Homebrew special rules

A short one, today.  Here are a few special rules I use in my homebrew setting.  I really like the world building aspect and crowd sourcing it as it both helps me figure out where the players want to go and what they want to do and keeps me from having to come up with everything myself.

And, in a game where you almost inherently have to have a crew of NPC’s following you around, it’s important to set boundaries on what they can do for the PC’s.

Dynamic Fighting arose from playing Edge of the Empire and all the weird things that come up with their success system.  It always felt like a waste when you got more than one raise on a Fighting or Shooting roll in Savage Worlds, so with this system, you can actually use them for something.

Setting Rules

THINGS YOU CAN DO DURING YOUR TURN DURING WORLD BUILDING

  1. Define Something About the Universe – This can be almost anything as long as it does not contradict something that is already defined. You could declare that some NPC is your long lost uncle or that there is a new ship in the Ravnivori fleet or that the people of the planet you’re on enjoy a particular type of dish or that a certain type of creature exists or that there is a certain legend.
  2. Refine Something About the Universe – If something has been previously defined, whether by another player or the GM, you may refine it either by adding or clarifying some detail. Again, this can be anything as long as it does not contradict something already established.
  3. Spawn a Named NPC – This can be one of two things, either an NPC who lives at whatever location the party is currently at or turning one of the nameless, generic crewmembers into a Named NPC.

When you Spawn a Named NPC you get to define his/her name, race and culture (if they are Imperials.) You also define their Base Abilities and Skills. These NPC’s start with a D4 in each attribute and have 4 points to spend to raise them. Crewmembers get 3 Skills at a D6 and one at a D4 while “native” NPC’s get one skill at D8 two at D6 and one at D4. Named NPC’s get 250 Imperial Marks worth of equipment.

Note that all Named NPC’s start as Extras and thus have only one wound.

  1. Refine a Named NPC – If someone has already spawned a Named NPC during world building and you would like to further define it, you may choose a Hindrance for the NPC. This may be a Major Hindrance if one has not already been chosen for the NPC or a Minor Hindrance if two Minor Hindrances have not already been chosen. You may then either spend the point(s) generated using standard character creation rules or leave them for someone else to spend. Note that if you spend one point to gain extra equipment the NPC only gets another 250 Marks’ worth.
  2. Advance a Named NPC – If there is an existing Named NPC that you would like to make better, this is done just like an advance for a PC with the same options for advancement. Additionally, an advance can be spent to add a Wound to a Named NPC. This can be done up to two times which makes the NPC the equivalent of a PC as far as Wounds go and is the limit to the number of times this can be done. Once a Named NPC has 3 wounds, another opportunity can be spent to give the Named NPC a Wild Die and another to give him Bennies like a standard PC.

Each of these options can only be selected once per World Building Session. Thus, a Named NPC cannot get a boost to attributes and skills twice in a World Building Session or gain two wounds in a World Building Session.

  1. Other – Almost everything should be covered by one of these categories, but if anything comes to mind that doesn’t, suggest it and it can be worked out.

THINGS YOUR CREW CAN DO WITH/FOR YOU

  1. Make a Skill Check – Several crewmen on the Capital Gains have skills that the player characters do not. Kaylee’s Repair skill, for example. In addition, there will be times when the PC’s do have the pertinent skills but will not be able to perform all the tasks required. For example, the Capital Gains has more weapons than PC’s to fire them. Any player can declare that a member of the crew, or a group of crewmen are performing a skill check. Of course, this exposes them to whatever risk would normally occur around that skill check.
  2. Assist in a Skill Check – The crew have a number of skills that duplicate those of the PC’s. Any time the crew is available, the PC’s may have them assist. The crew will make a separate roll and for every success and raise they get, the PC gets a +1 to their roll. A number of crewmen have skills that can support the PC’s skills. Granada, for example, has Knowledge: Battle skill and can assist M’Zashi in his checks. Additionally, the crew in general has a Piloting skill and any maneuver or Piloting check made while on the Capital Gains by any of the characters can be aided by the general crew.
  3. Help You In a Fight – Using the Allied NPC rules from Savage Worlds, the party can always take a few sidekicks around with them. The players will essentially play two characters, their PC and an NPC. These can be named NPC’s like Ishi or generic NPC’s. In either case, they are subjected to the same dangers as the PC’s and are, generally, much more fragile but can be invaluable when the numbers are against you. Too keep the battlefield from getting too crowded, I would like to limit this to one Allied NPC per player. Additionally, the NPC’s have to be available in-game. No running off alone to the Lost Temple and then whipping a side kick out of your magic…pocket.
  4. Turn a Regular Battle Into a Mass Battle – In any battle involving the whole crew (a boarding action or land based battle where the whole or a significant portion has been taken along) the Mass Battle rules can be utilized. This keeps the party from having to fight a hoard of opponents while their crew twiddles their collective thumbs but ups the stakes as well as each token lost in a Mass Battle represents several crewmen. Of course, a subset of the crew can also be used, only the marines or only the skeleton soldiers, for example. Going forward, we will use the Ultimate Mass Battle rules as much as possible. In that system, a regular Sailor has a Composition Rating of 1. A Marine has a Composition Rating of 2. A Skeleton Soldier has a Composition Rating of 3.

Dynamic Fighting –

On a hit and a single raise on a fighting roll, the rules remain the same as the core rulebook. However, to take into account the spectacular success involved in multiple additional raises and to make combat more interesting, each additional raise can be “spent” for a special effect using Dynamic Fighting. Listed below are several special results that can be “bought” with these extra raises on an attack roll. No matter how many raises are obtained, the same result cannot be bought twice, nor do their results stack. For instance, an attacker could spend one raise to lower the target’s parry only for himself or two to lower the target’s parry for everyone but would only gain a 1 point parry reduction for his own attacks if he bought both. (Much better to buy the parry reduction for everyone and a hit increase for himself.) In all cases, these results are temporary and last only until the end of the attacker’s next turn.

For one raise an attacker may –

Add +1 to fighting rolls against the target for the attacker, only.

Lower the target’s parry by 1 against the attacker, only.

Add +1 to his parry against the target for the attacker, only.

Add +1 to damage rolls against the target for the attacker, only.

Lower the target’s cover bonus against the attacker, only by one level.

Increase the die type of a bonus damage die by 1 against the target for the attacker, only.

For two raises an attacker may –

Add +1 to fighting rolls against the target for everyone attacking the target.

Lower the target’s parry by 1 against everyone attacking the target.

Add +1 to the parry of everyone against the target.

Add +1 to damage rolls against the target for everyone attacking the target.

Add +1 to his parry against everyone attacking him.

Lower the target’s cover bonus against everyone attacking the target by one level.

Push the target back 1” (6’)

Reduce the target’s pace by 2 and lower his running die by one type.

Eliminate any gang up bonuses against the attacker.

 

Ravnivori Empire – Enemies of the Empire 2: the Capraerian Khanates

This one kind of came to me in a flash.  They’re inspired by miniatures I own.  But, once I started down the path, it went fast and deep.  In fact, it even inspired me to write a sequel for one of my novels.  These guys seem a perfect opponent for the Empire on the Soulless World, with their obsession and skill with Necromancy.

The Capraerian Khanates – Beastmen (Abraks) Abrak society is based around a caste system with the Pentavirate at the undisputed top all the way down to the serfs who are little more than slaves.

Even these individuals lead lives that are exponentially better than those of the actual slaves of the Capraerian Hegemony. These non-Abrack humanoids are treated as pets as best and as simple beasts of burden at worst. They are forced to perform on the most menial and strenuous of jobs – pulling, carrying, digging, and are neither given tools nor expected to know how to use them. It is not uncommon to see a group of slaves digging a trench with sticks or their bare hands or breaking rocks with other rocks, all while be extorted by their Abrak masters to work faster and receiving lashes for their troubles.

It is not illegal to teach a slave to read in Abrak society just as it is not illegal to teach a monkey to read in other societies and for the same reasons.

Humanoids are generally bred for size and strength (and they are bred) but are still often stunted due to a lack of nutrition. A life of labor begins early for these miserable individuals and, as soon as they can walk, they are set simple, but strenuous tasks lie carrying water to their fellow slaves.

Predictably and, perhaps fortunately, life for a Capraerian slave is invariably short. If their hard life of labor, want and abuse doesn’t kill them at an early age, their masters do. For the similarity between Capraerian slaves and livestock in other cultures does not end with them being beasts of burden. Unless they die of a virulent disease, almost every slave ends up butchered for meat.

Even then, their service to their cruel masters is not at an end. Necromancy is easily the most common and respected form of magic in the Capraerian Hegemony and the remains of any slave that can be recovered are reanimated to continue serving after their deaths. Ironically, these undead servants are often given jobs with more responsibility than their living counterparts.

An Abrak would never dream of arming a living slave, partially because he would not expect him to have the mental and physical ability to wield it effectively and partially because they would still potentially be somewhat dangerous to their masters. Yet, the vast majority of footsoldiers in the Capraerian military are armed and often armored skeletons.

Likewise, skeletons are given axes, shovels and other tools to aid in their work. These otherwise mindless undead are imbued, at creation, with simple skills like fighting with a weapon and wielding a shield, forming a shield wall, setting spears, using bows, or simple tools but never at more than the basic level and they are incapable of learning anything more.

They are very docile compared to most other mindless undead, and will simply stand without doing anything unless given orders. They are controlled by special amulets that allow even non-necromancers to guide 5, 10, 20, or even 50 mindless undead at a time. The Ravnivori have stolen this “technology.” Once given a command they continue it indefinitely, until destroyed or given another command, whether to do something else or simply to stop.

These skeletons make exceptional simple infantry for a Void going nation as they do not tax the limited resources of a void going vessel and the Capraerians have learned to break them down into pieces and pack them, weapons and all into crates that are only 2’x3’x1’. This means that a full 20 of them can be placed into a single cargo slot on a ship. This is also a technique that the Ravnivori have stolen.

Interestingly, even the lowliest of Abrak is never reanimated as a mindless undead, or eaten by his fellows, for that matter. In fact, they consider cannibalism disgustingly taboo. This fate is one reserved only for non-Abraks.

That is not to say there are no Abrak undead in the Capraerian Khanates. In fact, every member of the Pentavirate and most of the highest officials under them are sentient undead. These individuals have achieved their unloving immortality by a rather unique method.

The most politically powerful Capraerians have massive ziggurats constructed in their honor through a combination of labor by both slaves and dedicated followers. These ziggurats become objects of worship and devotion for their followers. They are constructed along ancient and precise rules and become huge necromantic batteries. When enough spiritual energy has been gathered, the individual interred within is reanimated as a sentient undead and generally takes back over the territory he or she left behind upon death, often to the chagrin of his living descendants whose rule is thus usurped.

The average Capraerian is completely unaware that their highest level rulers are powered by the same energies as their lowliest servants and would likely be horrified if they ever found out. To these average citizens, their greatest rulers are simply reborn due to their devotion to them so that they continue leading them to glory in a deathless state. This is completely accurate as far as it goes.

At one time, any Capraerian with the power and resources could have a ziggurat built in their honor. In relatively recent times (the last several centuries) it has become law that only those allowed by the Pentavirate may have a ziggurat built. And the Pentavirate has only given permission on worlds other than their home world, largely as a method to ensure that colonization takes place and to keep any potential rivals from getting too powerful.

Abrak Necromancer Lord

Agility: d8 Smarts: d8 Spirit: d8 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8

Skills: Drive d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Knowledge (Necromancy) d8, Notice d8, Spellcasting d8, Throwing d6, Tracking d6

Pace: 7 Parry: 6(9) Toughness: 10(3)

Edges: Arcane Background (Magic,) Frenzy, Necromancer

Size: +1 Abraks average 7’ in height and are powerfully built

Armor: +1 Thick Fur

Low Light Vision: Halve penalties for illumination

Gear: Sword (Str + d8, +1 Parry), Armor (+2), Bladed Shield (+2 Parry, +2 Toughness vs. ranged, Str +d6)

Powers (10 Points): Bolt, Deflection, Fear

Abrak Warrior

Agility: d6 Smarts: d6 Spirit: d6 Strength: d8 Vigor: d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Throwing d6, Tracking d6

Pace: 7 Parry: 6(7) Toughness: 8(1)

Size: +1 Abraks average 7’ in height and are powerfully built

Armor: +1 Thick Fur

Low Light Vision: Halve penalties for illumination

Gear: Sword/Axe/Mace (Str + d8), Light Shield (+1 Parry, +1 Toughness vs. ranged)

Edge:

Capricorn

Requirements: Novice, Abrak, Swimming d6, Vigor d8

When exposed to water, you are capable of growing gills and a fish tail to replace your legs. You gain the Aquatic trait with a pace equal to your swimming.

Gear

Capraerian War Chariot

Constructed from a combination of wood, brass and bone, a Capraerian War Chariot is often used by Capraerian Necrolords as personal transport and war machines. They are generally drawn by a quartet of humanoid skeletons who are heavily armed and armored.

Acc/TS: Toughness: Crew: Notes:

Animal’s Pace 10(2) 1+1 Provides Medium Cover to crew. Scythes do 2d6 damage to people in adjacent squares with a successful Drive check.

Necrolash

Constructed out of the vertebrae of several humanoids, attached to the tibia and fibula of one of them, a Necrolash is a whip more than a dozen feet long. It is an exceptionally heavy weapon and requires both an above average level of strength and a talent with necromantic energy to wield properly. A Necrolash delivers savage wounds but is also infused with dark energy. Anyone hit by the weapon has part of their spirit drained, leaving them weak and disoriented.

Str + d8 Notes: Reach 2, Minimum Strength d8, requires Necromancer Edge or -2 penalty, any target shaken takes a -2 to recover.

Capricorn Crumster

Size 16 Acc/TS 2/10 Handling -1

Crew 19 + 18 Toughness 25(10) Wounds 3

Mods 19 Cost 99,850 Cargo 44

Notes 3x Armor, Cargo Hold, Crew Increase, Heavy Armor, 3x Passenger Decrease, 2x Reinforced Hull, Ram, Turret

Weapons Medium Ballista x2

Range: 25/50/100 Dam: 3d8 ROF: 1 Crew: 2 Notes: Heavy Weapon

Heavy Catapult

Range: 75/150/300 Dam: 4d8 RoF: 1 Crew: 3 Notes: AP20, Heavy Weapon, Turret

The only design created by the Capraerians, the Capricorn is a heavy warship and troop transport. It is inspired by some of their most revered citizens and their legendary ancestors the creatures with goat forequarters and fish tails known as Capricorns. They are very heavily armed and armored but have a somewhat inefficient design requiring a larger than normal crew and without much space for additional passengers. This is not generally an issue for a Capraerian troop transport as the bulk of their troops are skeletons, in any case. In fact, the Capraerians took this into account when designing the Capricorn and gave it a spacious cargo hold. In fact, if they use the hold for nothing other than carrying these undead they can transport almost 900 skeletons (though they would have no way to command that many troops with the crew available to a single Capricorn. Because of how durable these vessels are and their abilities to carry so much cargo, a few brave captains have stolen the design. It does take a truly brave captain, however, as Capraerians hold their Capricorns as religious icons and zealously hunt down any non-Abrak who dares defile them by using one.

Necrocorn

Size 16 Acc/TS 2/10 Handling -1

Crew 19 + 18 Toughness 25(10) Wounds 3

Mods 15 Cost 115,350 Cargo 40

Notes 3x Armor, Cargo Hold, Crew Increase, Heavy Armor, 3x Passenger Decrease, 2x Reinforced Hull, Ram, Sentient, Turret

Agility: d6, Smarts: d4 (A), Spirit: d6, Strength: d10

Skills: Fighting: d8, Notice: d6, Piloting: d6

Parry: 6

Special Abilities:

Horns: Str + 3d6

Weapons Medium Ballista x2

Range: 25/50/100 Dam: 3d8 ROF: 1 Crew: 2 Notes: Heavy Weapon

Heavy Catapult

Range: 75/150/300 Dam: 4d8 RoF: 1 Crew: 3 Notes: AP20, Heavy Weapon, Turret

Utilizing the same general design as a Capricorn Crumster, a Necrocorn is made from the gathered remains of several massive starbeasts, often including at least one Kindori. Through extensive rituals, these cobbled together beasts are a single mindless undead creature. Due to their Necromantic abilities, Capraerian Lords often use these as their personal vessels as they are able to control them directly. They lose much of their capacity to carry undead troops, but the Necrolords do not mind as they use them only as command vessels for larger fleets or personal hunter-killers.

Exiles #28 The Ringer

Another original character that I only knew through the old Marvel Universe write ups.  I did, however, read the stories with the actual Ringer below…or the person I made the Ringer.

I find Leila’s story strangely compelling.  Even if her characterization in Lethal Foes of Spider-Man was a little thin.  In fact, I was inspired to write this up because I just read a TPB with Deadly Foes and Lethal Foes combined so I had her story arc all together.  The first story is far superior.  It’s dense and almost Shakesperean in it’s complexity and level of betrayal.  The second one is…very 90’s.  As you can see below, I took the cyborg out of the story because…well, very 90’s.

As devious as she was, I feel like a slightly different direction and she could be inspired to be a hero instead of a villain.  So, without further ado, here’s the all new all not lame, Ringer –

Ringer

Leila Davis

Fighting: GD

Agility: EX

Strength: GD

Endurance: GD

Reason: EX

Intuition: GD

Psyche: EX

Health: 50

Karma: 50

Resources: GD(10)

Popularity: 4

Powers:

Rings: The Ringer employs wrist projectors which throw rings of Incredible explosive damage, Incredible freezing cold, and Amazing strength constriction. She can simply fire a constant steam of metal rings which inflict Remarkable Blunt or Edged damage. She normally carries enough rings to do five attackes of each of the special types listed above. She uses “particulate-matter condensors” which give her an unlimited series of projectile blasts. She can fire any ring up to 2 areas away.

The Ringer also uses assorted rings on her costume to form an Amazing strength Lasso (range of 1 area), a ladder (up to 2 stories high), or a whip (Remarkable Blunt damage or an Amazing Strength Grapple attack.)

Body Armor: Excellent protection from physical attacks. Good protection against energy attacks.

Talents: Davis has the Leadership and Repair/Tinkering talents.

Contacts: None

Background: Nothing is known about the history of the original Ringer before he publicly committed his first crime in his costumed identity. He burglarized a safe in a building owned by Kyle Richmond, only to be opposed and defeated by Richmond himself in the latter’s identity of Nighthawk. In the course of their battle, half of the Ringer’s teeth were severely damaged. The Ringer was sent to jail where it took months for a prison dentist to rebuild his teeth.

This disastrous encounter with Nighthawk convinced the Ringer that he was not meant for a life of crime and that he definitely never wanted to clash with a costumed crimefighter ever again. Therefore, after leaving prison, the Ringer hired the criminal inventor called the Tinkerer to construct him a new costume with improvements that the Ringer himself had designed. But the Ringer did not intend to use the new battlesuit himself to commit crimes, mas as he felt the temptation to do so. Rather, he intended to sell it to “business contacts” of his.

Before the Ringer could get his hands on the suit, the New York City Police learned the location of the Tinkerer’s shop and posted guards around it. The Ringer secretly broke into the workshop, found his suit and started testing it. While this was happening, the Beetle broke into the workshop as well to find his own new battlesuit constructed by the Tinkerer. He easily knocked the Ringer out and abducted him.

When the Ringer revived, he found that he was the Beetle’s prisoner. The Beetle demanded that the Ringer battle Spider-Man on his behalf. The Ringer was afraid of fighting another super hero but the Beetle had placed a large ring around the Ringer’s midsection. The Beetle claimed this ring was made of a powerful explosive material and that he would detonate it if the Ringer refused to do his bidding. The Ringer reluctantly complied.

The Ringer proved no match for Spider-Man, who soundly defeated him. As a cruel joke, the Beetle, who had been monitoring the battle from afar, pressed a detonator, which caused a small explosive charge in the ring to go off that did not harm the Ringer in the least. The Beetle had tricked the Ringer: the ring about his midsection actually had contained devices that relayed information about Spider-Man and his battle techniques to the Beetle’s computers. Spider-Man delivered the Ringer to the police, and the Ringer was imprisoned once more.

After next leaving prison, the Ringer avoided New York City and its superheroes and operated as a costumed criminal, primarily in the Midwest. On a visit to the “Bar with No Name” in Medina County, Ohio, one of a number of similar secret meeting places for costumed criminals the Ringer was contacted by Gary Gilbert, who was formerly the costumed terrorist called Firebrand. Gilbert invited the Ringer to attend a meeting at the bar to discuss strategies for dealing with Scourge, the mysterious vigilante who had murdered a large number of costumed criminals. The Ringer came to the meeting, but, unfortunately for him, so did Scourge, disguised as the bartender. Scourge slaughtered the Ringer and all the other criminals who were present.

Unbeknownst to Scourge, Beetle, Spider-Man or Nighthawk, Anthony Davis had a wife. The newly widowed Leila Davis was wracked by grief and guilt over the fate of her husband. Grief both at his loss and because of the sad path of his life and guilt over the fact that she had helped him design the Ringer equipment that set him on that path.

She turned these feelings to anger and a desire for revenge on all those she blamed for her husband’s misfortunes and death. She felt that the Beetle was the most responsible as he had forced Anthony back into a life of crime when he’d decided to go on the straight and narrow.

Leila enacted a complex scheme using her feminine wiles to turn Beetle’s latest incarnation of the Sinister Syndicate against him. She found the task relatively easy as the petty men with power who made up the team were full of grudges and greed that could be used to her advantage.

Still, some of the Syndicate remained loyal to him and he caught wind of his danger before she was able to fully spring her trap. Between that and the intervention of Spider-Man, her ploy failed and Leila found herself under arrest. Worse, before her plans fell apart she was forced to use the Ringer weapons that she had come to hate in her attempts to kill the Beetle.

After being released from prison, Leila attempted to enact her revenge on the Beetle, again, this time with her own suit of armor. Calling herself “Hardshell” she gathered together others who had a grudge against the Beetle or who were simply greedy enough to kill him for the right reward.

Hardshell succeeded this time, despite the interference of Spider-Man and a rival group of villains. Having killed the man that she blamed for getting her husband killed, she surrendered and was put in jail, once more.

Leila found that her grief was not soothed by her actions, and, in fact, sank into a depression. She likely would have spent the rest of her days in prison, abandoning her quest to kill Scourge as well had the Exiles not happened along. They were breaking another prisoner out and she was freed in the chaos.

It took little effort for her to play the role of damsel in distress and one of the male Exiles “rescued” her, taking her back to Otherworld with them. Leila fostered her relationship with the Exiles and used her cunning and wiles to sneak and steal bits and pieces of the advanced technology on Otherworld.

Having decided that the only way to honor her lost husband was to redeem his name, she rebuilt his battle suit even better. Once it was completed, she then snuck into a mission with the Exiles. They were unable to send her back once they were in their new dimension but the new Ringer quickly proved her skill and capabilities.

As an added bonus for Leila, that first mission involved stopping a monstrous version of Spider-Man and defeating and capturing him helped her finally end her guilt and anger over her husband’s death.

Ravnivori Empire – Magic Items

Where would a swords & space game be without magic items?  The biggest magic items in the Ravnivori Empire are, of course, the Void Running ships, themselves.

But, many smaller magic items are just as valued by their owners, if not technically as valuable.  Here are a few magic items relatively common in the Empire that do not appear on the usual list of random treasure tables –

Magic Items

While mighty sorcerers and mages throwing around balls of fire and warping the rules of reality are not common, magic abounds in the Ravnivori Empire. Artificers and technomancers create everyday devices for the comfort and happiness of Imperial citizens. These range from devices that provide light and/or heat without burning fuel to those that aid in cleaning and even ones for entertainment. More martial devices are also created. Following are magical items that have military or adventuring applications. While they can, occasionally, be bought, it is far more common for them to be given to members of the Empire who prove themselves either as awards or as aids. A few interesting devices that are less common but that have been found in exploration of the Void are also included.

Amulet of Undead Control: These amulets are made from intelligent undead. These creatures must be sacrificed whether willingly or unwillingly. If the creature has already suffered the True Death it cannot be used to create one of these amulets. These pieces of jewelry are always ornate and generally large and feature some physical portion of the undead that went into creating it, whether a finger, tooth, or a vial of blood or ashes.

Amulets of Undead Control do essentially what their name implies. They are used to issue commands to a set group of mindless undead. Their powers do not affect sentient undead. The number of undead controlled is based on how powerful the creature that was sacrificed to make it was. The least powerful amulets can control 5 undead while the most powerful can control up to 50. A character may only wear one of these amulets at a time. The undead that are controlled can be replaced but not changed. For example, if a weak amulet controls 5 skeletons and the controller encounters a zombie, the wearer cannot take over the zombie and release a skeleton. However, if, in the ensuing combat, the zombie slays one of the skeletons, the wearer could then take over the zombie.

Animated Weapons/Shields: A number of magical weapons and shields are invested with a life of their own. Created in much the same way that Mechanids are crafted, they are also given the ability to hover and fight by themselves. The owner of an animated weapon or shield has only to give a command word and the device will hover near the possessor and fight and defend him to the best of its ability. Much like Mechanids, they learn and become more skilled as they grow older. New Animated Weapons are relatively cheap but start with only a d4 in fighting. The oldest Animated Weapons are capable of challenging even master duelists in combat. Periodically, the weapon must be taken in hand and the command word spoken to start the weapon fighting again. This time period is based on how skilled the weapon is. The weapon remains animated for a number of rounds equal to the fighting skill of the weapon.

Battle Table: These magical devices come in a number of shapes and sizes. The simplest are portable platforms with legs that can be folded up and easily packed on a wagon or even carried on someone’s back. The most ornate are the size of banquet tables and intricately carved and decorated with gold leaf. The size and complexity has little bearing on the device’s effects. The surface of each of these tables is blank but when the appropriate command word is given or button pushed, a miniature illusory display of the surrounding terrain and military forces springs into being on the surface. The location displayed can be shifted and expanded or contracted depending on the quality of the table and the commands given it. The user of the table must be aware of these forces in some way, though it can be through reports from scouts or divination magic and does not have to be personal knowledge. Once these units are established, the table tracks them, moving the forces around the table in accordance with how the actual units move. How precise these images and tracking can be is a factor of the quality of the table. For the cheapest it is nothing more than symbols and words identifying the units as a whole. For the best, it actually displays the individuals in each unit and shows their movements in near real time. Depending on the quality of the table, users receive a bonus on Knowledge (Battle) checks of between +1 and +3.

Berserker Cloak: These cloaks are made from the skin of a large bear. They are big enough that only grizzly and polar bears are large enough to provide the skins necessary to create them. The wearer of a Berserker cloak gains the berserk edge if he or she does not already possess it. Additionally, it provides a bonus to the wearer’s strength. This bonus is variable with the weakest providing only a single shift while the most powerful provide up to 5 shifts in strength.

Cornucopia: There are two forms of these magical devices. Both provide food and drink but in quite different ways. The first type is made of woven stalks of grain and is dedicated to Sivis Kee. These Cornucopia’s provide enough food from the large end and enough water from the small end to keep a single person alive and healthy for one day. The owner needs simply to reach into the mouth of the Cornucopia and can pull out plain tasting but hearty bread. This bread includes all the vitamins and nutrients that the possessor needs. The owner can also open the tiny end of the cornucopia and clear, cool water will flow out, enough to keep him hydrated. All this food and water can be drawn out at one time or broken up over several servings up to the total amount for a day. The second type is made from the large horn of a ram, goat or bull. The owner of this cornucopia can reach into the large end of the horn and pull out a single large serving of delicious fully cooked and hot meat each day. A cap can be pulled off the small end of the horn to dispense a large tankard’s worth of ale or wine.

Fire Brand: Weapons with this enchantment are capable of bursting into flames. These weapons are often decorated with flames and embedded with rubies.

Fire Brands add a +1 to damage when they are ignited and negate regeneration abilities. They also provide light equivalent to a torch and can ignite flammable materials.

Flight Ammunition: This type of ammunition is relatively common as a magic items The magic that goes into it is fairly simple and the special materials necessary to make it is relatively common. The shaft and fletching of a piece of flight ammunition (if it is an arrow or bolt) is like that of any mundane missile but the heads (or the balls themselves if this is flintlock ammunition) are made from turquoise that has been carved with mystic ruins that both strengthens the material to the hardness of steel and provides the magic effects of the ammunition. Simply put, flight ammunition has double the ranges of mundane ammunition of the same time.

Ghost Shield: When deactivated, these devices appear to be nothing more than large, ornate steel bracelets adorned with a large, clear gem surrounded by smaller gems on one side. Activating the device causes a transparent 3’ diameter shield of magical force to spring into existence.

+3 Parry attacks from the front and left, +3 Armor to Ranged Shots that Hit. +2 to attempts to hide device. Weight: 1lb.

Giff Targeting Monocle: A favored device of Nocerans especially, a Giff Targeting Monocle is a well-crafted lens in an ornate brass frame with a chain made of the same material. It is particularly useful for individuals with the nearsighted hindrance. While wearing the monocle, the nearsighted hindrance is negated but only for the purposes of shooting skill checks. Notice, throwing and any other checks are still subject to the normal penalties. In addition, anyone with the nearsighted hindrance gets a +2 to shooting rolls while wearing one of these monocles. The way the device functions is a bit awkward for others and anyone without the nearsighted hindrance only gains a +1 bonus to shooting rolls.

Hammer of the Star Titans: Legends of mighty and wise giants who once dominated and explored the void exist on many of the worlds that have taken to exploring the stars. These ancient weapons are rumored to have been minor weapons or tools of these powerful creatures. Given how potent the devices are, if the rumors are true, the Star Titans were great, indeed. These weapons appear to be large mauls with metal hafts and heads made of strange, rune encrusted stone.

Dam: Str + D8 + 1, AP 2 vs rigid armor, Parry -1, 2 hands, Heavy Weapon.

Helmet of the Ram: As might be expected from the name, this full helmet sports a pair of large ram’s horns. These horns have been etched with numerous arcane runes of power.

Anyone wearing a Helmet of the Ram has his running die raised by one type. Additionally, he adds a +1 to his fighting and damage when charging.

Living Armor: Crafted from arcanely crafted ambulatory plants, living armor bonds with its host when worn. A number of different plants are intertwined and bonded to the host to provide a variety of benefits. All Living Armor acts as mundane armor with various levels of protection. Additionally, depending upon the plants involved, the wearer’s physical abilities are boosted, either by external augmentations or through the injection of ability heightening chemicals into the blood stream. Other abilities, such as flight, enhanced speed, and melee and ranged weapons can be added as though the wearer was given the Arcane Background (Weird Science) Edge. Further edges can be applied to give the armor more power points and additional powers. This armor feeds off its host, however and it causes a level of fatigue for every 8 hours it is worn.

Magic Lanterns: Two types of magic lanterns are common in the Ravnivori empire. Everburning lanterns give off magical light rather than burning. Thus, they need no fuel and can not be blown out by high winds. Shutters on the lanterns can be closed to block the light it sheds. The same arcane technology that is applied to animated weapons can also be applied to lanterns. These lanterns float just behind their owners whenever a command word is spoken. Another command word deactivates them. These two features are often combined with everburning lanterns being animated.

Ray of Amaz: Only given to the most faithful servants of Amaz, these weapons appear as either a spear or a bow. Calling upon the name of the goddess, the device transforms from one type of weapon. In addition to this mystical ability, the weapons are often also blessed with bonuses to fighting and damage.
Range | Dam |Weight |Cost |Min. Str. |Notes
3/6/12 | Str +d6 |5 |300 |d8 |Parry +1, Reach 1, 2hands, transform from spear to bow with one action
15/30/60 | 2d6

Repeating Flintlocks: Although flintlock weapons have the potential for impressive damage and range, they all have one distinct flaw: they have an exceptionally slow rate of fire compared to other missile weapons. Although a number of people are experimenting with technological methods for overcoming this disadvantage, many arcanists have turned to magical means. To this end, arcanists have created flintlocks with an arcane mark on their barrels. This arcane mark is duplicated and linked to a number of other barrels. Each time the barrel of the gun is emptied, the powder and shot in one of these other barrels is magically teleported into the barrel of the gun. This allows the wielder of the gun to fire again immediately without reloading. Unfortunately, there is a limit on the number of barrels that can be linked to a single mark. Barrels have arcane mark that matches mark on other tubes. Currently, this limitation is 6, including the actual barrel of the gun. When all barrels are expended, the weapon operates like any mundane version of its kind. It takes 2 actions to reload each barrel.

Restoration Bed: This large canopy bed is fully six and a half foot wide by seven foot long. The posts holding up the canopy are carved with numerous symbols and signs indicating health and restoration. Each night that an individual spends sleeping in this bed he makes a natural healing check. There are various levels of power of these beds. The most basic simply allow the sleeper to make their healing check each night. Better beds negate various levels of wound penalties made during these checks. These beds are meant to provide exceptionally peaceful sleep and only function when the curtains are closed. This causes a -2 penalty to any perception checks to either wake up if the person inside is asleep or to hear anything outside the bed if the person is awake. In either case, the curtains are impossible to see through. Only one person can benefit from the bed at a time and the person must get a full 8 hours of sleep to gain the benefit.

Scepter of Pini-Ya: This Scepter once belonged to one of the greatest rulers of the Empire that created the first Nautiloids. A master of controlling mindless undead, he was capable of commanding legions of the creatures by sheer will alone. Upon his True Death (at the hands of one of his great grandchildren) his remains were made into this scepter and much of his powers lingered in the device. Though the deepest secrets of this device have been lost with time, it still retains a great deal of power. The Scepter of Pini-Ya appears as a humanoid skull with onyx eyes mounted on a humanoid femur. A crown of humanoid canine teeth form a crown around the skull and the hilt is wrapped in ancient leather made from humanoid skins.

Str + d6, AP 1 vs. rigid armor. The following powers operate only against undead: +1 Damage, +1 Fighting, +1 Parry, +1 Charisma, Puppet and Zombie with 10 Power Points to spend.

Sky Chariot of Amaz: Another item that is generally only bestowed upon the most faithful servants of the sun goddess a Sky Chariot appears to be an ornate golden shield decorated with Amaz’s sunburst symbol. And, in fact, it functions as a quite effective shield. Anyone wielding this device as a large shield with an additional +1 to Parry and Armor (Large Shield: +3 Pry, +3 armor vs. rng.) Additionally, the owner can place the shield on the ground and stand on the inside of it and with a short prayer to Amaz, cause it to levitate. The Sky Chariot has a fly speed of 10” per round and can climb at 2” per round. It is guided by leaning, leaving the rider’s hands free. Turns up to 45 degrees are done without a check but for each additional 45 degree or fraction thereof a check must be made with a cumulative -1. Failure means that the rider goes straight instead and any result below 0 indicates that he rider has fallen off the sky chariot and suffers the normal results of a fall from whatever height they were at.

Spear of the Gods: This weapon is rumored to have been created directly by the gods themselves and to be utilized against their brethren who have gone rogue. The weapon appears to be made of some unknown wood and metal and is covered in intricate scroll work that many claim is actually some ancient language.

Dam: Str + d6 + 2(electricity), Parry +2, Reach 1, 2 Hands, Range 6/12/24 5lbs.

Spirit Shield: These seemingly flimsy shields are made from the skin, fur, claws, and/or feathers, of an animal. A simple silhouette image of the animal that the shield is made of is painted on the shield in pigments made from from the animal itself. The shield acts as a simple medium shield but is as strong as steal and some of the more powerful ones provide bonuses to parry and armor. When activated with a command word the animal displayed on the shield springs out to fight for the person carrying it, leaving the shield blank. The animal can be recalled to the shield at any time and if it is killed, it disappears and reappears on the shield. The usual animals used on these shields are wolves, bears, elk, and eagles, though other animals are possible and even more exotic and magical animals are occasionally used.

Wolf Cloak: Made from the unblemished skin of a large wolf, this cloak provides a +1 to vigor rolls made to resist fatigue caused by cold and a +1 to tracking rolls while worn. Additionally, as an action, the wearer can turn into either a wolf or dire wolf, gaining the physical abilities of whichever type of creature he or she turns into but retaining their own smarts, spirit and skills (though some skills may not be possible without opposable thumbs.)

Ravnivori Empire Military (and other) Titles

While I’m not a huge military aficionado, I am fascinated by ranks and medals.  There has been more than one RPG where I played a military person and wanted to get a medal for no reason other than getting it.

While the Ravnivori military, or at least the part reaching out into the void, is pretty non-traditional, they still hold to some traditions that just work like ranks.  At some point, I should (and will) place some in game mechanics to these ranks.  I’ll also likely come up with some medals and game mechanics for those, too.  In both cases they’ll be Charisma bonuses for people who care.

Military Ranks

Unlike most armed forces, the Ravnivori Empire’s military long ago abandoned separate chains of command and ranking systems for its navy and army and uses a unified set of ranks. A sergeant in a ground based unit is the same as a sergeant on a ship. Occasionally, traditional minded soldiers will still use alternate ranks, but this is officially discouraged.

There are no Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers in the Ravnivori Empire. Though most people who go through the military academies of the Empire gain the rank of Lieutenant upon graduation, those with poor or spectacular performance can be made Sergeants or Captains, respectively, instead. Additionally, a soldier who enters the military as a private can work his or her way up to a Lieutenant and beyond.

The following are the ranks used in the Imperial Military from lowest to highest.

Private: The lowest rank in the Imperial Military, these are men and women who are either fresh recruits or who have never risen through the ranks. Many kazya never achieve a higher rank than Private.

Corporal: These men and women generally lead the smallest Imperial Unit; the File. Files vary widely in size from only three troops and a Corporal up to nine troops and a Corporal. The standard File is four Privates lead by a Corporal for a total of five soldiers.

Sergeant: Sergeants are in charge of Squads. A Squad is made up of between one and three Corporals with their Files and an additional File that the Sergeant personally commands. The Sergeant’s File is often known as the First File (or “Double F” or “FF” in military circles) and is generally hand picked by the Sergeant to contain the most experienced and effective Privates in his Squad. A standard Squad is made up of only one Sergeant, one Corporal and their Files (making the standard Squad ten soldiers) but exceptionally large squads of as many as 40 men exist.

Lieutenant: Each Lieutenant commands a Platoon. A Platoon is made up of two to three Squads plus the Lieutenant’s personal File. The Lieutenant’s personal File is commonly made up of non-fighting men and women who serve him in clerical capacities. However, some Lieutenants select elite fighters who are often of Corporal and Sergeant ranks for their personal File. A Platoon is thus anywhere between thirty and 120 men, though forty is the most common size.

Major: The rank given to a person who commands a Squadron is Major. A Squadron is made up of two Platoons as well as the Major’s personal Squad. A Major’s personal Squad is almost always made up entirely of clerical personnel who assist the Major in managing the paperwork needed to run a Squadron. A Squadron can be as small as seventy troops and as large as 250 with 100 being the standard size.

Colonel: A Colonel commands two or three Squadrons as a Company. Again, a Colonel will have a personal Squads that serves him in a clerical capacity and oversees the personal Files and Squads of all the officers under his command. Numbering between 150 and 750 troops, with 310 being the most common size, a Company is often the largest Imperial Military group in a given region. Often, the spearhead of an invasion force is made up of a company and can include ten or more spelljamming ships carrying troops.

General: A General is responsible for a Regiment. A Regiment is made up of two or three Companies and the Genearl’s personal Squad. A Regiment can number just over 2,000 troops though 1,000 is much more common and special Regiments as small as 300 troops exist. Each Regiment has its own dedicated fleet to serve as transportation and defense. Against small countries that the Empire encounters, a Regiment is generally considered a large enough force for conquest.

Marshall: Each Marshall is in charge of his own Brigade. Between two and four Regiments make up each Brigade and a Marshall usually has his own Platoon of troops under his direct command. This Platoon is generally equal parts clerical staff and body guards. “Light Brigades” of less than 1,000 troops are almost nonexistent and always made up of elite forces. 4,000 troops is the most common size, but “Heavy Brigades” of 8,000 troops are not uncommon and are often formed to face truly large and powerful nations.

Admiral: An Admiral is the highest official rank in the Ravnivori military. Though higher ranks exist, they are often unique or shared only by a handful of people. Beyond this rank, a person makes military policy rather than actually leading troops. Each Admiral is in command of a Corps. A Corps is made up of at least two and as many as five Brigades. The Admiral is assisted in managing his Corps by his own personal Platoon made up of both organizational and combat staff. The smallest Corps numbers 5,000 troops while the largest is made up of five “Heavy Brigades” and contains 40,000 troops. Most Corps contain approximately 10,000 soldiers and are responsible for conquering or invading large areas of land including small continents and even sparsely populated planets.

Honorary Titles:

In addition to the standard rank system, there are a number of honorifics in the Imperial Military that provide shades of command between the ranks. While not officially of higher rank, people with these titles are generally given deference and respect by others of their rank and are expected to take command in a group of their peers.

Standard Bearer: Generally, the Corporal of a Lieutenant’s personal File is chosen to be the Platoon’s Standard Bearer. Each Platoon’s standard is made up of a unique element added to the standard of the Squadron it is a part of. The Squadron’s standard in turn has an additional element that differentiates it from the Company it is subordinate to and so on up to the Corps Standard, which is generally just a color or pattern. The Standard Bearer of each larger sized unit is of higher rank than the previous size. Additionally, Standard Bearers are considered of higher rank than other people with their rank, though not of officers of a rank higher. For instance, a Standard Bearer Corporal can command other Corporals but not Sergeants.

Specialist: This honorific is added to the rank of any enlisted person with a supernatural ability. Whether it be supernatural, psionic, or magical in origin, people with special abilities are known as Specialists. Each Squad contains at least one Specialist and it is general policy for one out of every two Files to have a Specialist. Additionally, there are entire Platoons made up only of Specialists of one type.

“Captain” is an honorary title given to the commanding officer of any Imperial ship. Captains always have another rank, usually a Sergeant, Lieutenant or Major. A Captain is responsible for all the daily administration of a ship from navigation to discipline and even combat. Even officers of higher rank cannot usurp this power and, though a higher ranking officer can tell a Captain where to go, they cannot tell him how to get there. Even an Admiral is a passenger on another Captain’s ship, though Admirals are usually Captains of their own ships.

Inquisitors: Entirely outside the military hierarchy, Inquisitors are not subject to it. Chosen by the Emperor, his advisers, the Regents or some other governmental body, Inquisitors serve the dual purposes of keeping the military in check and performing missions of a delicate nature that the military is not suited for. Generally given at least the title of Lieutenant, an Inquisitor can ignore the orders of even Admirals and even investigate and command people of such lofty heights no matter what their relative ranks. Of course, abuse of this power can lead to the dismissal of an Inquisitor or even criminal charges if it is grievous enough and there is certainly no love lost between members of the military and the Inquisitors and military men and women work to block and slow Inquisitors as much as possible as a matter of principle.

High, Grand, Arch and Prime Admiral: These titles are given to the men and women who are in charge of the entire military force for a Regency or Sphere and vary from person to person. At this level of command, these officers are responsible to no one but the Regent or other governmental body, and in some cases, only the Emperor himself. At this level of the military, command is not determined by rank so much as force of personality, respect and experience. The Prime Admirals who serve in the Senate of the Almatian Regency are independent of and equal too the High Admiral of Kirtina’s Regency.

Kronor: As expansion into the Void began, it became obvious that the traditional titles that labeled various types of nobles on the planet, baron, duke, shogun, etc. were insufficient to describe the new elite who would develop. It was one thing to say that a man was a duke and had this much land with this many people under his power. It was quite another to say that a man had this much land on one planet, this much land on another planet and a stake in a merchant guild with trade routes between two more worlds. The title “Kronor,” a bastardization of the term “void lord” in Old Ravnivori was coined and slowly adopted by those who dealt with the Void. It is a very new and fairly generic term. Essentially, anyone who has holdings on more than one world, no matter how small is referred to as a Kronor. Whether these holdings are two small villages on different planets or two duchies, both people are termed Kronors. Of course, the Void Running society is fairly small and while all Kronors respect each other for their shared background, those smaller Kronors who try to throw their weight around with the larger ones, and even with the larger nobility of Retra will be subtly put in their place if they try to be too arrogant about it.