War of the Red Moon
Skills and System
There are five attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Agility, Vigor, and Spirit. Each attribute has a die rating (d4, d6, d8, d10 or d12). You typically don't roll your attribute die, but having high attributes is good because it allows you to raise the die value of skills linked to that attribute more easily.
Skills are the main way characters accomplish actions in the world. Whenever you take an action that requires a particular skill, you roll that skill's die value, trying to get a roll equal to or greater than the target number (on average the target is 4, but this may increase or decrease depending on how difficult the task is). You also roll a wild die of 1d6, and you can choose to take either the roll you got on your skill die or the roll you go on your wild die. Additionally, if you roll the maximum on either die, you get to re-roll it and add the new roll into your total (and if you roll the maximum value again, you can continue to re-roll. If your chosen roll is equal to or greater than the target number, you succeed at that action and if not, you fail. If you beat the target number by 4 or more, this is called a raise and it usually means you succeed with a bonus of some kind. For every additional 4 points your roll is higher than the target number, you get an additional raise. Every skill has a linked attribute. When you gain a level, if you want to raise your skills' die value, you can either raise two skills whose values are less than their linked attribute, or one skill whose die value is equal to or higher than its linked attribute. Below is a list of skills used in this game, organized by linked attribute:
There is only one skill linked to strength. However, strength helps deal more damage in melee combat, so it's valuable in and of itself.
- Climbing – You use this skill to climb all manner of obstacles.
- Fighting – You use this skill to engage in melee combat.
- Riding – You use this skill to ride horses and other mounts.
- Shooting – You use this skill to fire bows, slings, and other missile weapons.
- Stealth – You use this skill to avoid detection.
- Throwing – You use this skill to attack with thrown weapons of various kinds.
- Boating – You use this skill to pilot boats of all kinds.
- Gambling – You use this skill to win at dice, cards, and other games of chance.
- Healing – You use this skill to dress wounds, perform rudimentary surgery, and employ healing herbs and other natural means of healing wounds.
- Knowledge (Mythology) – You use this skill to draw upon your knowledge of the mythical tales of gods and heroes.
- Knowledge (Geography) – You use this skill to draw upon your knowledge of the world and its peoples.
- Knowledge (Magic) – You use this skill to draw upon your knowledge of magic and spellcasting.
- Knowledge (Law) – You use this skill to draw upon your knowledge of the law and precedents of Delos and other lands.
- Investigation – You use this skill to gather information to solve problems.
- Perception – You use this skill to notice things in your environment.
- Poetry – You use this skill to compose and recite poems.
- Survival – You use this skill to forage for food/water, survive in the wilderness, and track others.
- Taunt – You use this skill to make enemies lose their cool.
- Sorcery – You use this skill to cast spells using runes, the basic magical building blocks of the world.
There are few skills linked to spirit. However, spirit is used to recover from being shaken in combat, so it's valuable in and of itself.
- Intimidate – You use this skill to make others lose their nerve and obey your commands.
- Persuade – You use this skill to convince others to do what you want them to do.
- Shamanism – You use this skill to negotiate with, propitiate, and enter into contracts with spirits who can lend you their magic.
- Divinity – You use this skill to channel magic from the gods to cast spells.
There are no skills linked to vigor. However, vigor is used to resist taking damage in combat and so is valuable in and of itself.
Glorantha is a world steeped in magic. The world was created by the magic of the Ancient One, and when it was broken by Chaos, it was remade with the magic of the Lightbringers and their followers. Some sages even say that every creature and object is made up of combinations of invisible runes. Every person in Glorantha interacts with magic in some way, from the lowliest peasant to mighty kings, priests or sorcerers. Even the untrained, ignorant or untalented may know a simple spell or two to ward off disease or mend broken objects, and can also rely upon luck and the favor of the gods to protect them from evil spirits and misfortune. Those who are skilled in a magical tradition can cast mighty spells, drawing power from gods or spirits or even using the basic building blocks of the world – the runes. There are two types of magical energy: fortune and mana.
Fortune represents the ambient magic of luck and the favor of gods and spirits. It is available to all characters, whether they are trained in magic or not. Most characters begin the game with three points of fortune. If spent, these points are refreshed every season. Additionally, the GM will award points of fortune as rewards for good roleplaying or clever plans. Fortune can be used in the following ways:
- Whenever you roll a skill check, you can spend a point of fortune to re-roll it, but you must take the new result.
- Whenever you are about to take a wound, you can spend a point of fortune to negate the wound.
- Whenever you are shaken, you can spend a point of fortune to immediately recover.
- Whenever you are taking any action that uses mana, you can spend fortune points as if they were mana points.
- By using simple rituals, fortune can be transferred to another person. Magical creatures and powerful spell casters sometimes use fortune as a sort of currency.
Mana is the innate magical power used by magically talented or trained creatures to cast spells. Each creature begins each day with mana points equal to the maximum value of their Spirit die (so if you had d10 Spirit, you would start with 10 mana), and these are refreshed with every new day. Mana points are used to cast spells of all kinds. If a spell of effect causes you to gain mana above the maximum value of your spirit die and that mana is not spent by the end of your next turn, you must succeed at a Vigor check equal to or greater than the number of extra mana points, or take one wound as the mana burns you up from inside.
There are four types of spellcasting known in the land of Delos: folk magic, divine magic, shamanism, and sorcery.
Folk magic refers to weak spells commonly known to everyone. They are easy to cast, but the effects of folk magic are comparatively weak. Anyone who learns a folk magic spell can cast it, even if they are not trained in any magical skill.
Divine magic refers to casting spells by invoking the power of a god. Divine spells tend to cost less mana, but their effects are not as flexible as sorcery.
Shamanism refers to magic performed by invoking the aid of spirits friendly to the caster. Shamanistic spells often cost no mana at all (since the power is provided by the spirit) but can be used a limited number of times instead.
Sorcery refers to magic performed using the power of the runes, the fundamental magical building blocks of the world. Sorcery can have very flexible and powerful effects, but it requires having knowledge of specific runes, and usually requires the most mana.
The Plane of the Gods
There is one final type of magical ritual used by the people of Glorantha - that of traveling to the plane of the gods on a quest to bring back powerful magic. The gods have left the world and no longer physically live side by side with mortals. Instead, they exist in the plane of the gods, a timeless realm where present, past and future are mixed and often the same. There, the great deeds of the gods in past ages are eternally re-enacted.
When a mortal seeks to travel to the realm of the gods, he can attempt to do so using a special ritual known to all cultures in Glorantha. The Magic required to power this ritual is substantial and often whole groups of worshippers must pool their magic to send one person to the plane of the gods.
Once there, the mortal takes on the role of one of the gods, re-enacting the mythological deeds of that god. The goal is that by successfully re-enacting the entire myth, the mortal can tap into the magic of the gods to accomplish a similar effect back in the mortal world. Recreating a myth where a god made peace between two warring tribes can create peace between rival clans on earth, for instance.
However these quests are always perilous. The nature of the plane of the gods is such that sometimes the myth will not always go as planned, forcing the mortal to improvise. And in order to re-enact the myth, the mortal must accomplish similarly great deeds as the god in the story – not often an easy feat. Every quester's mettle is tested in these journeys, and some never return, or are damaged beyond repair by what happened to them on the god plane.