar talks about about the lost twelfth Race: the Dark Elves . Only the ones who somehow managed to dodge Humans and the Mortality Sickness could have survived and hope to recreate their race. In case it's needed, the race bonus of Dark Elves are +1 Insight, -1 Character .
Not quite a race, there's the Einherjars . Recruited through a Valkyrie, a Muse, a member of some special Family or simply by being in an Hunting Ground, it's a telepathic contract saving a dying person in exchange of service (often combat). Most recruiters belong to the Ragnar church, recruiting warriors and then training them ebfore sending them on to Valhalla. A few less scrupulous people just want to summon people to fight for them. When not summoned, Einherjars live in a grassy field in an empty starry void, with enough food to feed themselves. Each recruiter seem to have an unique area where their Einherjars are sent. Einherjars are at the mercy of their recruite,r who can summon and unsummon them,a s well as decide to "send them to Valhalla" at any time without their consent. There is actually no proof that the vanished souls were sent to Valhalla, it's an article of faith. There are no mechanical differences between Einherjars and normal beings otherwise.
Finally, the Undead . Through Enchantments or rituals, it is possible to rise after death as an undead while keeping you soul (different from Monster Undead who do not keep their souls and are animated by evil spirits or unscrupulous necromancers). Undead can either be corporeal (skeletons, mummies, zombies, revenants, headless horsemen, some types of vampires) or incorporeal (ghosts, specters, will-o'-the-wisp, poltergeist,s apapritions and some types of vampires). While not exactly well regarded by society at large, Undeads have managed to become grudginly accepted in the Empire, thanks to the help of the Church of Mercy. Mechanically speaking, undead characters are not different from their original races. They lose all disadvantages gained during play (but not the oens they started with) and are considered to have the Undead Status always on. What does this mean? Unless kileld with an attack of the Holy element, Undead will rise again after a few turns. They invert all negative effects of the Dark Element. Corporeal Undead are immune to Spells and Incorporeal Undead are immune to Physical effects. They can never be safe from the Holy element, and in fact beneficent effects will be inversed to become negative. Also, when suffering from the Undead status, they temporarily become mortals again.
Next time, the History of the setting, from Mythic times to the default playing eras (the chapters).