For the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to use the same Character Creation system for both the Sable Game and the Helgram Academy Game (which is unconncted, at least currently).
- Magical Abilities
- Items and Allies
For the Sable Game
Sable Game characters are the trusted agents of the King of Sable, rather than being of the Royal family, and are included in the day-to-day running of the Kingdom, as well as occasionally being asked to perform specific services for the Powers that Be. Sable characters are created on 85pt, with all stats starting at Chaos. Partial buy-ups and sell-downs between Chaos and Amber, or Chaos and Human are available, eg Chaos+5 would be better than Chaos, but not up to Amber level.
Back to the Sable Game Index
For the Helgram Game
The characters are the older students of the Helgram Academy, who have finished their basic studies, and moved on to explore their particular talents: magic, conjuration, shapeshifting, other academic pursuits, or perhaps something more unusual: an innate skill or ability that they’ve developed all their own. They are also learning about the House as a whole, occasionally travelling with the older members, and beginning to be aware of the inner House politics.
The startup points are 65pt with the basics of shape shift (inherent crisis management plus the basic four forms), and 75pt without. All stats start at Chaos, and partial buy-ups and sell-downs between Chaos and Amber, or Chaos and Human are available, eg Chaos+5 would be better than Chaos, but not up to Amber level.
Back to the Helgram Game Index
The main difference for stats is that while Psyche, Strength and Endurance are as per the ADRPG, Warfare has been divided into Combat (you’re physical skill at weapons, self-defence, etc) and Presence/Command, which is your personal standing as well as the ability to see the bigger picture, and encourage other people to do as you tell them.
Combat is bought as any other stat in both games. The treatment of Presence varies between the two:
- In the Sable Game, Presence is something the NPCs will have, and the PCs gain during the course of play.
- For the Helgram Game, PCs can buy Presence to a maximum of Amber + 10pt (i.e. pay 20pt).
Stuff is available, to a maxium of 5pt in each direction.
Full Pattern or Logrus and any form of Nexus or Symphony initiation are not available to starting Sable Game characters, although PCs may acquire them during play, depending on circumstances, in which case, details can be found here.
However, Broken Pattern and Aurellian Piloting/Broken Logrus are options for almost any character, and most other powers are available. Items are handled by specific house rules, so Conjuration does not exist in the usual ADRPG form, although it is available as a class of magic.
Neither Pattern nor Broken Pattern is required to get around Sable and the Commonwealth, as there is an extensive system of Royal Ways. However, it might be useful for anyone who is ever likely to stray outside of the Commonwealth Veils. Costs are as follows:
|Broken Pattern||10||The specifics of how Broken Pattern works in the Sable Game can be found here.|
|Advanced Broken Pattern||25|
About 5% of the population have the genetic marker which, if activated, could allow them to become a shapeshifter. Of these, in approximately 1 in 10 (0.5% of the population) the gene is active to the extent that they will rarely get sick, they will heal quickly from injury and they can survive wounds which would kill a normal person (aka inherent crisis management, or ICM). Of these, 1 in 10 again (0.05%, or 1 in 2,000) have some measure of active control, be it merely the ability to take another form, or the full suite of basic shapeshift abilities. It is inadvisable to have an endurance lower than Chaos if you wish to learn to shapeshift.
Shapeshift is split as follows:
|Inherent Crisis Management (ICM)||10||This level of shapeshift is the most basic, and the user has no control over their ability whatsoever. However, it will ensure survival from injuries and in hostile environments. with the proviso that it takes about 1 minute for this to kick in and work. So you need to avoid situations which will get you dead faster than that, or you will still die. This also allows the auto-shapeshift ability, which can cope with major injuries or rapidly changing environmental conditions, however auto-shapeshifting is not a conscious thing and can cause problems in and of itself.|
|Four Forms and ICM||15 or
5 + ICM
|The starting position from which controlled shapeshift develops. This lets the user switch between their human,
animal, demon, and elemental forms. Conservation of mass does not exist between these four basic forms. However, once you take one of them, then you are mass-restricted with other creatures of that kind.Once you have this level of shapeshift you can add any of the following, in any order, for 5pt each, until you reach full basic shapeshift (35pt).
|Shapeshift Wounds||+5||This is a conscious self-healing exercise. It can keep going till you run out of steam. Wound shifting is not instant – it
takes up to a minute to stabilise critical wounds, so if the shifter’s sub-conscious believes that such wounds will kill you, it may trigger auto-shapshifting.
|Modify Extremities||+5||Do you want a claw instead of a finger, or longer arms, shorter legs? This is the one for that.|
|Shift Facial Features||+5||Want to change what you face looks like? Here we go. It is risky to let this one loose without a mirror available – unless
you have practiced a particular shift before, it might not come out perfect first time.
|Animal Forms||+5||This ability lets you assume the forms of normal animals other than your avatar creature, of about the same mass as the form
you started with.
|Full Basic Shapeshift||35||Alternatively, you can choose to buy full basic shapeshift outright, as per the ADRPG.|
For player characters wishing to take their shapeshifting abilities beyond Basic, they must first learn all the segments of basic shapeshifting, unless agreed otherwise with the GM.
Shapeshifting in the Helgram Game
As the Helgram Game is based in Chaos, the costs of shapeshifting are slightly different. For players who choose to take the 65pt version of character creation, which includes ICM + four forms at the start, then the cost of taking that up to full shifting is 20pt (a 5pt “Chaos discount”). However, if they just want to add elements such as facial features or animal forms, the costs are as above.
Likewise, for characters built on 75pt (i.e. they have an effective -10pt of shifting), if they choose to learn shapeshifting later, then the costs will be as per the table.
Piloting (Sable Game)
‘Pilots’ is the general name for initiates of the Aurellis Transport System. This is a relatively recent development within Sable, and is an expensive, but almost instantaneous form of transport. Pilots come in three classes: Courier, Master and Grand. The Pilot initiate has no control over which of the three he or she will become during initiation, but strength of will (read Psyche) is a contributing factor. Courier allows the Pilot to carry a load about the size of a stagecoach, or about 12 people; Master allows carriage of the equivalent of a train in weight and load; and Grand Pilot allows the transport of something up to the size of a fully loaded cruise ship.
Acquiring Piloting can happen in two ways in the Sable Game. You either choose to be a Pilot on character creation, which gives you some control of how good a Pilot you are, or it happens in game and you don’t have control of what you get.
Piloting has three elements: strength of will (with endurance secondary), an ability to shapeshift and the level of Piloting. Strength of will directly affects whether you come out of the ATS initiation as a Courier, Master and Grand. As far as shapeshifting and endurance are concerned is concerned, ICM shapeshift with Chaos endurance is the bare minimum which would enable you to survive Pilot transit.
Rough costings for Piloting itself are as follows, but remember, the cost of shapeshifting and endurance are in addition to these:
|Item||Cost||Comments / Total Cost|
|Courier Pilot||10||Psyche required: Amber or below
Total cost: Up to 20 plus shapeshifting and endurance
|Master Pilot||20||Psyche required: Amber to +10
Total cost: 30-40 plus shapeshifting and endurance
|Grand Pilot||30||Psyche required: 11 or greater
Total cost: 50 minimum plus shapeshifting and endurance
Broken Logrus (Helgram Game)
The mechanics for Broken Logrus are different to those for Sable Piloting, which relies on specific, non-ADRPG standard mechanics. To become a Broken Logrus initiate, you need to have at least 15pt of shapeshifting (four forms plus Inherent Crisis Management).
Much like Broken Pattern, Broken Logrus is a down and dirty form of transportation. On the other hand, walking a Broken Logrus doesn’t automatically drive you mad.
|Broken Logrus||10||At basic level, Broken Logrus is very much a personal power: you can move yourself and what you’re carrying by extending a tendril to a specific location and pulling yourself and what you’re carrying to that point. It is also possible to extend a tendril and bring an item to you, although this will be a generic item (e.g. if you look for a chair, you might get anything from a plain wooden chair with four legs, a seat and a back, to a throne). Vision down basic tendrils is limited to a small area, and the range of tendrils is five to ten Shadows, depending on your Psyche. You can’t hear anything down a tendril.
Endurance required: at least Chaos + 5
|Advanced Broken Pattern||25||At advanced level, Broken Logrus is a bit more versatile. As well as moving yourself, you can move half a dozen or so other people, plus what they’re carrying, as long as they remain in physical contact with you. You can also be more specific about items that you look for. Vision down advanced tendrils has a wider field of view, and there is some auditory component. The range of tendrils is twenty to thirty Shadows, depending on your Psyche. In addition, at the advanced level, you can surround yourself with tendrils for a physical and magical defence, although you do need to concentrate to do this.
Endurance required: at least Amber (Chaos + 10)
Trump is not particularly known of among the general population of Sable, however, Sable PCs can have access to training, as several of the people you work for are capable of teaching them. Trump can be bought in the following stages:
|Draw People and Trump Defence||20||This is the basis of all Trump ability. Without this, nothing else can be done, but once you’ve taken it you can buy the following in any order.
Trump defence is the technique for concentrating on your own Trump, to defend against an arcane attack.
|Caller ID||+5||Lets you check through your deck to see who’s calling you, as long as you have drawn a Trump of that person.|
|Draw Places||+5||Allows you to draw Trumps of a place, rather than a person.|
|Trump Sketches||+5||Quick and dirty Trumps which take about twenty minutes to draw, but will only work once or twice. You can only sketch places, once you’ve taken the full “Draw places”.|
|Trump Scrying||+5||The ability to attempt to interpret a scrying of cards done in the manner of a Tarot reading.|
|Basic Trump||40||Alternatively, you can choose to buy full basic Trump outright, as per the ADRPG.|
For player characters wishing to take their Trump skills beyond Basic, they must first learn all the segments of basic Trump, unless agreed otherwise with the GM
Under the Sable Magic System, mages are not taught specific spells, but instead will have a basic grounding in magic of all kinds. At higher levels they can have specialised in one, two or three specific areas, for example offensive magic, defensive magic or healing. Full details of the magic system are available in the Magic section of this site.
Within Sable, there are two main sources of a magical education: Sable Mage College, which gives a full grounding in the subject, and Sable College of Military Magic, which tailors its teaching towards matters military, although there are one or two less influential colleges in the Commonwealth. Costings are as follows:
|Batchelor (BMg)||15 + 2 for a spell rack||Pretty close to ADRPG sorcery, without the specific need for lynchpins. A mage’s signet can act as a racking item for c12 spells (but will cost 2pt). At this level, mages will have a general grounding in all the magical disciplines within Sable, but will probably not have begun to specialise.|
|Master (MMg)||20||The major differences here are that spells only take 5-10 minutes to cast from scratch, and in addition, can be racked mentally – thus dispensing with the need for racking items (and a refund of any racking item cost) – although c12 spells remains the upper limit of what can realistically be maintained. Development of new spells is faster, and the mages have a lot more flexibility in what they can do.|
|Doctor (DMg)||25||The mage is likely to have one or more individual magical disciplines at “full specialisation”. The casting time is just a couple of minutes from scratch. The mental racking is available, with maintenance taking slightly less time, and can be less frequent. However, the spell limit still applies. Mages are also even quicker at working out new spells, or variations on old ones.|
It is possible to go back to college, rather than having to take the whole course at once, so a character taking 15pt Bachelor level could study further, pay another 5pts, and advance to the next level, although it would take the appropriate amount of downtime/gametime to do: ie roughly a year for Master level and an additional one to two years for full Doctorate.
In addition, with GM agreement, it may be possible to specialise in specific areas of individual magic classes, given the mage a higher effective level in that particular area of a magical discipline, without necessarily having the rest of a class at as high a level. For example, someone with illusion, may choose to become a theatrical mage, and have the equivalent of full specialisation in that area, but perhaps only have basic level in the other parts of illusory magic.
Occasionally, an individual has either an exceedingly weak Talent – ie not strong enough even to train as the most basic kind of mage; or a flawed or unusual Talent, through which they can demonstrate some kind of unusual affinity or ability. This may be something they have from birth, or it may develop in later life due to specific stresses or experiences. These people are called Sensitives. What specifically makes someone a Sensitive, rather than leaving them with just a weak or broken Talent, is still a matter of great interest and investigation amongst the magical community.
Sensitive abilities can take a number of different forms: examples include the ability to feel magical or other arcane emanations, to unerringly spot black magic and its practitioners, being particularly empathic as far as feeling strong emotions in others, an affinity for the psychic without actually being able to cast spells, being able to seek for something or attune to something and know where it is thereafter, or have what is known in common parlance as Second Sight. There are even some mages who demonstrate the characteristics of Sensitives, which has led to further debate on the nature of this particular ability.
A Sensitive ability can be taken at character creation, although the nature of the Sensitivity needs to be defined at the outset. Occasionally, Sensitive abilities may be acquired in play but in that case, their nature will be defined by the GM.
For a non-mage, Sensitivity costs 10pt; for a mage, it is an additional 5pt over and above their chosen magical level.
The other unusual magical ability, which may itself be a form of Sensitivity, is Power Words. These are handled differently in the Sable Game than in the ADRPG rules. When a character choose Power Words, they are buying the ability to form them, but it does not give you specific “words”. Instead, the character will have have two or three phrases or concepts. For example:
|“Don’t die!”||A shout of desperation to try to save someone or something you care about|
|“Dammit, I was supposed to look perfect!”||For when you really need to look your best, but fate is conspiring to stop that happening.|
|“Get away from me!”||The person you shout at gets somehow pushed away – for example, by a gust of wind.|
|“Work, damn you!”||A way of getting something which isn’t working, to start working there and then.|
New Power Words can be added during play, if circumstances allow – for example, a desperate situation, where the character ends up trying to dominate the surroundings in desperation, to try to make something happen. Once a Power Word has been formed, it is always available for the future. However, GM agreement is needed to add new words to the list.
Power Words cost 10pt, whether or not the character is a trained mage.
(With acknowledgement to Justin Parsler for the concept)
For the most part, the GM assumes that you will have the basic skills for your place of origin, such as language, knowledge of the customs and culture, history, etc.
If a PC wishes to be exceptional at something, they can buy one or more skills for 1pt per skill. As an indication of what that means, had they been trained in Shadow, they would probably be considered the best on the Shadow at what they do. Within Sable and the Commonwealth (and the Courts for the Helgram Game), taking a skill means that you have studied that skill to the highest level available, and that you are considered enough of an expert that if people find out that you have that skill, they may consult you for advice and assistance in that field.
Suggestions for skills include: acting, administration, business knowledge, diplomat, etiquette, gambling, investigation, sense of style, tracking, weapons master, xenobiology, etc. Powers-related skills such as magic or a specific Pattern ability cannot be bought as skills in this way.
There is no particular benefit to having more than 1pt in a given skill, with the possible exception of combat (see below).
A Clarification on Combat Skills
If a skill is bought in a specific weapon or combat style, then effectively the PC uses that specific weapon or discipline at an effective higher combat/strength (as applicable) to their basic stat. However, there is a law of diminishing returns. The benefit accrued by buying skills in the same weapon increases as follows: 1st skill level, 10pt benefit; 2nd, 5pt; 3rd, 3pt; 4th and 5th, 1pt each. Therefore the maximum benefit over the character’s base combat is 20pt if the character buys five skills in that particular weapon or discipline.
Items are also handled somewhat differently within the Sable Game, as Conjuration does not exist in its ADRPG form. Items are available in two kinds: Personal Items and Items of Power. Living creatures cannot usually be bought as items, except with GM agreement.
|Personal Item||5||This covers items of significance to the character, but without actual Power. Examples would include swords, parasols, armour, magical gadgets. Details of what they can do must be agreed with the GM.
Living creatures cannot usually be bought as items, except with GM agreement.
|Item of Power||10||Items with actual Power in them, such as Trump or Shadow travel, or blades like Greyswandir and Werewindle. These are only available with GM consent.|
Allies in Sable, Family Friends and Devotees cost as per ADRPG. A Devotee doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a member of the Royal Family (either Sable or the Reich), but it can have interesting consequences. Non-family (i.e. 1pt) allies can have quantity multipliers applied to them; Family Friends and Devotees cannot.