The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)


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Tropes found in the game:

Sometimes you may contest against a character whose relevant ability rating is much worse than your own. If your rating not current ability pool! This is called a Wallop. You neednt roll. Your opponent can prevent the Wallop only with an Illustrious Success on his first roll to counter youother results do nothing and the roll can never be rerolled or nullified.

You pay the cost from your pool even if he does get that Illustrious Success. If you can observe your target for a few minutes as he uses the ability you wish to counter, a successful roll of your Perception ability tells you whether hes sufficiently impuissant to suffer a Wallop. Emptying a Pool When your pool becomes empty in any given ability, you can no longer call for rerolls. Worse, you suffer a penalty of 1 on any attempts to use it.

If you are trying to use it in a situation that would normally require a levy, the penalty is 2. This leaves you very little chance to succeed. Initiative Sometimes a number of characters all want to act at once, seizing the initiative. Characters act in the order of their point totals in the abilities they intend to use, from highest to lowest. When competing characters have equivalent point totals, they roll dice.

The best success wins; reroll ties. A player may pay points in the ability he plans to use in exchange for a reroll of this tiebreaker die. Holding Off When it is your turn to act you may choose to hold off. Instead of acting, you wait. When any. If you wait until everyone else has acted, you may then act, or pass on the opportunity to act altogether. Rounds The period of time it takes for all characters who wish to act to do so is called a round.

A round is a rules abstraction which does not correspond to any fixed duration. A round of combat may take a few seconds. A round of negotiation could take several minutes. If it matters, your GM decides how long it takes to resolve the contest at hand, using common sense. Moves Each time your character tries to do something in the course of a round, he is said to be making a move.

An active move is one in which you are trying to do something. The two most common active moves are persuasion and attack. When your initiative comes up, you may make one active move. You are never obligated to actively move. If you have no plan to take an active move during a round, you dont bother rolling for initiative.

You may at any time be called upon to defend yourself from someone elses active move. When you do so, youre making a reactive move. You may undertake any number of reactive moves in a round, without paying a levy or facing a penalty. You are never obligated to react, but may face unpleasant consequences if you dont. Exchanges Together, an active move including all of its rerolls and a reactive move including all of its rerolls is referred to as an exchange. Lacking most abilities that are known to create delight in their host, Sajonar decides to rely upon his Etiquette ability; his hope is to behave in such a well-bred and proper manner that he will set the mark for all of his hosts parties yet to come.

He has an Etiquette rating and current pool of In clear view of our host, but taking no apparent notice of him, Sajonars player informs the GM, I will withdraw my kerchief and flutter it, saying, in the Language of Kerchief Manipulation, What fine fate has brought about this event, so perfect in every measurable way? He rolls his die and comes up with a 5, a Prosaic Success, and he beams in the selfsatisfied way for which he is known. But Elditheldels player chooses to counter his action with his own Etiquette, which, Elditheldel being somewhat more experienced, has a rating of 11; he, too, has a full pool of He says, I will draw out and open my lesser fan and twirl it with my customary aplomb in the pattern that states, How sad that barbarians have invaded and failed to discern that kerchiefs are out of fashion.

He, too, rolls his die. He gets a 4, a Hairs-Breadth Success, which barely convinces the onlooking host that, indeed, kerchiefs are out of style. Sajonar feels the early chill of panic grip him, but chooses not to yield the field. He crosses to stand before Elditheldel and performs his most graceful bow, then announces for all to hear, How delightful to see you again, and may I present you with this frippery, which escaped your sleeve as you flirted before the lady of the house.

He spends a point to permit him the reroll, reducing his Etiquette pool to 9, and rolls his die. To his great glee, he rolls a 6, an Illustrious Success. This gives him a boon of 2 points, increasing his Etiquette pool to 11, and convinces everyone within sight that Elditheldel has, in fact, brought a kerchief when they were out of fashion, flirted with the hosts wife, and clumsily dropped his kerchief on this most elegant of nights. Elditheldel gulps and stands his ground. I fear you confuse my actions with those of some baboon you have witnessed in a mirror, he says.

Instead of rerolling, his tactic is to nullify the Illustrious Success by spending 3 from his pool. He does. Sajonar loses that 2-point boon he received and must reroll. He does so, but achieves a 4, Hairs-Breadth Success. This is less than his success of a moment before, but the onlookers still see him in a position superior to Elditheldels. Elditheldels pool is down to 8, and success is still with Sajonar. But Sajonar rolled last, so Elditheldel will spend another 1, reducing his pool to 7, and roll again on the strength of his last statement. He rolls Dismal Failure. He can reroll again, but because this was a Dismal Failure, he would spend 3 to do so 1 for the reroll, plus 2 as the special levy for rerolling a Dismal Failure.

This would leave him with just 4, and he has other things he must accomplish tonight with his Etiquette ability. So he chooses not to reroll, and yields the field. Elditheldel turns the color of failure as the audience bursts into laughter around him, and his host resolves to investigate the matter of Elditheldel flirting with his lady. Fighting Combatany attempt by one character to physically harm anotheris a contest like any other. Characters act in the order of their initiative. Attack is an active move; defense is reactive.

Attacks When you win an Attack exchange, you have scored a hit. You neednt worry about calculating damage or assessing the effects of your blow; you can sit back, smiling and nodding, as your victim does all the calculation. This means, of course, that if you are hit, you have to figure out what happened to you. When you are hit in combat, your GM will ask you to make a Health roll. Health represents your ability to resist physical harm. Health rolls cant be countered. If you dislike the result of a Health roll, you can reroll as usual, so long as your Health pool is not empty.

Each time you fail a Health roll, you suffer an injury. A single injury means that you are hurt. You can act normally, but suffer a levy of 2 when attempting any action. If you suffer from two injuries, you are down. All you can do is lie prone, or perhaps writhe in pain. If you have no one else to defend you, you are at your enemys mercy.

It is a trivial matter for him to dispatch you.

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In rules terms, he gets an automatic success on his Attack. If you suffer from three injuries, you are either dead if you have no Health pool left or dying. If youre dying, you have 15 minutes to live per remaining Health in your pool. Though the subject of what happens when youre dying may be of vital interest to you, we will not return to it for a short time.

If this matter has you on the edge of your seat, skip down to Recovery and Refreshing. Unconsciousness In some circumstances, the worst consequence you risk from a failed Health roll is unconsciousness. For example, in combat, an. In such situations, one injury has the effect described above, while two injuries mean that youre knocked out, not down. Every half hour of game time, you may make a Health roll to see if your character wakes up.

After half an hour, others may wake the character by shaking him, dousing him with cold water, or otherwise jolting him. Missile Combat Any character with the Attack skill can fire missiles at a target.

RETROSPECTIVE: The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

If the target has a defense ability, he may use it to counter the missile attack in the usual fashion. If the attacker is firing at an object the size of a breadbox or smaller the GM decides the targets volume relative to that of a breadbox , the attacker suffers a penalty of 1 to the die roll. If a target is behind cover to the extent that the portions of his body an attacker can see are of breadbox proportions or smaller, the attacker suffers the same penalty of 1. The full Dying Earth rules offer more elaborate guidelines for missile combat. Still, in those rules and in these, note that missile combat is undramatic.

Sensible GMs arrange adventures so as to avoid missile combat whenever possible. Special Rules Unarmed combat: An armed character gets a boon of 2 per exchange when attacking or defending against an unarmed opponent. If both combatants are unarmed, no boons or levies apply. This boon does not apply to missile attacks against an unarmed target. Weapons: You gain a boon of 1 if you are familiar with the weapon you wield, and your opponent is not. This applies only to melee weapons, not to missile weapons.

Wallops Attack abilities : If you successfully wallop an opponent with your attack ability, you may choose the condition he ends up in: hurt, downed, unconscious, or dead. By spending an additional 3 from your pool, you can kill him in spectacularly visceral fashion. You can wait to see if he managed to avoid your wallop before spending the extra 3. Wallops Defense abilities : If you wallop an opponent with your defense ability, he immediately disengages from the fight, certain that his attack is doomed to fail.

A GM character wont return to fight again unless subjected to powerful exhortation of some kind. If the character does rally and attack again, he suffers a levy of 2 on all attack attempts against you. Recovery and Refreshing If dying, you can improve your condition to Down by getting a Health boon of 1 or more usually through the ministrations of a character with Physician skill. If down, you can improve your condition to Hurt by refreshing your Health pool, or gaining a Health boon of 6 or more.

A downed character refreshes after a number of weeks of bed rest equal to the difference between his Health pool and Health rating. If hurt, you can fully recover by refreshing your Health pool, or gaining a Health boon of 3. A Hurt character refreshes after a number of days of peaceful inactivity equal to the difference between his Health pool and Health rating. Uninjured characters refresh their Health pools by getting a good nights rest, spending a relaxing day of physical inactivity, and eating well. Running Away To run away from a fight in which you are currently participating, you must first break away from the battle.

You do this in lieu of an attack. Instead, you roll your Defense, which your opponent may counter with his Attack. For a round in which you intend to break away, your initiative is determined using your Defense instead of your attack. If you win the exchange, youve shoved him out of the way, ducked past him, or otherwise gotten out of his clutches.

If you fail, he hits you as you break away. If you Dismally Fail, he hits you, and you are still locked in combat. Once youve broken away from him, you can run away. If he chases you, a new contest, pitting your Athletics against his, begins. If you win, you manage to elude him. If he wins, he catches up to you and the fight continues. Ignore normal initiative rolls for a chase; the pursued character goes first in each exchange. Additional actions are not possible during a chase. Chases need not follow an attempt to break away from combat.

They might precede a combat, or not relate to a fight at all. Dabblers have learned only the bare rudiments of magic and are occasionally foolish enough to attempt a difficult spell. A Dabbler can do the following things: Read the languages of the most common magical texts Know the name and approximate capabilities of every common Straightforward spell the difference between Straightforward and Complex spells is explained later and all relatively common enchanted items Memorize spells to be cast later Cast cantraps minor, versatile magical effects Cast spells from a grimoire or memorized spells with a reasonable chance of success Know the names of the most famous magicians.

It is assumed that a Dabbler has had initial training in magic from another Dabbler or magician who owed him a favor or through the acquisition ofand subsequent survival of untrained experimentation withone or more elementary grimoires. Types of Magic Almost all magic consists of manipulation and control of a magical entity. Such entities range in power from minor elementals barely able to ignite a candle, to lesser semi-sapient beings such as madlings, to the sapient, powerful, and generally querulous creatures called sandestins.

When the magic is performed correctly, the magician commands the entity to perform some. Almost every magical action is accomplished by these unseen entities. On occasion, entity-like abilities are instead bound into a physical object. Magic uses one of four methods: Cantraps Spellcasting Enchanted items Sandestins. These quick-start rules cover only cantraps and the simpler spells. For rules about complex spells, enchanted items, and sandestins, consult the full Dying Earth rules. Cantraps Cantraps are the least effective but by far the most widespread magic.

Cantraps are emotionally charged blessings or curses backed by a few mystic gestures or short phrases. If an entity answers the call, the target incurs some minor, specific blessing or curse. Deceptions are revealed more readily or work more effectively; gambling winnings or losses are somewhat more extensive; journeys may be more or less fraught with danger.

A successful curse inflicts a levy of 1 on any rolls within the scope of the curse. Similarly, a successful blessing grants a boon of 2 to the first activity directly within the blessings scope. The good or ill luck normally lasts one hour. When the caster scores an Illustrious Success, the effects may last up to a full day. A cantrap cannot affect events that have already occurred. One cannot, for instance, cast a cantrap to nullify all the cantraps a rival has cast in the last hour.

These entities are not necessarily intelligent, nor even sentient, and their conduct, from the tyros point of view, is unpredictable, capricious, and dangerous. A caster without Magic spends nothing. Only one roll is allowed. An Illustrious success means that the cantrap succeeds. A Dismal Failure generally means that a curse affects the caster instead, and that a blessing is reversed in intent, becoming a curse. On any other result, nothing happens. A Dabbler who performs a cantrap spends 1 from his Magic pool. If he does not like the result, he can spend another 1 to reroll. The only limit on the number of rerolls is the size of the Dabblers magic pool.

Cantraps never affect their caster: Successful blessings or curses produced using cantraps can never affect the caster. All blessings and curses must be cast on someone else. The target must be visible: Blessings and curses may only be cast on a single target whom the caster can clearly see and hear. Minor physical cantraps: Anyone with Magic ability can use cantraps to create minor physical effects. These effects never last more than a minute. They all must take place within a foot or two of the magician, and are at most capable of producing sufficient force to swat a fly or light a single candle.

Cantraps require obvious speech and gestures: Blessings or curses must be initiated by a lengthy and emotionally charged verbal statement regarding the casters wishes for the. If the caster is distracted, silenced, or slain before the statement is complete, the cantrap fails. Somewhat easier, physical cantraps only require a single flashy gesture and a word or two. Cantraps must be specific: Curses and blessings must specify what their luck will involve.

For example, the caster could curse a target to fail to gain their hearts desire, or lose money in gambling, but not simply suffer general misfortune. No multiple blessings: No one can be simultaneously subject to multiple blessings. Any blessings after the first cast on a target automatically fail. Unfortunately, multiple simultaneous curses are entirely possible. Death curses: Death curses and blessings are the most potent cantraps. A dying caster may use either his Magic or Persuade pool to obtain additional successes.

This is the only situation where a non-Magic poolcan increase the chance of performing a cantrap. In addition, bonuses or penalties from death blessings or curses are tripled. If the caster returns to life, the cantrap instantly ends. Spells A spell is a precisely defined set of instructions to a specific magical being, exhorting it to perform a single defined feat. A spell can do anything from lighting a candle to transporting the caster to a distant Aeon.

Magic Spells are written in books or recorded in other highly detailed fashion. A written spell embodies instructions on how to successfully command the entity, combined with mental exercises designed to precisely focus the casters mind. This last aspect is vital, for commanding a magical entity requires strong will. Spells are cast in two ways.

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The caster can read the spell from the grimoire spell book , taking special care to perform necessary gesticulations and pronounce every syllable correctly. If all goes well, the magical entity does the casters bidding. Casting a spell this way typically requires 20 minutes Straightforward spells to an hour Complex spells , during which time the caster cannot be disturbed without dire consequences. Adventurous magicians, who rarely have time to open a book and chant carefully when facing hurricanes or deodands, instead perform all necessary chants, gestures, and other physical components well in advance of need.

Then the caster engages in an act of will, which temporarily imprints the proper mental focus for the spella process called memorization. At any point after memorization, the caster can summon up this mental state and cast the spell. However, once the caster has cast a memorized spell, it vanishes. The spell cannot be cast again until the proper words and gestures are again performed and all instructions are again memorized. Magicians cannot memorize more than one version or copy of a spell at once.

Also, spellcasting is not without risk. Careless or inexperienced magicians can suffer drastically unexpected results if they mispronounce even a single syllable. A miscast spell may affect unintended targets, or have a greatly reduced, greatly increased, or even completely reversed effect. How It Works In the Game Casting from a grimoire: For 20 minutes for a Straightforward spell , the spellcaster reads aloud from the book, makes appropriate gestures, etc.

This elaborate process is abbreviated in play: You say, I want to cast this spell, and the GM replies,. Make your roll. Roll one die and spend a magic point. A result of means you fail to cast the spell. Note below the effects of a Dismal failure! A result of means you succeed. Illustrious Successes have no unusual effect. Memorization: This works much like casting from a grimoire, except that at the end of 20 minutes, the caster has memorized rather than cast the spell. You do not roll dice nor spend points during memorization, but only when your character actually casts the spell during play.

Note that each spell must be memorized individually, and each takes 20 minutes to memorize. As with abilities, you may spend magic points to reroll undesirable die results. Dabblers may not, however, reroll Dismal Failures. More Rules For Spells All spells have limited durations: Most spells last from a few hours to a day, though their physical effects healing a wound, blasting a rock into pebbles can be permanent.

Phantasmal or unnatural effects like illusions, spheres of magical force, and transformations such as allowing the caster to breathe water have limited duration. Spells are limited in extent: Spells can only affect targets visible or directly perceptible to the caster. Moreover, a spell can only affect a single location.

Spells can target a single individual, a moderate-sized group of targets who are all near each other, or a single location no more than an acre or two in extent. So, though a spell could turn a large cavern inside out, it could not destroy an entire mountain, or affect randomly scattered members of a crowd while leaving others in the crowd untouched. Straightforward and Complex spells: Spells are Complex or Straightforward, depending on their difficulty to learn and cast.

This set of rules deals only with Straightforward spells, so you need not toss and turn, unable to sleep from worry about the dangers inherent in Complex spells. Memorizing spells: Characters with the Magic ability can memorize a number of spells determined by their Magic rating.

A character must have 2 rating points in Magic for every. More fractious entities are known by the Temuchin as daihak, which includes demons and gods. A magicians power derives from the abilities of the entities he is able to control. Every magician of consequence employs one or more sandestins. A few arch-magicians of Grand Motholam dared to employ the force of the lesser daihaks.

To recite or even to list the names of these magicians is to evoke wonder and awe. Rhialto the Marvellous Straightforward spell he wishes to memorize. For example, a character with a Magic ability rating of 11 could memorize no more than 5 Straightforward spells.

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The price of failure: Ordinary failure when casting a spell merely means the spell does not work. Dismal Failure means a miscast spell. Miscast spells are almost always reversed or altered in intent. Remember that magic is actually performed by entities; such entities often treat Dismal Failure as a license to wreak havoc on the caster. Though miscast spells are rarely instantly fatal, the consequences are annoying, embarrassing, or dangerous.

Voice and gestures: Casting a spell from a grimoire requires reading the spell aloud and performing complex gestures. If the casting is interrupted, a levy of 2 is applied to the roll. If the interruption is serious such as the caster being knocked out , the spell cannot be cast. A memorized spell can be cast instantly, without words or gestures.

However, the necessary concentration does require a few moments. Initiative for casting memorized spells is treated normally. Starting spells for Dabblers: A Dabbler character does not begin play automatically knowing spells. To know one or more spells when play begins, the Dabbler can spend 2 creation points per Straightforward spell; he also possesses a grimoire in which these spells are recorded. Finding new spells in play: Characters who wish to acquire new spells during play cannot. Instead, characters must acquire new spells by finding or stealing them.

No improvement points are needed to acquire new spells, but they are bestowed according to the game moderators wishes. Magic Resistance and Magical Protection Creatures that lack the Magic ability cannot resist the effects of magic. Spell automatically affect such mundane targets. Fortunately, the study of magic also includes study of resisting its effects. Unless they willingly allow it to affect them, those with the Magic ability automatically receive one free die roll to resist any magical effect.

They may spend magic points to reroll the resistance die. Rolls to resist magic work like any other contest. Magicians cannot resist spells they cast including the effects of their own Dismal Failures. As with other contests, magicians cannot spend points if they are asleep or unconscious. Diving out of the way: Even memorized spells require a few moments to cast.

Characters with no other means of resisting magic can try to get out of the spells area of effect by diving behind a solid object or removing themselves. Sample Spells from the area. Characters must have the initiative to attempt a dive out of the way. To gain initiative, the divers Athletics pool must be greater than the casters magic pool in ties, roll randomly to see who gains initiative.

A diver with initiative may reach cover or leap out of range with a successful Athletics roll. This attempt has a limit of onethat is, only one die may be rolled in this attempt; you cannot reroll. It is not possible to get out of range of Sightrange spells, but diving for cover still works. You cannot dodge if you use your Magic ability to resist magic.

Then there is always assault. If a target can down or kill the magician before the spell is cast, they have rendered the magician helpless and the spell fails. However, see Death curses above under Cantraps. Spells are described in these terms: Range: How far away the target of the spell can be from the caster of the spellSelf, meaning the spell only affects the person casting it; Touch, meaning that it affects someone or something the caster is touching; Near, affecting a visible target no more than 10 yards away from the caster; or Sight, affecting any target the caster can clearly see.

Duration: How long the spell lastsInstant, meaning it lasts only a moment, though its effects could be permanent; Concentration, meaning that the spell lasts as long and the magician concentrates on it and performs no other strenuous or demanding actions, with a probable duration no longer than 20 minutes; Hours, as explained in the description for the spell; Feat, meaning that the spell lasts long enough for the target of the spell to perform one specific feat defined by the spell; or Day, a full day. Difficulty: An indication of how long it takes to cast the spell and whether the caster suffers levies when casting it.

The two types are Straightforward and Complex; only Straightforward spells, taking 20 minutes to cast and imposing no undue penalties, appear in the following list. Arnhoults Sequestrous Digitalia Range: Near Duration: Concentration Difficulty: Straightforward Favored by avaricious magicians everywhere, this spell creates a small warp in space through which the caster can thrust his or her hand. The warp can appear at any location within the spells range. The casters hand appears to vanish from the end of his arm and reappear some distance away.

The ensorcelled hand remains fully functional. For the spells duration, the caster can also move the warp anywhere within range. The warp itself is approximately six inches in diameter, and the caster can pull anything through the warp that can be held in one hand and fits through the hole. Because the warp is invisible, this spell permits subtle thefts. By virtue of the spells careful design, if it is magically dispelled the warp vanishes and the casters hand remains unharmed on his wrist. The spell can be cast equally easily upon a blank wall or the back of a rivals head.

The caster can speak through this. On reflection, Dantomir admitted that his cantrap to turn away the wrath of the bellicose pelgrane had, after all, been efficacious. And yet, in all candour This mouth lasts for as long as the caster concentrates on using it. This spell can be cast so that the mouth remains closed and invisible until some specified word or phrase is spoken in its presence.

Thereupon the mouth delivers a prepared speech up to words long. Coins, vials of liquid, small exotic petsthe only limitation is that the spell cannot duplicate enchantments on items. It can duplicate their appearance, but none of the created items have magical power. For the duration of the magic, the duplicates are substantial, solid, and durable. But when the spell wears off, all duplicates vanish. Behemoths Bounty Range: Near Duration: Instant Difficulty: Straightforward Beloved by gourmands and travelers, this spell creates a feast, complete with giant plates, bowls, mugs, and eating utensils, that easily feeds more than a dozen hungry people.

The food is nourishing but not exceptional, usually simple fare like sliced roast meat, boiled grain, hearty and well-cooked roots or tubers, a prodigious quantity of soup, and simple gravy or sauce. Beer, cider, fruit juice, or possibly watered wine accompanies the feast.

When the spell lapses, everything vanishes, but hunger has been genuinely and lastingly satisfied. Range: Touch Duration: Day Difficulty: Straightforward A favorite with paupers and confidence tricksters everywhere, this spell makes eleven. Range: Touch Duration: Day Difficulty: Straightforward With this spell the caster can disguise the target as any other person or humanoid creature,.

Range: Touch Duration: Feat Difficulty: Straightforward The target gains 12 ability points usable in Strength-based attacks or feats requiring muscle power for instance, breaking down a door, lifting and carrying an object weighing up to one ton, pushing a crowd of people aside, climbing a sheer cliff, or fighting a battle.

If the target already has points in Strengthbased attacks, the points gained from this spell add to those points. The points granted cannot be refreshed normally, and all unused points vanish as soon as the spell ends. Sample Spells male or female, fat or thin, young or old. The caster can only disguise the target as an individual whom the caster has seen clearly. The target looks, sounds, smells, and even moves exactly like the individual imitated. Voice and fingerprints are duplicated exactly. Even people, creatures, and entities who know the imitated individual quite well can be fooled.

However, the target gains none of the knowledge, language, or abilities of the individual imitated. It instantly heals all damage and injury caused by wounds, poison, and disease, and completely cures all normal diseases. It even restores limbs lost to injury. This spell does not restore fatigue produced by lack of sleep or reverse the effects of aging, but it heals everything from a deadly wound to a hangover. This spell works only on living targets, and does not refresh the patients Health pool or other ability pools.

The Illusion of Vile Arthropods Range: Sight Duration: Concentration Difficulty: Straightforward This spell creates a highly realistic illusion of up to three nonhuman monsters the size of oxen, a large group of creatures no larger than small dogs, or a swarm of insects or bird-size creatures covering several square yards. The caster controls the illusory creatures actions. This spell cannot create believable humans. Monsters created by this spell look, sound, and smell just like the real thing. However, the illusions have no substance and cannot affect the physical world.

Attacks pass harmlessly through them, betraying their illusory nature. This spell is not limited to arthropods. Any creature liable to provoke disgust is permitted. Liberation of Warp Range: Near Duration: Instant Difficulty: Straightforward With a sudden and drastic shock to the fabric of space, this spell instantly dispels all magic and warp within 10 yards of the caster. Permanent magical effects are unaffected, but any spell currently operating is instantly and permanently negated, as is any effect produced by a sandestin or enchanted item which uses charges. The Dying Earth rulebook details these effects.

Effects produced by a permanent enchanted item are negated for one full round. The etheric shock of this spell lasts but an instant. After the spell has ended, new spells may be cast without penalty and the effects of permanent magical items return. The target is still audible and detectable by scent, but casts no shadow and has no reflection.

While invisible, the subject can still see himself and may act normally. Combat or shouting may give away the subjects position with fair accuracy, but do not dispel the invisibility. Anyone fighting an invisible opponent suffers a levy of 2 points and a penalty of 1 to all attack and defense rolls.

A character fighting in smoke, fog, mud, or other environment that betrays the invisible opponents location incurs only the 2-point levy, not the 1 penalty. This spell can also be cast on animals up to the size of an elephant and single objects no larger than a large wardrobe or a dining table. Or I inflict upon you the Spell of the Macroid Toe, whereupon the signalized member swells to the proportions of a house. The Eyes of the Overworld. At the start of each play session, the GM gives each player two taglines. A tagline is a short bit of dialogue, often a barb best used against another character, especially a game moderator character.

During the course of the game, stay alert for the opportunity, when speaking as your character, to use each of these lines of dialogue no more than once. Dying Earth characters may be unlettered or pedantic, sanctimonious or prudentbut they are, one and all, eloquent. Taglines that suit the games spirit display panache, rhetorical flair, and a pleasingly flowerywell, let these samples speak for themselves: Come, come, you make a flagrantly unreasonable request!

From your behavior I assumed that you were not only deaf and dumb, but guilty of mental retardation. I am rationality personified; it is unthinking to suggest otherwise! I have taken counsel with myself and believe I can adequately fulfill the obligations of the job. I do not care to listen; obloquy injures my self-esteem and I am skeptical of praise. You speak with neither logic nor comprehension! How can you be so absolute? The GM may create more or choose from the expanded list in the full Dying Earth rules.

Its also easy to cull taglines from the works of Vance. Choose general dialogue lines that fit a variety of situations. Use their characteristic Vancian tenor to inspire your own non-tagline dialogue. Why use taglines? In addition to keeping the game true to the spirit of Jack Vances fiction, they amuse the other players and are almost the only means available for your characters to improve his abilities. See the next section. Vancian Language The Dying Earth rulebook occasionally uses old or obscure words to evoke the Dying Earths convoluted whimsy. The rules text is meant to get you thinking in Vancian rhythms, to help you improvise suitable dialogue during play.

Youll enjoy this game more if you get into this spirit. If big words put you off, stay calm. When you meet one, breathe deeply and check the sentence again. The meaning is always clear from context. If youre still puzzled, you can always pull down the dictionaryor faster yet, check the fine online dictionaries on the Internet. Soon even the most bibliophobic players will be tossing off six-syllable verbal monstrosities with the facility of the most long-winded Vancian scholar.

It costs 3 improvement points to improve any one ability rating by 1, up to its listed ability cap. Beyond that, it gets more expensive see table. Obtaining Improvement Points The GM gives every player one improvement point for playing in a game session. A player who participates in four games would thus have four improvement points.

You can also earn improvement points through appropriate use of taglines see Taglines, previous page. If you say a tagline during the game, but in the GMs judgment the line bears no real relationship to the action, you get no points. If the line applies to the situation, but is no more noteworthy or entertaining than the spontaneously-created dialogue around it, you get 1 point.

If the line seems especially appropriate, you get 2 points. If the line arouses emotion among the players and GM, you get 3 points. Laughter is the most common response, and the easiest to elicit. The GM is the final arbiter of the appropriateness of tagline use. Look for the Pelgrane Press Dying Earth rulebook at better gaming stores near you, or obtain ordering information direct from Pelgrane Press at the address below. Copyright Pelgrane Press. Based on the Dying Earth book series by Jack Vance.

All rights reserved. Permission to photocopy this sheet for any purpose save personal use would only indulge churlish natures, and is therefore denied! The sun, now in its dotage, is a swollen maroon orb. It stutters and blinks. At any moment it may finally go out. Dig anywhere and find a buried city or the shore of a vanished sea. Deodand-haunted woods stretch from decadent Kaiin to the Land of the Falling Wall. Erbs and grue hunt in the wilds. Isolated villages embrace surprising customs. Larger towns favor debauchery and mincing murder.

Enchantment shapes the world. Any dabbler may know a few simple cantraps. Magicians in lavish manses struggle to master Earths last great spells, while all-powerful cabals intrigue against rivals or plot revenge for ancient feuds. Enter this vivid world in the first roleplaying game authorized by master fantasist Jack Vance. Here a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words, and a fine sense of fashion. Create an adventurer for any of three different kinds of stories: a typical mortal such as Cugel the Clever, surviving by wits and cunning an ambitious magician searching for lost lore, like Turjan of Miir a supreme mage to rank with Rhialto the Marvellous, commanding the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins.

Designed by Robin D. No knowledge of Jack Vances work is needed for play, but fans of the stories will enjoy the comprehensive summary of the worlds places, creatures, and known spells. Read Free For 30 Days. Rulebook - Dying Earth. Description: Role Playing Game rules.


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  2. Additional information.
  3. The Dying Earth RPG Home Page.
  4. The Composite Bow.
  5. Pelgrane Press.
  6. The Fruit of the Spirit: Becoming the Person God Wants You to Be?
  7. Illustrated Dictionary of Uniforms,Weapons and Equipment of the Civil War;

Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Carousel Previous Carousel Next. Jump to Page. Search inside document. You spend these points on The various abilities to design the type of character you want to play. The Eyes of the Overworld Example: Cugel-level characters have an ability cap of Such characters are tongue-tied when they should be well-spoken and flail about incompetently when put in dangerous situations.

Read the Persuasion, Glib style:It is transparently clear to the most witless observer that you are an individual of uncommon perspicacity.

The Weapons Given that the use of force cannot always be avoided, a well-chosen weapon in some situations becomes your best ally. Cugels Saga Individual Abilities You may allocate any number of points to any of the abilities listed here. To you, magic is a great game. Rhialto the Marvellous Possessions Where wealth is concerned, Cugel-level characters are buffeted on the winds of indifferent fate. Good boots Warm cloak A fashionable hat Clothing indicating a person of station A length of rope A sack in which to carry other possessions A bedroll A tent A reference text, such as a treatise on edible plants of the wilderness, or a field guide to wild creatures Cugel-level characters may not begin the game with the following: pack beasts or riding animals a cart, boat, or other conveyance any items, such as jewels or antiquities, which might easily be sold for significant amounts of money any enchanted items, except those permitted by the GM You cant guarantee yourself a supply of food or drink by paying creation points.

The 5. Thus, if you originally put 8 creation points into your characters Persuade ability, he has a Persuade ability rating of 8 and also has a Persuade ability pool of 8. Fa ilur e 1 Dismal 2 Quotidian 3 Exasperating S u cce ss 4 - 6 4 Hair's-Breadth 5 Prosaic 6 Illustrious If you dont like your die result, you can rerollbut it costs you. Penalties apply when: Note that a penalty of 2 makes success improbableit leaves the character with a 1 in 6 chance of only Hairs-Breadth success. You have an empty ability pool and attempt a new task with that ability You have no ability relevant to the task at hand, yet you nonetheless still attempt it Under most circumstances, the GM will apply a penalty of 1.

The Naturally, your character can also act to counter anothers actions. When any The other character is set to act, you may interrupt him and act first. For example, in combat, an The attacker can always opt to knock the victim out rather than risk dealing permanent harm. Missile weapon ranges are as follows: We a p o n Sling Bow Longbow Throwing knife Rock R a ng e 80 feet 80 feet feet 20 feet 30 feet Special Rules Unarmed combat: An armed character gets a boon of 2 per exchange when attacking or defending against an unarmed opponent.

If hurt, you can fully recover by refreshing your Health pool, or gaining a Health boon of 3 or more. A Dabbler can do the following things: Read the languages of the most common magical texts Know the name and approximate capabilities of every common Straightforward spell the difference between Straightforward and Complex spells is explained later and all relatively common enchanted items Memorize spells to be cast later Cast cantraps minor, versatile magical effects Cast spells from a grimoire or memorized spells with a reasonable chance of success Know the names of the most famous magicians It is assumed that a Dabbler has had initial training in magic from another Dabbler or magician who owed him a favor or through the acquisition ofand subsequent survival of untrained experimentation withone or more elementary grimoires.

When the magic is performed correctly, the magician commands the entity to perform some The action, and the entity does so to the best of its ability. Magic uses one of four methods: Cantraps Spellcasting Enchanted items Sandestins These quick-start rules cover only cantraps and the simpler spells. Cantraps require obvious speech and gestures: Blessings or curses must be initiated by a lengthy and emotionally charged verbal statement regarding the casters wishes for the target. This elaborate process is abbreviated in play: You say, I want to cast this spell, and the GM replies, The Make your roll.

Finding new spells in play: Characters who wish to acquire new spells during play cannot merely spend improvement points explained below and add a new spell to their grimoire. The Arnhoults Sequestrous Digitalia Range: Near Duration: Concentration Difficulty: Straightforward Favored by avaricious magicians everywhere, this spell creates a small warp in space through which the caster can thrust his or her hand. The Charm of Brachial Fortitude Brassnoses Twelvefold Bounty Enchantment of Anothers Face Range: Touch Duration: Day Difficulty: Straightforward A favorite with paupers and confidence tricksters everywhere, this spell makes eleven Range: Touch Duration: Day Difficulty: Straightforward With this spell the caster can disguise the target as any other person or humanoid creature, Range: Touch Duration: Feat Difficulty: Straightforward The target gains 12 ability points usable in Strength-based attacks or feats requiring muscle power for instance, breaking down a door, lifting and carrying an object weighing up to one ton, pushing a crowd of people aside, climbing a sheer cliff, or fighting a battle.

The The question Why, then, the term arthropods? I m p r o v e m e n t Pt C o s t 6 12 24 24 If the line applies to the situation, but is no more noteworthy or entertaining than the spontaneously-created dialogue around it, you get 1 point. Create an adventurer for any of three different kinds of stories: a typical mortal such as Cugel the Clever, surviving by wits and cunning an ambitious magician searching for lost lore, like Turjan of Miir a supreme mage to rank with Rhialto the Marvellous, commanding the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins Designed by Robin D.

Pelgrane Press Ltd. Pavel Berlin. Cole Cruz. Geoffrey Elder. Dinho Reis. Harry Ta. Eric Garcia. Japheth Honey Badger Dillman. Robson Antonio. Lisette Straaf. Kyto Nova. William Myers. Mark Avrit. Cecil Fields. Valen Cook. William Brandon Roe. The goal of the game is about acting out, experiencing the atmosphere and engaging the story. Everyone's fairly much the same, characters of dubious morality attempting to score in the world. Three-- Killing's not a great solution. The atmosphere has casual and brutal violence, but real success comes from inflicting non-lethal humiliations on one's enemies.

Four-- Your character will fail and fail often, so get used to it. The mechanics of the game itself make chance often more important than skill. Players can try to influence those results, but it merely means another risky chance rather than a building bonus. The system also includes mechanics for convincing, persuading, and resisting urges which often take control out of a player's hands. That loss of autonomy can be frustrating for some players-- whether they come from a simulationist or narrativist background.

The game understands itself-- or at least understands what a hard sell the concepts may be. At several points the author stops to gently justify those ideas. It suggests how to reassure the players and which places remain likely to throw them off. Reluctantly in parts it suggests some options for those who continue to dislike this system. Mind you it presents the "Overarching Rule of Efficacious Blandishment"- suggesting that players can do anything if they can properly convince the GM. And specifically the game provides armor from criticism with the following suggestion: When arguing the merits of the Dying Earth roleplaying game in person or on the Internet, respond to individual who complain about certain rules with the standard reply, "Your argument is flawed.

The overarching rule of efficacious blandishment lets you disregard the rule about which you complain so bitterly. A good and funny point, but still leaving us asking exactly what we've paid for. The system avoids stats, instead characters are built with five key abilities Persuade, Rebuff, Attack, Defense, and Health and then a choice of rated secondary abilities Athletics, Gambling, Imposture, Scuttlebutt, and the like.

Characters spend points based on which of the three "power levels" the game is set at. Characters may also pick up a talent in magic-- with limits imposed by the level of game one's playing in. At the highest level all characters are expected to be arch-magi, with any non-magi being the likely butt of jokes from the other players. The first four of the key abilities Persuade, Rebuff, Attack, and Defense have an interesting mechanic in that players may choose a particular style. Each of these styles trumps and is in turn trumped by a form of rebuff.

This adds an interesting mechanic and distinction, and one which shapes the player's character style. It is a not necessarily intuitive factor, however, to track in the middle of scenes.

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Attack and Defense likewise have certain trumping styles, with particular weapons associated with the attack styles. Each of these abilities has a rating which serves as a pool. Players make tests on abilities by rolling a d6. If they roll , they fail with the number rolled marking level of failure and if they roll they succeed with the number marking success level. Nothing is added to the roll. But here's the trick. If a player is unhappy with their roll, they may spend a point from their pool to reroll the die.

They can keep doing this until they succeed. If opposed by an active opponent with a likewise pool of points, that opponent can reroll against the player to best their success. This can continue on until one side or the other concedes. For non-opposed rolls, the player can keep going until the succeed or fail to their satisfaction or until their ability pool runs out. There are no "difficulties" or modifiers to the die roll in this system.

Instead in certain circumstances, for example when trying to persuade someone whose Rebuff ability trumps your own Persaude ability, the player must pay a levy. This levy depends on the circumstance but it means extra points paid from the pool to make rerolls. For example to come back from a "1" rolled on an attempt costs additional points. Player pools run out-- rolling a 6 on an attempt can restore two points, but otherwise players must "refresh" their pools.

For different abilities and styles the means for refreshment varies. For example, a Obfuscatory persuader must spend several hours devising "a theory so complex as to be incomprehensible. This system, while interesting is another system which the game singles out as one which players may find difficult or objectionable. In a one-shot this might not be an issue which would come up but for regular play it would certainly happen. The whole resolution systems intriguing-- very different and intended to capture the feel of the setting. And my players hated it. I mean really, strenuously hated it.

Mind you, the book acknowledges that some groups will find the game difficult to transition to. It breaks so many of the things that are the usual "cookies' for players: success, control, autonomy, deep characterization, and so on. Instead it focuses on a particular flavor of story- where success is fleeting and the situation is a snowball of absurdity and reverses.

Especially if you're been playing other, more conventional games-- regardless of whether they're gamist, narrativist, or simulationist-- your group's likely to suffer some cognitive dissonance. I have a board game analogy that may be a little obscure but actually happened. One New Years Eve we decided to play board games. We played Bohnanza , a game with a winner but one which in which players have to trade with one another in order to get anywhere.

There's fun there in the trading and trying to make the most generous offers in order to get a little edge. It is a weirdly fun cooperative game without having a cooperative victory. Then we played Munchkin. We ended up with tears from three of the six players and a strong resolution never to play that again. By this I mean in order to do Dying Earth well you'd have to have a group really ready and on board with the concept.

That holds true with most games, but the nature of the game here absolutely requires it. One other criticism I heard from players was that they felt stupid in the face of the game.

The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG) The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)
The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG) The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)
The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG) The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)
The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG) The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)
The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG) The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game (Dying Earth RPG)

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