Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Character Creation in Fantasy Wargaming

You will need a sheet of paper and a pencil to begin.

You will also need a handful of six sided dice, two ten sided dice for generating numbers from 1-100, and a twelve sided dice.

On your sheet of paper, you will write down your characteristics, they are in bold script below under "Characteristics" and "Other Characteristics"

The four basic character types in this game are that of Warrior, Cleric(priest), Mage, or Thief. The first three are properly considered character "classes" while the Thief is a profession and not a class, since the society confers no recognition upon the thief profession as a class in an of itself and in fact condemns it outright.

You may have what character type you wish to play in mind as you construct your character or you may decide at the end of your character creation.


First, either assign the character you are to play with your own Zodiac star sign or roll a 12 sided die to determine what sign under which he or she was born.

You will be rolling 3 six sided dice for each one of your character's various mental and physical attributes and characteristics, but when you do, you will deduct or add points based on the stars over the character's birth.

"The stars incline but do not compel."

Astrological modifications are as follows:

1. Aquarius: -1 Physique; +1 Charisma; +1 Greed; +2 Faith

2. Pisces: -2 Physique; -2 Endurance; +1 Selfishness; -2 Lust; -1 Bravery; +3 Faith; -1 Social Class

3. Aries: +1 Physique; -1 Agility; +1 Greed; +2 Bravery; +1 Social Class

4. Taurus: -2 Agility; +1 Endurance; -1 Charisma; -1 Selfishness; -2 Intelligence; -1 Faith

5. Gemini: -2 Agility; -1 Endurance; -1 Charisma; +2 Lust; +1 Intelliegence

6. Cancer: -2 Endurance; +1 Greed; +2 Selfishness; +3 Intelligence; +1 Social Class

7. Leo: +1 Physique; +1 Endurance; +2 Charisma; +1 Selfishness; +1 Bravery; -2 Faith; +1 Social Class

8. Virgo: +1 Agility; -1 Charisma; +1 Greed; +2 Lust; +1 Intelligence

9. Libra: -1 Physique; +1 Agility; +1 Endurance; -1 Lust; -2 Bravery; +2 Intelligence; +1 Social Class

10. Scorpio: -2 Charisma; +1 Selfishness; +1 Bravery; -2 Intelligence; +1 Faith

11. Sagittarius: +1 Physique; +2 Agility; +1 Charisma; +1 Lust; +1 Social Class

12. Capricorn: +1 Physique; -1 Endurance; -1 Charisma; -1 Greed; -1 Lust; +1 Bravery; -1 Intelligence

You may now roll 3 six sided dice for a score between 3 and 18 in each of the following characteristics,  applying the above modifications depending on your star sign-- however, NO characteristic may exceed 18 or be lower than 3 regardless of any modifications. Write these scores down next to the appropriate characteristic on your character sheet. They are not necessarily permanent; they can be altered upwards through adventuring and experience.

CHARACTERISTICS: Physique, Agility, Endurance, Charisma, Greed, Selfishness, Lust, Bravery, Intelligence, Faith, Social Class.

Aspecting: Two characters born under the same star sign may yet have been born under entirely different astrological conditions; roll 2 six sided dice and subtract seven to arrive at the number of pluses or minuses by which to further alter your characteristics. You can alter a characteristic by only 2 points, 1 point if the characteristic is already 14 or higher, but the same upper and lower limits apply (no lower than 3, no higher than 18).


Having completed the rolling and adjustment of your characteristics, you must now decide these factors, keeping in mind that you will choose nationalities in accord with the Gamemaster's setting, whether historical or fantastic, and that your name will largely be related to your nationality and culture.

The culture being patriarchal, female characters are usually excluded from warfare, combat and church hierarchy except for convents. In a historical or quasi historical milieu women were usually expected to follow domestic roles.

Adventuring female player characters  can certainly be an exception, fashioned from the same stuff as Boudicca or Joan of Arc, but they will generally face a constant presence of sexism in any medieval historical setting. There were exceptions among the cultures but in general female characters will suffer -3 to social class. 

The GM is free to use a fantasy setting which deviates in this respect from the medieval model.

Other characteristics:  

Height: 4'7" + 1" per physique point.  

Weight: 50 lbs +10 lbs per endurance point.  

Leadership: (3 x Charisma) + physique + intelligence + bravery + (4 x social class) divided by 10. Add to this sum half of your character's highest experience level, rounded up. New characters are considered 0 level.

Literacy: Add Intelligence and Social Class Points above 12 (subtract points below 8) and multiply the result by 10. This is the percentage chance of the character being literate upon character creation. Add 10 percent if a Mage or a Cleric, -10 percent if a warrior. Roll two ten sided dice, one denominating tens and the other denominating ones. If the number rolled is equal to or below the character's chance at being literate, he or she can read or write any language he or she knows. If during the course of play an illiterate character raises either social class or intelligence, another roll can be made.

Languages: Half the percentage required for literacy.  The character is assumed to be a speaker of his or her native tongue, the percentage chance here is checked once for every point of intelligence above 14. So a character of 18 Intelligence would have a chance at knowing anywhere from 1-4 additional languages. As with literacy, new languages can be learned by raising Intelligence or Social Class.

Piety: Standing with the Higher or Lower powers. Rises and ebbs from adventure to adventure based on character piety. Clerics depend on it to count on their appeals for miracles to be heard, but every character is affected by it.

Mana: Emanating ethereal power, the source of magical power. It must be accrued. Mana is built up through magical preparations, spent through the casting of spells, and affects the spiritual equilibrium of the mage.

Bogey Table: The GM is in possession of a table which despite the misleading name contains a list of good and bad factors that may be the odd quirk or gift of any given character. Some are quite good, some are terrible, and some are simply colourful. You will roll the ten sided dice (1-100)anywhere from one to three times to check yourself against the Bogey Table. Roll a six sided dice--1-2 means check once, 2-3 means check twice, and 5-6 means three checks. Roll the appropriate number of times on the ten sided dice and record your number or numbers and the GM will tell you what your score means at the commencement of the game.

Now that you have rolled for, calculated and recorded all of your characteristics, it is time for you to use your social class score (3-18)to determine your character's class in the feudal society.


The basic system is manorial feudalism.

There are four different basic social classes: Landowning and Warrior Classes, Clergy (Noble and lesser), Townsfolk, and Rural Dwellers. 

Within each of these four classes were further class distinctions that are reflected on the Social Class lists below.  

Rural Dwellers, living beyond the day to day administrations of the Landowning and warrior Class, have no real high class within their caste but  those of low social class score are are not under the strictures that would be upon them if they dwelt in more populous areas.

Compare your social class score to determine your place in the hierarchy, though this will be adjusted when you create your family background. You may choose which one of the four general castes you wish your character to be from. 

Social class descriptions with an asterisk are nobles.

Where more than one designation is given it is the players choice.

It should be noted that the Gamemaster has a table in his rules which shows the cost in Gold Sovereigns to purchase increase into a rank, adventuring and gaining experience can increase rank within one's class as well.

Finally, bear in mind that most characters start at age 16 and whatever their social class score at character creation it is not a given that they will automatically land in such positions like Guild Member, man-at-arms, or King. The numbers given are the average social class of established adult figures and the GM may limit beginning social rank depending upon the campaign setting.

Landowning and Warrior Class:


7 Outlawed Soldier

8 -9 Conscript Peasant Militia/ POW

10 Mercenaries, bowmen

11 Man-at-arms, basic soldier

12 Sergeant/mercenary NCO

13 Mercenary Captain 

14 Landless Knight 

15 Poor Knight*

16 Poor Baron, Rich Knight*

17 Rich Baron*

18 Count, Earl*

19 Marquis*

20 Duke*

21 King*

22 Emperor* 

Clergy Class (Noble and Lesser)

Note:where a number appears in parenthesis it is a rank, the higher the number the higher the rank.


7 Common serf

8-9 Lay brother (serf)

10-11 Lay brother, free

12 Poor priest, friar

13 Middling Priest, Monk(2)

14 Rich Priest, Monk (1),Prior(2)

15 Dean, Prior (1), Abbot (2)

16 Abbot (1), Archdeacon

17 Bishop*, Abbot of a Mother House*

18 Archbishop*

19 Primate*

20-21 Cardinal*

22 Pope

Townsfolk Class

0-4 Recently escaped slave

5 Recently escaped serf

6 Beggar, whore (Poor free)

7 Pimp, thief (Poor free)

8 Unemployed (Poor free)

9 Servant (Poor free)

10 Employed Laborer

11 Guild Journeyman (3), employed skilled laborer

12 Guild Journeyman (2), Guild Member (3),
Self employed tradesman

13 Guild Journeyman (1), Guild Member (2),
Guild Master(3)

14 Guild member (1), Guild Master (2)

15 Guild Master (1)

16 Alderman (City), Mayor (town)

17 Lord Mayor (of a city)

Rural Dwellers Class

0-4 Slave
5 Waste/forest dweller/outlaw

6 Bordar

7 Cottar

8 Poor Villein 

9 Rich Villein

10 Sokeman

11 Poor Freeman

12 Rich Freeman

13 Reeve (Lord's Agent)

 Cost in Gold Sovereigns to Purchase Increase in Social Rank is in the Column below.


0 1
1 2
2 3
3 4
4 5
5 6
6 9
7 12
8 16
9 22
10 30
11 40
12 56
13 90
14 150
15 250
16 600
17 1500
18 4000
19 13000
20 40000
21 150000
22 500000

Starting Money for character is as follows:

Social Classes 0-5, 1/2xrank purchase cost.
Classes 6-9, 1/3xrank purchase cost.
Classes 10-13. 1/4xrank purchase cost
Classes 14-16 1/3x rank purchase cost
Classes 17-18, 1/6xrank purchase cost.
Classes 19-20 1/8xrank purchase cost.
Classes 21-22 1/10xrank purchase cost.


All characters have a percentage chance of having one or more of the following six skills, some will have them automatically. These are the most usual skills to be used by characters during an adventure besides combat and spell work. 

Riding: Any member of nobility automatically has this skill. Warriors at 10+ agility ride well, Clergy of agility 14+ will ride well. Freemen: add agility plus social class, double this: the resultant sum is the percentage chance the character has this skill.For unfree, poor free, and slaves, the percentage chance of beginning with this skill is equal to half their agility rounded down. Warriors are not able to engage in mounted combat unless they select a character of that type from the Warrior Class Table.

Swimming and Climbing: Percentage chance of starting play with the skill of swimming is equal to agility unless a native to an area with sea, river, lake, in such a case multiply the agility times 5 for the percentage chance. If a character does gain this skill at character creation, and has a Agility of 14+, they swim well. Chance of climbing equals agility, unless born in the mountains, then it is 5 times agility, and if the skill is possessed, the character with 14+ agility climbs well.

Tracking: Only nobility and rural dwellers have a chance to begin play with this skill. Percentage chance of having the tracking skill is agility plus intelligence, doubled. Those who have the skill and also an Intelligence of 12+ will track well.

Stealing: (all stealing-picking pockets, moving silently, lock picking, etc).All poor free and slaves with an agility over 6 can steal. Agility 10+ can be professional. Unfree peasants-50% chance of having this skill, agility of 14+ qualifies as professional.

Singing: All Clergy can sing. Charisma 10+ sing well. Lay nobility 66% chance, charisma 14+ sing well. Slaves 50% chance, 14+ charisma sings well. All others: 33% chance to sing.

Distinctions Within Character Classes

As has been stated, there are four basic character choices, cleric, warrior, mage or thief.

However, within each of the three character classes, there are differing types based on player choice, social class, and cultural and organizational considerations. Skip to the section concerning your character class choice and further narrow the specifications of your character.


If you are playing a warrior, the GM has a table of cultural and period warrior classes from Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Irish, Welsh, Pictish and Scottish and later medieval history. You must choose one of these that is consistent with the GM's setting. Each specializes in certain weapons and fighting, and you will find a number of statistics on the warrior class table to add to your character sheet to assist you in combat calculations when the game turns to warfare. You will also be assumed to possess the basic arms and armour of that warrior class at commencement of the game. You may not choose a class of warrior above your social class at start of game.


Early chieftain
Early warrior 
Late chieftain
Peasant militia


Early chieftain
Early warrior
Late chieftain
Upper class warrior
Lower class warrior
Select fyrdman
General fyrdman
Javelin man
Norman style knight


Common warrior


"Hero" or Chieftain
Early wlesh infantry
Late Welsh Infantry
Welsh archer


Early Chieftain
Late chieftain
Early warrior
Late warrior
Pictish cavalry
Scottish select warrior
Scottish huscarl

1100 AD

Local Militia
Nobleman, King's Officer
Squire, page
Military Order
Knight Military Order
Other fightng man 


If you are playing a Cleric, you will either follow the Norse, Celtic or Christian religions or else serve the Lower Powers. 

In FW there are tables of "Rank" for members of Christian religious orders, covens, or the Norse or Celtic priesthoods. 

During the game, Rank is one of the factors in calculating the cleric/priest's percentage chance of success in invoking divine (or infernal) aid.

When creating a cleric character, a player may end up starting the game possessing a measure of ecclesiastical rank.

 However, for purposes of working miracles, No matter what social class or ecclesiastic position of the character when he or she begins the game all new characters are considered Rank 1 at the time they begin adventuring.

It is time to choose the religious order you wish your character to belong to as a cleric, coven member, or pagan priest.

Clerical Types in the Christian Church are as follows, the four basic types being listed in bold script followed by the successive ranks and titles within that order. Some titles do not change with every increase in rank but will be carried through successive ranks.

Rank can be raised through adventuring and using clerical powers.

Secular Clergy: Unordained Clergy(1), Priest (2), Dean(3,ArchDeacon(4),Bishop(5),Archbishop(6),Primatial Bishop(7)Cardinal(8)Cardinal(9)Pope(10)

Monks and Monastic Canons: Novice(1),Monk(2),Prior(3),Abbot(4),Abbot of Motherhouse(5,6,7)Cardinal(8,9),Pope(10)

Friars:Novice(1),Friar(2,3,4),Head of Order(5,6,7), Cardinal (8,9), Pope(10)

Religious Knights: Knight(1),Knight Commander(2),House Master(3),Provincial Commanders(4),Grandmaster(5). Note: religious Knights are a special order of warrior clerics. They cannot progress beyond level 5 in rank.

The above list comprises the Christian clerical orders. The ranks for their diabolical counterparts are as follows:

Devil Worshippers: Coven member(1),Assistant coven leader(2),Coven leader(3,4), Master of the High Coven, 13 Covens(5,6,7),Master of the Grand Coven, 13 x 13 covens (8,9)Antipope(10)

The final clerical order (more properly called a priest order because clerical implies Christian orders) is that which concerns Celtic or Norse religionists and is noted below. Religious lines were not so strictly drawn between laity and priest in the Norse religion, and for game purposes Celtic religion will be treated the same.

Priesthood:  All free men and women(1), Elders and heroes (2),Priests of minor sites/Heads of families(3), Lesser priests, mainly female in teh Norse religion of major temples(4),High Priests Norse/Druids (5),Kings and Queens(6). [6 is the highest rank attainable in the Norse and celtic religion, having no parallels in the Christian ranks from 7-10)


If you are a mage, you must choose the type of mage you want to be --if your social class is such to permit that choice.


Wise Woman/Cunning Man: uses Incantation and uluation to build mana and prepare spells. Not found among landowning or warrior class, sometimes found in Clergy class in social levels 9-12, may be Townsfolk of social levels 4-13 (will be a rural immigrant), Rural dwellers of social class 4-13. Enchantment centered in herbs, woods, times, animal parts.
Upon attaining fourth level may become a wizard if high enough in social class.

Witch: Any social class or type. Covens are usually rural rather than nobility or urban. uses Incantation, ululation, shamanistic dancing to build mana and prepare spells. Uses same methods of enchantment as the Wise Woman/Cunning Man with the addition of colours being important to magic as well.  Any Mage can become a Witch by joining a coven, keeping their other class features.

Wizard: Open to following social class levels-Landowning/Warrior class of social level 9-13, Clergy 9-13, Townsfolk 6-13, Rural Dweller 12-14. Mana building and spell preparation methods are incantation, ululation, deep meditation, study (above level 4 only), uses in enchantment include Metals, herbs, woods, times, parts of animals, place and colours. Level 4 wizards may become High or Runic Sorcerer if of proper social class.

High or Runic Sorcerer: Closed to Rural dwellers of any social class, other classes of social class 13+ may become one. They conform in wizards in most respects as regard mana building and enchantment as wizards with the addition of runes and numerology.

Cabalist: Townsfolk of social class 12-16 only.

Only High Runic Sorcerers and Cabalists may use inscribed commands. Only High Runic Sorcerers, Cabalists, and Wizards (above level 4) may use conjuration. 

All mage classes may practice divination,curing, illusion, spells of command and absolute command, elemental matter, and protection, though some are more gifted at different sorts of operations than others or disadvantaged at others.

Note:If there is confusion about Clergy class being mages, note that this does not deal with the charater class of cleric who operates in divine powers but refers to persons holding rank in the hierarchy of the church who are actually mages. 


As noted, a character who is a thief is not considered a character class in the normal sense. The prerequisite for being a thief is having the skill of stealing through the means described in the section entitled "Skills". Thus the thief is confined to the social classes described in that section. a professional thief who has the skill of stealing is considered to have the ability to pick pocket, pilfer, sneak silently, and hide in shadows. Climbing is also a most useful skill to have as a thief.

Thieves may fight, of course, though not properly considered warriors as to class or social standing. They may use any number of guises or covers in operating in their profession.

If you are running a thief character, you will be building up your ability to steal and sneak through repeated and continual use; be advised there is no organized Thieves Guild and that you will not wish to show your profession. 

There are a variety of punishments for people caught stealing in the medieval society, the degree of severity and finality of such punishments usually depending on who you have offended against and sometimes any prior troubles, but mercy is scant. Branding, maiming, beatings, imprisonment, slavery, hanging or being run through upon a sword are not uncommon, though bribery can sometimes avail.

Final Preparations

A character will receive a starting amount of money related to their social rank and the GM will provide a table of basic equipment, arms, armour and other miscellany with which to equip your character.

All that will remain is to choose a party leader and the beginning adventure can get underway.  Party leader is based upon social class and rank and leadership factor, as calculated-usually high rank in the Landowning and Warrior Class will assume command.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Black and White Magic in F.W.

In a Fantasy Wargaming campaign, the ascending Christian faith casts all magic in a negative light, since Scripture forbids such practices.

Still, not all magic was equally abhorrent to the medieval mind.

Pagan holdovers of the concept of harmless or beneficial magick carried on to the latest times of these periods.

Such magick is classified for game purposes as White Magick...nature based spells, based on benevolent aims, or, if harmful, directed at evil agencies.

In stark contradiction, Black Magick is, of course, considered as evil, consisting of magical operations pursued solely for personal aggrandizement, vengeful aims, or infernal designs.

In a game of F.W., the difference between White and Black Magick mostly pertains to Piety, a score which affects appeals or Miracles or Divine Intercession. The Christian faith is, in F.W., held as transcendent (such was the medieval mind's eye), so magick is judged accordingly, some consideration being granted as to motive. If White Magick cannot be wholly excused, it is held to be far less worthy of Divine censure than Black Magick...

And of course, their is "Grey Magick" can work out the general idea if one considers the farther sides of the spectrum. 

What this all boils down to is that the Piety Score of a character using White Magick will not suffer the devastating losses associated with the use of Black Magick, giving them far more hope for success should they desire to appeal to Divine aid or intercession.

Mage Class: Cabalist

This Mage Class belongs exclusively to that game which is set in the High Middle Ages.

The insights and traditions of the Cabalist are inscrutable to the High Sorcerer, let alone the other Mage Classes.

Cabalists possess the clearest view into the workings of the Ethereal Plane of any of the Mage classes, seeking both salvation and magical strength through their esoteric studies.

Their magic is closely related to the hierarchy of angelic and demonic beings, the names of these denizens being essential elements of invocation for assistance from or protection from the same.

Arcane texts, physical disciplines, and  rigorous mental exercises are routine to the Cabalist.

Whether a Mohammedan or a Jew, the price of a Cabalist's simply being a magician is total abhorrence from their own ethnic and religious community, even as ethnicity and religion also assure Christian approbation.

Cabalists are unable to attend religious ceremony and have little Piety.

Cabalists use the Aristocratic mode of Divination.

They may use Inscribed Commands and practice Conjuration. 

Adjustments to the Magic Calculations of Cabalist characters work as follow:

Complex Matter: +2 

Elemental Matter: +2

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +2

Absolute Commands involving Movement and Action: +2

Spells of Protection: +1

Spells of Illusion: +1

Spells of Disease and Death: +1

Spells of Curing: +1


Mage Class: Runic Sorcerer

The Runic Sorcerer is the Dark Ages equivalent of the High Sorcerer and for most game purposes, these two (Runic and High Sorcerer) are actually the same Mage Class.

Mostly, only the actual historical period in which you set your game (Dark Ages or Middle Ages) will differentiate.

Runic Sorcerers obviously use  either runes (in the case of Norseblood), Ogham ( in Celtic practitioners) or, in persons of Anglo-Saxon tradition, both runes and Ogham script.

Always from the upper classes. 

For game purposes, the only differences between Runic Sorcerers and High Sorcerers are in the adjustments to Magic Calculations:

Spells of Illusion:  +1

Spells of Curing: In distinction to the High Sorcerer, there are no bonuses for spells of curing gien to the Runic Sorcerer.

In all other respects of specialization, Runic Sorcerers and High Sorcerers are accounted equal. 

Mage Class: High Sorcerer

The High Sorcerer is a Mage of high social status, either hereditary or gained through patronage and prestige as a Wizard. Their station has permitted them special learning and access to magical texts and histories, not to mention the expensive  tools, implements and habitations,  that are unique to their class.

The occult mysteries and the underlying "WHY" of magic is just as important to them as the magical operations they seek to effect...indeed, perhaps more important. 

Most come from upper urban, clerical, warrior and landowning social backgrounds.

Sorcery and Astrology are constant pursuits alongside their main magical pursuits. They have many magical specializations  and are delvers into the lore and instruction to be found on the Ethereal Plane.

Some are, as far as they are concerned, devoted Christians ( c.f. Issac Newton, John Dee), and others are of a sort exemplified by Faust, wholly desirous of power.

Many are the special counsellor of noble or royal personages.

High Sorcerers practice the Aristocratic mode of Divination.

They can use Inscribed Commands and practice Conjuration.

The Magic Calculation Adjustments of this Mage Class are as follows:

Complex Matter: +1

Elemental matter: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Movement and Action: +1

Spells of Disease and Death: +1

Spells of Curing: +1 

Mage Class: Witch

The Witch is a coven member and devoted Devil worshipper who will nearly always hide his or her magical skills and beliefs from society at large.

They may be found in any social class, and though they draw from many magical sources and traditions, their magic is most effective as regards compulsion and people. They practice only Black Magick. 

They are most adept at spells of Curing, Disease and Death,  and Absolute Command.

Any other Mage class may join a coven and become a Witch with no loss of the spell specializations of their primary class. 

Witches have traffic with demons and much of their magic is learned directly from the Infernal Powers as well as from other coven members.

Witches may practice only the Peasant mode of Divination.

They may not use Inscribed Commands. Witches above level 4 may use Conjuration. 

The Magic calculation Adjustement for Witches are as follows:

Absolute Commands Involving Behaviour: +1

Absolute Commands Involving Movement and Action: +1

Spells of Protection: -1

Spells of Disease and Death: +2

Spells of Curing: +1