Legacies and Legends


Legacies & Legends

The stories that await players in the Riddle of Steel game do not include characters. Instead the players will find that their characters are the story. The game mechanics of TROS help tell the story those characters – heroes, villains, legends, or just the common bladeslinger earning his bread with bloodshed.

The world of Erd can be a harsh and barbaric place. The adventures that lie within will test characters body, mind, and spirit.

Step 1. Decide WHO the character is with five traits.

  • A Concept is the two- or three-word description of the kind of character story the player wants to tell.
  • His Creed is the approach a character has to life and the world that awaits him. A character’s philosophy when combined with his concept will largely determine what kind of experience the player will have in seeking his Riddle.
  • A Riddle is the extensional question that lies behind all of a character’s actions and philosophies.
  • A character’s Lifepath helps weave together the stories that brought the character to where he is now. These paths grant access to skills, specializations, affiliations, and gifts.
  • An Instinct is a behavior that is such a part of a character’s behavior that it comes automatic.

Step 2. Prioritize WHAT the character can do with six categories.

  • A character’s Legacy is the racial background and lineage. A character’s bloodline affects many aspects of their story.
  • A Caste measures a character’s initial standing in society. This will affect a character’s resource and social circles.
  • The Attributes are the parameters of a character’s temporal, mental, and spiritual self.
  • Characters’ Skills are all the training and acquired ability a character has attained. Skills are chosen from sets depending on a character’s history.
  • Martial Proficiencies are combat-orientated skills a character has honed. A Vagary is a special kind of proficiency only available to sorcerers.
  • There are many Gifts , unique and advantageous perks or traits which define a character. And Flaws are disadvantageous traits which may haunt a character.

Beginning the Tale

In TROS it is more important to describe who a character is than what he can do. While a character’s Concept, Creed, and Riddle do not directly affect his statistics, they provide the necessary narrative framework for all the rest of a player’s choices. Players should give more thought to these initial steps than on anything else.


CONCEPT is essentially who the player wants to play. Players should consult with one another and the storyteller so that they complement each other. Concepts are often phrased as a two- or three-word title or description. Alternatively, players may decide to describe their concept as a theme. The beginning of the theme is determined by a character’s legacy. How they choose to complete it represents the type of character the player wishes to play.

The following are some common types of characters in the Erd.

  • Academics devote their lives to learning from the ancients and recording all they can for posterity. Examples include court historians, religious archivists, doctors, and scientists.
  • Bladeslingers are wandering swordsmen and fighters, seeking answers to the elusive Riddle of Steel. They go where instinct leads them, always looking to improve their skill and live a life of high adventure.
  • Brigands steal with a strong arm. Most are former disenfranchised soldiers who terrorize the same counties they grew up in.
  • Cheiu are the mystical rulers of Polm. They reign over the city-states of man with sorcery. In some areas they serve as advisers to the Blood.
  • Chosen Ones are oracles, prophets, and miracle workers who wield the authority of the gods. While immensely respected, the godspoken are also feared for their peculiar behavior. The mightiest are divine vessels of mercy and wrath.
  • Commoners include peasants, farmers, and laborers. Many such folk leave their homesteads to seek something better.
  • Druids are heathen priests of the Old Faith. They are distrusted by some for communing with spirits and seidhe. While traditional and ritualized, the Old Faith can hardly be called an organized religion.
  • Duelists seek tournament and glory, acting as champions in trials-by-combat or daylight assassins.
  • Entertainers travel from land to land, lord to lord, inn to inn searching for a paying audience. The desire to see new places, learn new songs and stories, and flee from offended lords keeps them moving.
  • Gamblers or con-men live for the thrill of living with risks. Most rely on wits and deception to get ahead in the world. They are forced to constantly travel – angry men or watchmen in tow – in search of the next fool.
  • Knights-errant or crusaders are the armored sword-carrying members of the higher classes that have left behind a life of comfort and wealth to serve their goals or gods or to seek out honor, fame, or penance.
  • Priests and monks and others “of the cloth” spread faith and obedience among the people, acting as leaders and advisers to kings and peasants both.
  • Roadwardens and watchmen are the long-arm of the law, patrolling borders and keeping the peace. They may be called upon to quell a minor rebellion or hunt down a notorious criminal. The most well-known are the marshals of the Blacksong wardens.
  • Scions carry the legacy of the Bloodstone covenant, the ancient bond which has mostly maintained peace throughout the karn for many generations. The noble houses of the Blood must often work with guilds and the enigmatic Cheiu to keep order in their lands.
  • Woodsmen are most at home in the wild spaces of nature. They may be pioneers, scouts, guides, freelance explorers, soldiers, or fugitives.
  • Soldiers and mercenaries fight in armies or cartels for pay, and may be driven by a desire for wealth, fame, travel, or bloodshed.
  • Street thieves and urchins live by theft and wits, stealing from anyone and everyone in an attempt to eke out an existence. Most are small-time, but all are searching for that “big score” that will allow them to retire wealthy.

Matt decides he wants to play a large brawling mercenary who, despite his intimidating size, is thoughtful and well-spoken. He conceptualizes his character as ‘Lugh the Muscled Tongue’.


CREED is a character’s approach to life and its complicated decisions. Everyone has a different approach to life. Some are aggressive or think that the strong should defend the weak; others are passive or believe that the strong should rule over the weak. A character’s philosophy will be most rewarding if it is one the player has created on his own. Nonetheless a short list of sample philosophies are provided:

  • “Kill them all and let the gods sort them out.”
  • “All for one and one for all.”
  • “Do good to those who mean you harm.”
  • “The gods gave us strength for service.”
  • “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
  • “If you stick your neck out, you’re asking to lose your head.”
  • “Let no man make laws for me.”
  • “Honor is the gift man gives to himself.”
  • “Honor is not an effective survival trait.”

Players may also want to consider their racial themes for inspiration after choosing their Legacy.

Matt decides Lugh’s creed will be ‘Pride heals quicker than flesh’, representing Lugh’s belief that words should always be traded before blows.


RIDDLE represents what your character consciously or unconsciously believes is missing from his existence. All riddles revolve around the mortal fear of death and thirst for immortality. Most mortal characters never live long enough to see a satisfying answer to their Riddle, and others eventually reinterpret what they thought was the answer. Players should choose an existential crisis that will drive them on an almost instinctual level.

The following are some common examples. Players are encouraged to create their own.

  • The Riddle of Steel is the riddle of what is strongest in life. Is it the steel weapon which crushes enemies, the mighty will that builds empires, or the powerful words which enslave mortal flesh and minds to follow a leader to grim death?
  • The Riddle of Crowns is the riddle of earthly power and glory. Statues may crumble, but mortal kingdoms will remember the names of their mighty kings and heroes until the End of All Days.
  • The Riddle of Light is the riddle of enlightenment. How do the mortal find true contentment in a transitory and suffering world? Is it found in faith and self-sacrifice? Does it even exist?
  • The Riddle of Making is a riddle of sorcery. Through magic and rituals sarrumiza can work all kinds of wonders, but one power remains elusive: the power to create from naught like gods. Many sorcerers have gone mad in their quest to learn the Charms of Making and Unmaking.
  • The Riddle of Death is the riddle of immortality at any cost. Gods will slumber and be forgotten, and even the mightiest wizard will perish, but outside the laws of life and death must exist a secret destiny for those bold enough to seek it.

Matt decides that Lugh has had a hard life. His strong stature causes many to stereotype him as a brainless thug. At the same time, he finds that his well-delivered words aren’t always enough to avoid conflict. Matt, Lugh’s player, decides on the Riddle of Steel; deep down Lugh seeks to know what is strongest and best in life.


A LIFEPATH consists of the stages of a character’s life that has led him to his current story.

  • This first path represents the first 5-8 years of the characters life. Subsequent paths may represent any amount of time, although most represent several years in the character’s life.
  • Players must consider their Social Class when deciding on initial life paths.
  • Characters age 2-8 years for each additional path they take.
  • Character creation assumes a player will take 2-3 paths.
  • All paths have a setting. Choosing a path from a different setting requires a narrative lead created by the player.
  • All paths are assumed to age a character a number of years
  • Paths qualify characters for Skills, Gifts and Flaws.
  • Paths are described further in the Lifepath Appendix.

Matt already had a backstory in mind for Lugh. Using the Lifepath Appendix he sketches out Lugh’s story so far:

Lifepath: Born Peasant: Lugh’s father was a groom for a minor noble, Lord Lusan. Lugh’s mother was Lusan’s youngest daughter, and he was conceived during their illicit affair.

Lifepath: Bondsman: After Lugh’s father was drawn and quartered by the horses he had raised and tamed, Lugh was raised as a kitchen boy by some of the servants and viciously ridiculed by Lusan’s servants and courtiers.

Lifepath: Groom: When he was old enough, Lugh took over his father’s duties until he discovered what had befallen his father. Lugh then murdered his grandfather Lusan, and ran away.


INSTINCTS are the survival habits or mechanisms within a character’s behavior. What’s been drilled into the character’s head? What life lessons has he been forced to learn? What has he taught himself in order to survive?

Instincts are a special hardwired reactions from a character’s training and experience. They have very noticeable mechanical functions. The player is allowed to program these actions and reactions into his character. Therefore, he can be assured that his character will react within certain parameters whether the player explicitly states it or not.

The best instincts are defined as clear statements: “Always do X,” “Never do Y,” or “If this condition arises, then take this action.” Some common examples are:

  • “When surprised I always draw my sword quickly.”
  • “While on patrol I always have an arrow nocked and ready to fly.”
  • “I never eat or drink anything offered to me by strangers.”
  • “When in danger I always protectively step in front of Isabella.”

Once agreed on by the player and storyteller, the instinctual action or behavior always occurs as long as the conditions are met. The player doesn’t even have to announce it. Note that instincts might allow behavior that otherwise breaks the rules of the game.

Instincts can complicate a situation for characters. Players always have the options to abstain from following their instincts. If, however, they follow through and if doing so complicates the story for them, players are rewarded with a Drama point.

Blaine, a small-time thief, has Instinct: I always carry a hidden knife. Even when things are dramatic and fast-paced, Blaine always seems to remember to carry a replacement knife. Blaine’s player doesn’t have to remind the storyteller that he is finding a replacement knife for any he may have lost. It is assumed he always does.

Blade divider

Picking Priorities

The remaining aspects of a character represent the mechanical side of the game. The Riddle of Steel uses a priority system. Players arrange the following categories into priorities A-F with A being the highest priority.

  • When a player puts a category as a high priority (A-B), he is declaring that this is the most important character aspect he wants to play. He wants his characters to shine over the others in these parts of the story.
  • When a player uses priorities C-D, he is stating that he doesn’t want his hero to be left behind in this aspect of the the story. Perhaps he’s not the best swordsman or skilled journeyman, but he can still hold his own.
  • Players put those aspects of their character which are not as important in the lower priorities (E-F).
Priority Legacy Caste Attributes Skills Proficiencies & Vagaries Gifts & Flaws
A Rare Landed Nobility 47 2 at SR6
3 at SR7
14 2 Major Gifts
B Gifted Landless Nobility 43 5 at SR7 9 1 Major Gift
C Talented High Freeman 39 2 at SR7
3 at SR8
6 1 Major Gift
1 Minor Flaw
D Special Low Freeman 35 2 at SR8
3 at SR9
4 1 Minor Gift and Flaw
or None
E Uncommon Peasant or Serf 31 5 at SR9 2 1 Major Flaw
1 Minor Gift
F Mundane Prisoner or Slave 27 2 at SR9 0 1 Major and Minor Flaw

Matt decides to place Lugh’s priorities as:

A) Attributes, so he can be exceptionally strong and fast;

B) Skills, so he can be extremely well-skilled

C) Proficiencies, so that he can start with competent fighting skills

D) Caste, so that he can start play as a low freeman

E) Gifts & Flaws, so that he can still choose a minor gift that he wants.

F) Legacy, since he’s a mundane human.


LEGACY is the racial background or bloodline of a player’s character.

  • A character’s race may provide some benefits, called racial boons.
  • A character’s race also provides them with a racial theme, a recommended starting point for their narrative journey.
  • Players should read Magic & Mysteries to learn how legacy affects a character’s capacity for sorcery.
  • Players can also read the Archives to get a better sense of the culture and history of each race.
Priority Legacy
A: Rare Seidhe, Drahm, Ixtarai
B: Gifted Gifted Human
C: Talented Changeling, Lizardkin; Talented Human, Froan, or Lāhu
D: Special Froan, Lāhu
E: Uncommon Human, Riesen
F: Mundane Human

Man is by far the most ambitious and numerous race of Erd. In their many stations, professions, and traditions, men and women attempt to distinguish themselves or control whatever discipline or area they apply themselves to. A noble might want to increase the size of his kanton, a town constable works to gain more jurisdiction, or a whole nation may wish to control another. Meanwhile the Barim believe that all of Talùn Geal was given to them. They believe they are the true stewards of the world, and they wait for the Most High to grant them an age of reclamation.

  • Racial Theme: “Claiming dominion…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • Uncommon humans still retain a faint hint of man’s ancient legacy; they gain +1 to any starting spiritual attribute.
    • Talented and gifted humans are sarrumiza and may learn sorcery. See Magic & Mysteries for more information.

Riesen are savage creatures, called monsters by men. Their lives resolve around hunting and other primal desires of mortal existence. There has never been peace among their ilk. They are at enmity with almost every other race.

  • Racial Theme: “Protecting our territory…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 to ST or AG
    • Free Survival or Athletics specialization

Lāhu, especially the Tobl race, are the most peaceful and simple mortal race of Erd. It takes a tragedy for a Lāhu not to sing. In all that they do, Tobl pride themselves as being fair-minded and well-spoken, a quality they call waipahe. Law, written and unwritten, maintains a perfect balance between personal responsibility and the jurisdiction of the community. The Tobl, though peace-loving, are hardly neutral on the matters of the world outside their marshes or forests. The Tobl take an active part in negotiating peace between warring parties. They believe that this is what they were created to do. Their cousins in the desert, the Domr, also put a lot of value in waipahe but believe actions do speak louder than even the prettiest Tobl word.

  • Racial Theme (Tobl): “Keeping peace…”
  • Racial Theme (Domr): “Serving none…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 to PER
    • Free Stealth specialization

Podan Ktor Sage

The Froan have the darkest history and the gravest obligations. The Podan Ktory and Odwazn follow droga zestar – the Old Way. They believe the Froan have an important duty given by the god Graum, whom they call Krol Gorya – Lord of Mountains. They must stand vigilant, not seeking glory outside the chanting halls and gates of gora zatsieniats, the Mountains’ Shade. The Odwazn give up everything to seek the udzits glaz – Stirring Stones. Meanwhile the Zalsanak – Flatlanders – have a completely different focus. What if the duty Graum gave us is no longer necessary? Surely the great King of the Mountains doesn’t want his children to live under rock, slowly dying out. Or what if the story of Graum and the zavierats – covenant – is just a myth fabricated by the Citadel Elders to keep the Froan from truly leaving gora zatsieniats. For whatever they have decided about droga zestar, the Zalsanak have decided to move out into Polm and live alongside the other races.

  • Racial Theme (Podan ktory): “Remembering our duty. . .”
  • Racial Theme (Zalsanak): “Forgetting our past. . .”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 to ST or EN
    • Free Occult specialization or Trade skill at SR8.

Changeling are an unfortunate and impure breed. In hopes of prophetic fulfillment, the Ixtarai seduce weak-willed men with glamor and music. Any unwanted child born of this union is returned to the human village in the dead of night. The man and his wife awake to find their own child missing and a changeling there in its place. As the child grows older, it becomes harder for him to hide his true legacy. Changelings usually attempt to discover their fey-blooded kin, but they are never allowed to stay with the Ixtarai long.

  • Racial Theme: “Finding a place…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 to AG or WIT
    • Free Survival specialization or an Etiquette or Lore specialization dealing with Ixtarai or Seidhe.
    • Talented bloodline

The Lizardkin, Rotling and Koperling alike, are the most savage of all the races. The lizardfolk bloodlines believe they are a truly magnificent race descended from great warrior spirits. They believe they should live lives of fearless deeds and devotion to strengthening their bloodline through martial victory, which they call etlu-litum, or veneration of the great spirits. As heir to one of the most ancient bloodline in Dyn, characters must carve out their own destiny, restore honor to the people, and bring them out from under the feet of the weaker races.

  • Racial Theme: “Strengthening the blood. . .”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 to TO
    • Free Survival or Occult specialization
    • Talented bloodline

Ixtarai are the rarest mortal race of Erd. Survival is the most salient motivation for all that the wild fey do. Whether they’re seeking isolated groves in which to hide or poisoning the wells around a human village, the Ixtarai will do whatever it takes to survive. Since they believe that Aita Ama will return at any point to take them away, they have never bothered to have any sort of relationship with man or Froan.

  • Racial Theme: “Surviving longer…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 AG or WIT
    • Free Survival Specialization
    • Rare bloodline
    • See Magic & Mysteries for the magical boons of the Ixtarai.

The Drahm also believe Erd was once theirs alone. They revere and petition ancestors and are the most sorcerous of all the races. The Nokto Kunuleco courts believe in the religious traditions outlined by the southern Sennomaj Pastroj. Meanwhile the imperial clans of the north, the fearsome Imperiaj Filinoj, match humans in their desire for power.

  • Racial Theme (Kunuleco): “Honoring the ancestors…”
  • Racial Theme (Filinoj): “Reclaiming dominion…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 APT or WP
    • Free Occult specialization
    • Rare bloodline
    • See Magic & Mysteries for the magical boons of the Drahm.

The Seidhe – also known as aos sí in an older mannish tongue – are beings of mischief and chaotic whim. In the Otherworld they exercise a powerful authority over the things of nature and entities aligned with their court. In the mortal realm, however, they are best known for their powerful glamor. There are many seidhe ilk, but the following boons apply to each.

  • Racial Theme (Seelie): “Reveling in mirth…”
  • Racial Theme (Unseelie): “Wakening Dyn…”
  • Racial Boons:
    • +1 WIT or SOC
    • Free Lore specialization
    • See Magic & Mysteries for the magical boons of the Seidhe.
  • All Seelie must take the Major Flaw: Old Pact and one Minor Flaw, either Greedy, Phobia, Overconfident, or Troublemaker.
  • All Unseelie must take Major Flaw: Rage and one Minor Flaw – Greedy, Overconfident, Troublemaker, or Ugly.


CASTE is the status a character has in the fatalistic medieval societies of Erd. A character’s social class decides starting resources and available affiliations. Each category will mean different things in each culture. A noble in the mortal realm is different than a noble in the seidhe world. Players should work with their storyteller to make sure they understand what each class affords for their character in his respective culture.

  • Lifestyle is the sort of life this class leads.
  • Possessions will list what sort of assets a character of this class might possess to start.
  • Resources sets a character’s Resource skill and notes how many resource parcels he acquires over time.
  • Affiliations are the sort of affiliations a player might consider to take for this social class.
  • Upkeep is the Resource challenge level a character must pass regularly to maintain his lifestyle.

Prisoners and slaves (Priority F) begin with nothing other than the rags on their backs. They spend their days in a dungeon or at hard labor. A very rare few may one day earn their freedom.

  • Lifestyle: Living conditions are extremely poor, and live expectancy is very short.
  • Possession: None.
  • Resources: None. Character begins with SR10.
  • Affiliations: Prisoners may know other prisoners; slaves probably know other slaves.
  • Upkeep: Unnecessary. The slave or prisoner’s masters usually provide the minimum required for survival.

Peasants and serfs (Priority E) may not own weapons legally in many lands, though many steal them and become bandits or brigands. In times of need they may be called upon to fight as infantry in their lord’s army, though is rare. Most of them cannot afford anything but the clothes on their back and perhaps a mule or semi-valuable items. They are little more than property and may not leave their lord’s land without his permission, though few lords will actually pursue any that run off.

  • Lifestyle: Peasants live in a hovel, which isn’t luxurious but is usual warm and dry enough for comfort. The most furniture a hovel might have is a simple table, and a peasant might have made a small bench or two.
  • Possession: 5 geld marks in equipment.
  • Resources: 1 parcel twice a year selling off excess or stolen goods. Character begins with Resources SR10.
  • Affiliations: Peasants know others who work their lord’s land.
  • Upkeep: To keep a roof over head and bread on table, is Simple (obstacle 1).

Low freeman (Priority D) are indentured to no one, but likely work for someone. They may be merchants, clergy, or even soldiers and mercenaries. Many sailors and pirates come from this class. They may own weapons if they can afford it, but a horse is usually out of their means. Their rights are identical to those of High Freeman.

  • Lifestyle: A shared cottage or apartment in a city.
  • Possession: 15 geld marks in equipment.
  • Resources: 1 parcel a month from employment. Character begins with Resources SR9.
  • Affiliations: They may have professional affiliations but nothing above their station.
  • Upkeep: To keep a roof over head and bread on table is an Average challenge.

High freeman (Priority C) are merchants, clerks, well-to-do farmers and artisans, soldiers, and mercenaries. Most adventurers and wanderers come from this class, as well as many clergyman and courtesans. They are sometimes educated in either a school or a military academy, and may possess their own horse and weapons. In mannish lands, freeman may bear arms and wear non-metal armors, but may not own more land than their lord allows.

  • Lifestyle: A quaint cottage or homestead farm house.
  • Possession: 50 geld marks in equipment.
  • Resources: 4 parcels a month from employment. Character begins with Resources SR8.
  • Affiliations: In addition to professional affiliations, high freeman may have a few contacts with the gentry.
  • Upkeep: To keep up the lifestyle of a high freeman is a Tricky challenge.

Landless nobility, known in some cultures as the gentry (Priority B), own little or no land. They instead receive income as soldiers, courtiers, or freelances. Many become swordsmen and adventurers, seeking their fortunes at the tip of a blade. The gentry have the right to bear all arms and armors, own land, and enforce their lord’s laws. In Bloodstone covenant society their names are often prefaced with Var (master), Ver (sir) or Vro (lady).

  • Lifestyle: A comfortable house with one or two servants.
  • Possession: 100 geld marks in equipment.
  • Resources: If employed, 10 parcels a month from superiors for bachelor knights or courtiers. Character begins with Resources SR8.
  • Affiliations: The gentry may have a wide range of affiliations, professional as well as social. They most likely serve a noble house.
  • Upkeep: To keep up the lifestyle of a gentry is a Hard challenge.

Landed nobility, or lords (Priority A), live a very comfortable life in one or more sizable manors. In return for the taxes they collect, lords must provide protection and administration of their province, a duty which only requires a few weeks at home out of the year to oversee. Occasionally, however, the local ruler may call upon them for service. Lords possess all possible rights and privileges offered by society. Their names are prefaced with Heer (lord).

  • Lifestyle: A sizable manor with service from 10 servants or bondsmen, several hundred serfs, and a small garrison of 10-20 soldiers.
  • Possession: 250 geld marks in equipment.
  • Resources: 30-40 parcels a month from lands, taxes, and other sources. Character begins with Resources SR7.
  • Affiliations: Landed nobility have the largest social circles, including the political circles of his nation.
  • Upkeep: To keep up the lifestyle of a lord is a Difficult challenge.

The class structure outlined above can easily apply to all feudal societies in Erd. The most developed, of course, exists in Polm and was established with the Bloodstone Covenant. Even the barbarian islands of the Svartans have thanes and kings. However, classless societies do exist in some corners of Erd. To translate these guidelines to these cultures, players and storytellers must consider the following aspects.

  • Starting possessions: What is wealth in the character’s culture?
  • Rights: What rights are or are not given to the character’s class?
  • Resources: How does the character make a living? What comforts can that afford him?


ATTRIBUTES are a crucial part of a character’s makeup.

  • Each player is given a number of points to divide amongst the 5 temporal and 5 mental attributes. This quantity is determined by the attribute priority level chosen (e.g. C starts with 39).
  • These points are distributed with a few restrictions.
    • First, players must nominate one attribute as “high”. No other attribute may be equal to or exceed the “high” attribute at this stage of character creation.
    • No mortal beneath the Rare legacy may begin with an attribute higher than 7 or lower than 2 prior to racial modifiers.

Temporal Attributes

Temporal attributes deal with the tangible, physical realm.

  • Strength (ST) is a measure of physical power and brawn, and has a great influence on damage dealt in combat, as well as some physical feats.
  • Agility (AG) is a measure of nimbleness, dexterity, speed, and hand-eye coordination. Agility is a key element in all physically active characters such as warriors, thieves, and some entertainers.
  • Toughness (TO) is a measure of physical grit and hardiness. A high TO protects characters from bodily harm.
  • Endurance (EN) is a measure of general “fitness”, and plays a large roll in any long-term physical activity. In combat, EN will help to ensure a wounded character can stay on his feet.
  • Health (HT) is a measure of a character’s life force, including his immune system and healing capabilities.

Mental Attributes

Mental attributes deal with the elements and forces of the mind. An average human’s ability is ranked at 4, while 10 is the maximum degree attainable by most mortal races.

  • Willpower (WP) is a measure of mental endurance and determination. This extremely useful virtue often means the difference in tight spots. This kind of person determination is best found in hardened soldiers and those fiercely dedicated to their causes. It also helps to protect a character from supernatural influence.
  • Wit (WIT) is a measure of mental reflex and sharpness, best exhibited in comedians and fencers. This trait is a key element for both good fighters and those that deal in cutthroat intrigue.
  • Aptitude (APT) is a measure of how quickly one learns and how much they retain, exemplified by scholars. This is not a measure of intelligence and cleverness, however. Those are left up to the player. APT grants characters with bonus skill specializations during character creation.
  • Social (SOC) is a measure of how charismatic, empathetic, and culturally adept a character is. This is a crucial ability for courtiers, leaders, and merchants.
  • Perception (PER) is a measure of alertness and awareness to a character’s surroundings. This attribute can warn of an impending ambush or help locate secret passages. Woodsmen and rogues are often noted for their keen senses.

Spiritual Attributes

SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES are described fully in Flesh & Bone: Spiritual Attributes. For character creation players need to know the following.

  • Each player chooses 3 spiritual attributes to start with and describes how they apply to their character.
  • Only Oath and Passion may be taken more than once.
  • Choosing Doom counts as a Major Flaw.
  • Each player is given 7 SA points to distribute among their spiritual attributes.
  • Spiritual attributes may have a value of 0 at any time.

Derived Attributes

DERIVED ATTRIBUTES are calculated from combining existing attributes. All figures are rounded down.

  • Reflex (REF) is a combination of Agility and Wit, and determines how quickly a character may physically react to external stimulus. Average reflex is 4. Reflex = (AG + WIT)/2.
  • Aim (AIM), extracted from Perception and Agility, quantifies a character’s natural ability to hit a target over distances. Aim = (AG + PER)/2.
  • Knockdown (KD) is a measure of how solid and balanced one remains after taking a blow. Average Knockdown is 4. Knockdown = (ST + AG)/2.
  • Knockout (KO) is a measure of how hard it is to knock a character unconscious, based on Toughness and Willpower. Average Knockout is 6. Knockout = TO + ½WP.
  • Move (MOV) is a measure of how much distance one can cover on foot in a round. Average Move is 6. Move = (ST + AG + EN)/2.

Attributes are Lugh’s highest priority, giving him 47 points. Matt decides to have all Lugh’s attributes at at least 4 to make him well-rounded. But what he really wants Lugh to shine in is tests of strength and socializing, which he chooses as Lugh’s High attribute. When he’s finished, he has the following attributes for Lugh: ST 6, AG 4, TO 6, EN 4, HT 4, WP 4, WIT 4, APT 4, SOC 7, PER 4. Lugh’s derived attributes would be REF 4, AIM 4, KD 5, KO 8, and MOV 7. Lugh is clearly a tough guy, but also a smooth talker.


SKILLS are those learned abilities that each person has. A character’s Skill priority and Lifepath decisions decide which skills, how many skills, and what Skill Ratings (SR) he begins with.

Athletics Etiquette Larceny Military Resources Steel
Circles Horsemanship Lore Occult Sailing Survival
Deceit Language Medicine Performance Stealth Trade
  • Characters choose skills appropriate to their Lifepath with an SR decided by their Skill priority.
  • Characters gain free skills from their Legacy and Gifts
  • See the Skill Appendix for more information.

An SR is the Target Number for tests using that skill. They are classified as follows:

  • SR10: Untrained
  • SR9: Beginner
  • SR8: Novice
  • SR7: Apprentice
  • SR6: Competent
  • SR5: Journeyman
  • SR4: Master
  • The starting Resources skill rating is set by a character’s Caste, representing his earning potential.

Since skills are priority B for Lugh, he begins with 5 apprentice skills (SR7). From his lifepath he chooses Circles, Horsemanship, Athletics, Etiquette, and Steel. His Resource skill is SR9 since he is a Low Freeman.


SKILL SPECIALIZATIONS (Specs) give a character Edge in a situation.

  • Characters begin with a number of specs equal to their Aptitude.
  • Characters may also gain free specs from their legacy or gifts.
  • Specs are written on a separate line with a colon and description. (E.g. Survival: Forest)
  • Specs can give an Edge of 0 to 3 additional dice depending on the situation. Generally, the more detailed a specialization is the fewer situations it applies to but the greater bonus it awards.
    • 0 Edge means the specialization was required. Without the spec, a character would have been penalized. Etiquette specs are good examples of this.
    • +1 Edge means the spec has made him well-equipped for the challenge. This is the default for most specs.
    • +2 Edge means the character’s specialization has given the character a significant advantage in the challenge. The character probably knows something his opponent doesn’t, or the character’s experience might given him some special insight.
    • +3 Edge means the character’s specialization has given him an overwhelming advantage. His training and history allows him to exploit a weakness in his opponent, or the experience has certainly given him the secret to success.

Lugh and his allies need to find out some information about an infamous pirate who has been known to hang out at the docks in Ylm. While Lugh has Circles: Ylm, one of his privateer allies who grew up in the bay city-state has Circles: Ylmish Sailors. The storyteller decides this is worth more of an edge than Lugh’s specialization.

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Legacies and Legends

Legacy of Orphans seanpmcochran