Game-master:

One of the pluses for Planet Archipelago is that there is lots of room for you, as Game-master to add in such creatures, plants, relics and adventures as you wish. There is room for a creature or plant that exists only on one island. There is room to add in your own islands. One there are un-named islands shown on the map that you can develop as you wish, plus you have the option of adding an island of your design off of the main sea lanes for your players to discover. The fact that the game was designed by a retired educator also means there are opportunities to teach basic life skills while playing the game. Skills such as weather, the economic principles of a free-market system, math and map skills. The supplement on when nature attacks gives the option to explore volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and other such natural phenomenon. Of course, there is the adventure of exploration, discovery and combat with aliens, alien creatures, or other humans.

 

Adding Character Skills:

During the creation of a player character or NPC in the game Planet Archipelago there is the selection of skills also referred to as character skills. These represent the occupational skills that character would have developed up to that point in their life. A young character will have lower skill levels and fewer “learned” skills. They need not have all of the skills allowed by their intelligence level. The skills they do have may have been learned from their parents, a tutor, or as an apprentice with an older skilled individual. The game-master should decide if some skills are not available on the island that the new Player character is from and those skills would not be allowed. If an older character is being created, then they may have more of their total possible skills learned and in addition they will have greater experience and practice in the use of those skills, as opposed to a youth. Once the game has begun and the player character is engaged in the adventure, then any “new” skills they want to add will be with the permission of the game-master not the player controlling the character.

 As a guide to the game-masters the following is recommended. No player should be allowed to suddenly decide that a skill they need in the current situation was in fact learned years ago. Part of the plus of the game is teamwork. No player character can have all of the skills that might be needed, so having different player characters with different skills who must work together as a team is not only realistic but a very practical reality. If a player wants, their character to learn a new skill they may only do so from another player character or NPC who has that skill. No player character or NPC may teach a skill to a level equal to or higher than their own level in that skill. So, for example, if the player character wants to learn to throw a harpoon, they can only learn the skill from a player character or NPC who has harpoon or spear-throwing at a skill level of +2 or higher. How long should it take the player character to learn a new skill? That must be decided by the game-master.  My rule as a Game-master is the time will depend on the actions of the player’s character. If they say they are going to go ashore for a week and practice spear-throwing on the beach for 8 hours every day, then at the end of that week in game time you could have a spear throwing +1 skill and a very sore arm muscles on the player character. If the player character simply  buys a spear and they have the odd practice or instruction mingled into the ongoing adventure, it may take a couple of months of time in the game before I, as game-master say “yes,” you now have a spear-throwing skill +1.

Discovering New Islands

The Game-master may use a storm at sea, the players changing course to avoid a creature or pirates, a broken compass, or a misaligned sextant to guide the player characters off the regular sea trading lanes to the discovery of a new island not on any maps. The chance to explore is a strong draw to the game. It can allow the game-master to add a feature to the game that they want but that is not found on other islands already. All the game-master needs to remember is that in general planet Archipelago is a class “M” planet with general vegetation not to dissimilar from Earth when seen from a distance, an understanding of which climate zone the “discovered island will be in. A copy of the unique plants and animals already known on the planet, an idea of what they want to add on the island, a map of the island and some imagination.  Then the game-master can enjoy watching the player characters make discoveries. It is best for the game-master to draw out a map of their island in advance. If they don’t feel they can draw an island they can go to the website; https://azgaar.github.io/Fantasy-Map-Generator/  this can generate random maps for those who have no drawing skills. This site can make a physical features map or any of several other types of maps including bump maps that can be used to tell a program like unity how to generate a 3D model of an island.  A new island may have one or more of the following waiting for the player characters to come ashore.

  1. Ancient Duarf ruins

  2. Living Duarf. Either hostile or friendly

  3. Living Oric always hungry and hostile.

  4. Living humans who are the descendants of a shipwreck decades ago.

  5. Strange creatures not found on any other island.

  6. Ruins of a failed, lost and forgotten human settlement.

  7. Lost and forgotten remnants of the first human colonists.

  8. Most anything the game-master wants to add that fits with their version of planet Archipelago.

Weather-lore, The Skill:

Why should my player character have weather-lore as a skill?  If your player has this skill, they can combine the skill level with their intelligence to forecast not only what type of weather the group of player characters may have in the near future but a successful roll can also give them an idea of how to prepare for the coming weather. A player character may make a weather-lore roll no more than once every 24 hours. The Game-master rolls or determines what type of weather is probable based on climate and season of the year as outlined in the basic rules. If the player makes a successful weather-lore check for their player character by rolling lower than their combined intelligence and skill level on a 20-D. The game-master will roll to determine what the chance is the forecast will be accurate. The game-master then tells the player character who made the successful role their weather forecast. The Game-master may also provide suggestions of how to prepare for the forecast. The game-master need not say if the forecast is accurate or not. Even the most skilled weather-lore specialist has a chance of being wrong. The successful roll means the Game-master can’t have the wind rip the sails from your ship, or the players all freeze to death with a sudden cold snap. Without some warning if the weather-lore roll was successful and the percentage roll reliable. Thus, giving the player characters a chance to lower or reef the sails, build a fire or buy warm clothing. If the player character’s weather-lore roll forecast the risk of high wind ripping the sails and the player characters decide to keep full sail anyway; then the wind can damage their sails because they ignored the forecast. There is with each forecast the possibility that the forecasted bad weather may not happen. If the percentage roll is such that the forecast is wrong, then the Game master need not tell the player character exactly what the weather will be until it happens. It could be either better or worse than the forecast.

Die Roll

Outcome

Die Roll = to

50% reliable weather forecast for next 6 hours.

-1 below

75% reliable weather forecast for next 12 hours.

-2 below

85% reliable weather forecast for next 18 hours.

-3 below

95% reliable weather forecast for next 24 hours.

-4 below

95% reliable weather forecast for next 36 hours.

-5 below

95% reliable weather forecast for next 48 hours.

-6 below or greater

95% reliable weather forecast for next 72 hours.

No weather-lore forecast is possible more than 72 hours into the future.

Just a Little Rain: The addition of a sudden rainstorm can turn a difficult mountainside climb to explore an island into a deadly adventure with multiple dexterity rolls against slipping on wet moss and rocks. Plus dexterity saving rolls to grab onto something solid to prevent a last minute plunge to the player character's death hundreds of feet below. The sudden rain storm might also bring down a land slide destroying the trail and forcing the player characters to backtrack and try to return to their ship via a different route. A route not yet explored. Or perhaps the rains creates a waterfall that blocks the player characters route, forcing them to wait with the risk of running out of supplies. The  "When Nature Attacks" supplement or the new pending "Game-Master's Guide paperback give some of the possible ways a game-master may use weather and nature as a parry against the skills and intelligence of the player's characters. Requiring the player characters to go where they didn't plan to go and perhaps to take longer than they planed. A simple day hike to "check out" something they think they see on an island mountainside a quarter mile away, can turn into a multi-day adventure.

Thief as a skill

If either a player character (PC) or a non-player character (NPC) has the skill of “thief” the following information is for the game-master on how the skill may be used. Because a thief has to be both sneaky and have a good dexterity, the thief skill can be added to the dexterity value of the character who has it to see if they can pinch something without making noise or dropping something. The skill may also be added as a penalty to the intelligence roll of the town guard, night watchman, or the guard of a specific location to see if they see the thief sneaking about in the dark. The watchman or guard can make an intelligence roll with the thief character’s thief skill level as a penalty. If they pass the roll, they see the thief and can call out, attack or take such action as necessary. If they fail the roll, they don’t notice the thief in the shadows. If there are two guards together then both may make separate intelligence rolls one may notice the thief even if the other didn’t.

So, for example the players ship is tied up at a town dock with two guards on deck during the night. A thief NPC decides to try and lift some valuables from the player characters ship. Each of the two guards may make an intelligence roll with the NPC’s thief skill as a penalty. Let’s say they fail. That means the thief has crept onboard from the dock without having been seen. The thief heads for the captain’s cabin where most ships keep valuables. The captain is asleep now the thief must make a dexterity roll with their thief skill added as a bonus to their own dexterity. If they fail, they make noise and the captain awakens. If they pass the captain sleeps on as they steal something. The Thief skill in not a recognize value skill so if the thief, looking about in the dark cabin, doesn’t have recognize value, they may steal something of little value to fence. The game-master can decide what the chance is of grabbing a pouch with creature’s teeth being saved to make a necklace over grapping a pouch with pearls in the dark. As the thief exits the captain’s cabin to leave the ship the two guards get another intelligence roll with the same penalty as before, to see if they notice the moving shadow trying to leave the ship. If either makes their roll, they see the thief and can take action to stop the thief’s escape. If they both fail the roll a second time, the thief NPC makes good their escape.

The Thief skill is not a climbing skill so if a thief wants to use rooftops, they had better also have climbing skill.

Being a thief either as an NPC or as a player character should not be easy, it simply needs to be possible. The successful burgle of the ship in the example above required 5 die rolls, all of which had to go in the thief’s favor to make the caper a success. Possible, but not a piece of cake.

Mining and Geology as Skills.

Any Player character may buy a pan and try and wash gold from the gravel, dirt and sand along a stream. However, without a mining or geology skill they will have to make a successful recognize value roll or an intelligence roll with a +4 penalty to not confuse fool’s gold for the real gold that might be there. With no skill in mining 60% of any gold present will become lost and not recoverable due to the inexperienced player character’s lack of skill.

Mining +1 gives the PC (player character) the ability to placer mine using a pan and shovel to wash lose alluvial gold out of the surrounding gravel, dirt, and sand along a stream. It gives the PC the ability to recognize gold dust and nuggets in its natural setting without a recognize value roll. At this skill level only 30% of gold dust becomes lost and will not be recovered.

Mining +2 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, pick and shovel. Each hardrock mining skill can remove 1,500 pounds of stone or 3 cubic feet of stone per mining skill level in an 9-hour workday with hand tools. Plus, placer mining with only 20% of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +2 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, pick and shovel plus placer mining with either pan or sluice rocker. With only 10% of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +3 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel plus placer mining with only 5% of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +4 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel. It also includes the ability to shore up with timber lose rock in a mine with 20% chance of cave-in failure. Plus, placer mining with only 2% of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +5 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel. It also includes the ability to shore up with timber lose rock in a mine with 10% chance of cave-in failure. Plus, placer mining with only 1% of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +5 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel. It also includes the ability to shore up with timber lose rock in a mine with 5% chance of cave-in failure. Plus, placer mining with none of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +6 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel. It also includes the ability to shore up with timber lose rock in a mine with 2% chance of cave-in failure. Plus, placer mining with none of the gold present becoming lost.

Mining +7 gives the PC the ability to do hard rock mining with hammer, drill, explosives, pick and shovel. It also includes the ability to shore up with timber lose rock in a mine with 1% chance of cave-in failure. Plus, placer mining with none of the gold present becoming lost.

 

Geology as a skill; gives the PC (player character) the ability to recognize common types of rock such as, Limestone, Sandstone, Marble, and Granite.  With their comparative strength for use as building stone. Plus, it also gives two different types of mineral/stone per skill level recognition in the natural environment. Each PC who has geology as a skill should pick two minerals for each skill level from the list below that they could recognize in the mineral’s natural setting during game play.

A player character who comes across a stone or mineral they don’t know, based on their skill level knowledge, may make an intelligence roll with their geology skill as a bonus to “guess” at what they think the mineral is, but the game-master need not tell them if their guess is correct or not.

Gold ore, Silver ore, Copper ore, Tin ore, Lead ore, Iron ore, Lodestone ore, Zinc ore, Mercury, Platinum ore, Raw Diamond, Raw Ruby, Raw Emerald, Raw Jade, Raw opal, Raw Musgravite, Raw Sapphire, Soapstone, Raw Bloodstone, Raw Cardun Heart, Rock Salt, and Flint/obsidian.

Interrogation as a skill:

In the game Planet Archipelago, there may be times when either an NPC (non-player character) or a PC (player Character) may need to question another NPC or PC. This may be because they have been captured, as part of a court trial due to allegations of a crime, to learn the location of a hidden item, perhaps an interview about a job or to just find out about the current situation the player characters find themselves in. If the character asking the questions that need answers, has interrogation as a skill; their skill level is added to the intelligence die roll of the character being questioned as a penalty. If the character being questioned fails their intelligence roll, with this penalty added to the number rolled on a 20-D then they “spill the beans” and say things that they will regret saying. Or they give up information the character doing the interrogating wanted to know. If they pass the intelligence roll even with the penalty, they resist the questions, keep their cool and say nothing that can be used against them or that would help the character doing the questioning.

The skill of interrogation is not a torture skill. It is a skill of asking multiple subtle questions inter-mingled with conversation and thinking about the answers being given. The interrogator is wanting to discern the truth as a reality from the answers and statements of the character being questioned. The Interrogation skill can be added to the intelligence level of the character asking the questions as a bonus on a die roll with a 20-D to determine if what they have been told is A. the truth, B. a complete lie, or C. a deliberated clouding and shading of the truth to hide or leave out some of the facts. The Game-master will tell the player who controls the character which of these choices their player character has learned.

If The character asking the questions has either diplomacy, flirtation, or seduction as a skill as well as interrogation. Then the highest of those skill levels is added to the 20-D intelligence die roll of the character being questions as a penalty. If they fail, they don’t even know that they are being interrogated. They think this is just a friendly conversation between friends. Unguarded they will “spill the beans” and the interrogator will learn everything they want to know.  As the person spilling the beans believes the facts to be.

Game-master it is possible that an NPC or PC may believe something to be true which is of course not true. If they spill the beans, they will share what they believe to be true.  They can’t reveal facts they don’t know, and they will not reveal facts which are true but which they believe to be false.

How to become Baron or King of your own Island.
Aka, what leadership as a skill does:

There are two things that are needed. First, an island and then second you need followers.  
There are two ways to get an island. First explore and try and find an undiscovered island that you can colonize. Second you would have to take over the government on an existing populated island.

Discovering an island: First undiscovered islands are available for the game-master to buy if they wish or they may use the basic game rules to design their own island. These islands are then placed in areas of the map not traveled as shown in the shipping lanes on the games island area maps. Once an island is found the player character may look for colonist who will follow him to the island. These colonists may be other player characters, game-master controlled NPC or new characters created by the player and worked into the game by the game-master. The basic rules also outline the pay scales for hiring employees to live on the island and work for you (the player). Employees must be paid either from business profits or found treasure. Colonists are not employees, but they are often enticed to come with you to your new island by offering them land they can own for themselves on the island you have found. Tenant farmers who rent land from a landlord are good candidates and the games-master should give a -1 per acre you offer them, as a bonus on their morale role to go with you to a new island. Note: Great caution should be exercised on any new island often this is where new and unexpected creatures might be found.

Overthrowing a government: Overthrowing a government takes time, effort and a lot of money. It is easier if the government to be overthrown is corrupt, wicked, or offensive to the local population. Options include: Marry a son or daughter inline to succeed to the leadership of the island. This is almost the only option for an island with a long standing dynastic family leadership structure; Live in the hills and start a guerrilla war against the government; Live on the island and become popular as generous, kind, and wise; then manufacture an island crisis which only your leadership can fix; Invade the island with an army; or bribe government officials to support you for new leadership. The game-master can work out the details as you game play your attempts.

The Second item is followers: Being a king over three people is more the subject of a joke but being a leader over hundreds or thousands is fun.

Leadership as a skill: The ability to attract followers or to get others to respect you and do as you ask or say. (Other player characters or NPC may need to make a die roll against their intelligence and/or morale to follow) under these advanced rules there are different types of followers. The player who wants to have one of their characters become the leader of an island should create a character with leadership as one of their primary four skills the roll on a six sided die as outlined in the basic rules to determine what level of leadership that player character has to start with and the material below will guide the game-master and player as they build a following. Either the player created character, or the game-master created NPC can become a follower on the chart below. The Player may challenge any game-master created character (NPC) with a minimum of three matching skills to the player’s characters skills to make a morale check to see if the NPC has enough in common with the player character to want to follow them. As either a paid employee or an unpaid follower. The player may also create up to a dozen extra characters that can become followers of the character with leadership using the rules below.

Types of followers:

A paid servant/employee: This person is loyal because you pay them an average or above average wage on time. They will need to make a morale check of you ask them to do anything illegal (revolt against the local government or immoral (murder, steal etc.) If you are not paying them fairly and on time, they have no loyalty to you and the Game-master may have them betray you. If you pay them well and on time after a year (game-time) of employment they will move up to the next level or type of follower. Each time you double a servants or employee’s pay you add a -1 to any morale roll they may be required to make. If they are to ever move up a level each minus becomes a plus on the moral roll to go up a level from servant/employee to follower. The non-combat death, caused as the direct result of the player character with leadership orders or commands, of even one employee will cause all others to make a morale check to continue employment.  Combat employees will accept up to 10% causalities per event before a morale check is needed for quitting your employment. They can be bribed if they make a moral role with a +1 on the roll for every 1,000 gold florins in the size of the bribe

Follower: This person will do a few unpaid favors for you from time to time they will still need to make a morale check if you ask them to do anything illegal or immoral. This person will accept a gift as “thank you” for something they have done for you. They can be bribed if they make a moral role with a +1 on the roll for every 1,000 gold florins in the size of the bribe. Two followers may die in non-combat as a result of your leadership before they question your leadership and make a required morale check

Friend: This person trusts you and any moral check will have a -1 on the die roll. This person if they have leadership is willing to have their followers support you. Offering this person money will demote them a level on this chart. They can only be bribed if they make a morale role 4 points over their morale. Making/passing the moral roll means they not only reject the bribe, they will report it to you (player character) Tree followers may die in non-combat as a result of your leadership before they question your leadership and make a required morale check.

Fan: these people will encourage others to support you. They will donate small amounts of money to your leadership (the amount is determined by the Game-master) they have a -2 on any morale check die roll. If asked to do something illegal or immoral for you. They can be bribed only if they make a morale role 6 points over their morale. Four followers may die in non-combat as a result of your leadership before they question your leadership and make a required morale check

Supporters: have a -3 on any morale check for doing what you ask them to do. They will insist that their own followers follow you and support your efforts. They will donate up to 15% of their income to your cause. They can only be bribed if they make a morale role that is 8 points over their morale. Five followers may die in non-combat as a result of your leadership before they question your leadership and make a required moral check

Devotees: These people have a religious like conviction of your goodness and will do anything you ask without a morale check. They cannot be bribed. At this point they are no longer Non-Player Characters, but you have total control over them. Three dozen followers may die in non-combat as a result of your leadership before they question your leadership and make a required morale check. Only the most outrageous public misbehavior will shake the spell of your leadership. If you behave in such a way that the Game-master insists that this class/level of follower make a morale check, and if they fail that morale check they will revert to a NPC under the game-master’s control and they will become committed enemies having felt betrayed by you (player character).

Each player with leadership as a skill may have the following numbers of followers on the chart above:

Skill level 1, a total of 2 followers below the level of fan; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 2, a total of 4 followers below the level of fan; unlimited paid employees.  

Skill level 3, 8 followers below the level of fan; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 4, 16 followers below the level of fan, unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 5, 32 followers with not more than 20% in the fan level, unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 6, 64 followers with not more than 20% at the fan level and 10% at the supporter level; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 7,128 followers with not more than 20% at the supporter level; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 8, 256 followers with not more than 25% at the supporter level, unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 9, 512 followers with not more than 30% at the supporter level and 5% at the devotee level; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 10,1024 followers, with not more than 10% at the devotee level; unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 11, 2500 followers with not more than 15% at the devotee level, unlimited paid employees. 

Skill level 12, 5000 followers with not more than 20% at the devotee level, unlimited paid employees.  

Skill Level 13+, 10,000 or more direct followers of which an unlimited numbers may be at the devotee level, unlimited paid employees. 

Player characters may increase in leadership skill levels past their starting point only with the agreement of the game-master that they, (their game character has displayed leadership in the game. No player may increase more than one skill point per year of game time (Not real time). Military ranks and followers specified in the rules for specific NPC are not subject to the limitations given above since a military leader need not have any real leadership skill to be assigned followers by the military in which they serve.

Sending Messages

Long Distance signaling on Planet Archipelago. There are two established ways to signal over a large distance on Planet Archipelago. The first is used at sea only and are Signal Flags. Most marine mercantile shops will sell a set of marine signal flags for about 5 gold florins. Each flag represents a word and a letter, so a message made of signal flags run up on a rope line allows ships too far away to speak and hear to still communicate with each other. By sending up one or two flags to represent words or to spell out a word as needed. Any sailor with a sailing skill of +3 or higher will know the signals.

In Addition, The Falcon Empire and other larger governments with navies have private codes assigned to certain flag groups of two or three that don’t spell a word but send a secret message between captains of ships in the same navy. These flag combinations may be memorized and only known to the captain of the ship or they might be written in the captain’s official ship’s log, if the captain has a poor memory. Logbooks are locked in a chest in the captain’s cabin.

The second method may be used either on land between field commanders or between ship and shore or between two ships. This is a semaphore alphabet that allows messages to be spelled out and seen from a distance. If a farsee is used this distance might be considerable. Any player character with Spy +3 or higher, Tactics +3 or higher or Scout +3 or higher will have learned this method of signaling. This system uses two flags to make the positions easier to see from a distance.  Of course, militaries use secret nonsense words as a coded message since an enemy may see the signals being sent. But they would not know what the nonsense words meant. Open messages that are not military in nature may be seen by anyone within sight of the person sending the message. Most of these messages are still a little cryptic since, to save time, some words are dropped out or abbreviated like a modern text message on Earth. This saves time in sending the message.

The Falcon Empire has started building Semaphore towers with large mechanical arms to send coded messages over even greater distances within the empire. With the addition of a farsee these large signal arms at the top of a tower manned by light infantry troops can send a message across many miles in just a few minutes.

Encounters with Other Ships and other Human relations: Meeting another ship at sea is always a moment of stress. Will it be another friendly ship with whom you can exchange news, or a pirate or almost just as bad a warship in the employ of some island Baron. There are many times on Archipelago when others humans are just or even more dangerous than any alien creature or culture.

Pirates and Mutiny:  While isolated individual ships may turn pirate once, as a solution to a temporary financial crisis, there is also the banding together of pirate ships into groups which supports each other in their crimes, for mutual defense against the authorities or to support a political cause. The three largest groups are the Red Serpent Society, Murphy's Pirates, and the Independent Brotherhood. 
The Red Serpent society sees themselves not as pirates but as freedom fighters. They only attack ships flying the Falcon Empire flag or ships known to their spies, as being Falcon supporters.They are most active in the seas around Isabel isle, Jacob's Isle and Pearl city on the isle of Martha.The Current leader is Sophie whose husband and child were killed in a Falcon raid.It is believed that this organization can field 10 ships for action against the empire.
Murphy's Pirates are a coalition of five pirate captains with their crews. Murphy is now in his 80's and his son has taken his name and ship along with four others, Capt. Abraham, Capt.Williams,Capt. Raphael, and Capt. Joc. they control the waters between South Port and Murphy's isle with Port Murphy a pirate controlled town.They hunt north- south traffic between the Northern Baronies and the islands of the Falcon Empire.
The Independent Brotherhood is a lose coalition of kidnappers, thieves, murderers, pirates and other undesirables they kill each other as much as anyone as they strive to be the "Senior Brother" and leader of criminals and criminal activities on an island. There are elements of this organization on all of the larger islands where money and population allows them to hide in plain sight. 
As game-master you can have a pirate try and infiltrate a player's ship crew with plans to steal the ship, or if the crew are mistreated by the player characters they may make a moral roll to mutiny and turn pirate. You may give your players the option of coming to the aid of another ship that is under attack by pirates. As game-master you should create a NPC pirate ship and crew to have available when an adventure needs one.

Morale

In the game Planet Archipelago

For Game-masters.

Each player character and some NPC will have a morale value as a number between 3 and 15. This number must at time be rolled under using a 20-sided die to determine if the player character has passed their morale roll for some event in the game. Generally. This is because the player as a real person wants to have their player character do something very dangerous or very foolish. At which you as game-master may challenge them to a morale roll. If they fail the roll, it means the player character thought about doing what their player wanted them to do, but then decided not to. This is designed to limit the players “total” control over the player character. In truth this isn’t needed very often so many players when creating a player character will give the morale the lowest die value rolled. Since morale is a numeric value of the player characters bravery and self esteem this is not always wise. Morale may also be influenced by the morale of a leader in the game setting so that an NPC or Player character with leadership skill can increase or even decrease the morale of followers when they are together. This is important if fighting against either humans, aliens or alien creatures takes place. If the player character has too low of a morale you as game-master may challenge them to make a morale roll at the start of a battle or even in the middle of the battle. With the player character bolting in fear away from the fighting if they fail the roll. Wounds especially to the head can reduce the morale value until the wound heals. Some illness may reduce the morale value until the illness is cured. And some situations may reduce the morale value until resolved. For example, being alone at sea in a rowboat with little or no food and water possibly the only survivor of a shipwreck would cause the morale value to drop as loneness and depression sets in. The following gives a more detailed general guild to how to interpret the meaning of a given morale number beyond its use as an indicator of bravery:

The Morale value                                                           Player character behavior.

14-15; the character is unrealistically optimistic about everything, a little rash and maybe to impetuous.

12-13; the character is cheerful almost to the point of being irritating.

10-11; the character is an optimist mostly always positive 95% of the time.

6-9; the character is mostly normal with days of both cheerfulness and some days less so.

4-5; the character is pessimistic about situations, murmuring and complaining a lot, but still trying.

2-3; the character is sad almost to the point of depression activity is interrupted by periods of inactivity.

0-1; the character is in deep depression. They will lay helpless unwilling to seek for or help themselves. Having a morale value reduced to “0” by game events will not kill a player character but it will render them so depressed and negative they will be unwilling to help themselves, So that to continue to live they must be helped by their friends or they will lay down and slowly die.

Stealth as a skill: The ability to both move and hold still while remaining undetected by others. The skill is often found in hunters, and burglars/thieves. The skill level is used as a penalty added to the intelligence roll of a lookout, watchman or scout for spotting a threat. It can be useful in making an ambush so that a point man/scout doesn’t spot the ambush in advance. The skill levels also determines how fast a person using stealth can move closer to a target and remain undetected by the target.  A watchman or lookout with surveillance may add surveillance to the intelligence roll to spot a stealthy opponent.

  Skill Level    Movement in feet per game turn while remaining concealed.

 +1                    0.5 foot per game turn.

 +2                    1 foot per game turn.

 +3                    3 feet per game turn.

 +4                    5 feet per game turn.

 +5                    7 feet per game turn.

 +6                    9 feet per game turn. 

 +7 or greater     Continue to add two feet per higher skill level.

The Fear Factor & Morale

Since some players will not feel any fear about the life or wellbeing of their player character, it may be necessary for the game-master to use the following morale roll as a way to introduce fear to the player characters in a given setting. The Game-master should have the players roll on their character’s morale value and the game-master can then tell them the results of the roll. In reality emotional stress and the psychology of fear in a strange setting can manifest in very real ways. This is an attempt to allow the game-master to introduce these elements in those situations where there should be some fear felt by the players’ characters. The chart begins with a successful roll by 3 or more points. This situation of fear also leads to the possibility that a real threat to the characters may be ignored in the mistaken belief that the character who is seeing it is in fact only imagining it.

Die roll                                                                                         Effects of the die roll

3 or more under needed morale points          Character is nervous but okay with the situation and current leadership. They can                                                                                     continue without too much concern.

2 under                                                              Character is nervous with some concern but okay as long as they are confident in                                                                                       current leadership.

1 under                                                              Character is acting brave, but worried.  Additional morale rolls required if others                                                                                       display open fear by word or action.  

Roll = to                                                            Character is acting brave but will need to make additional morale rolls with +1                                                                                          penalty if situation deteriorates.

Roll missed by 1                                               Character finds their jaws clenching in nervous fear, teeth will chatter if not clenched.                                                                               Muscles begin to ache, Goosebumps on skin air feels cold. (regardless of real                                                                                           temperature)

Roll missed by 2                                               Character finds themselves jumpy and nervous and the actions and sounds of other                                                                                  player characters they can’t see. Frequently asks “what was that?”  becomes irritable                                                                              at others.

Roll missed by 3                                               Character finds themselves jumpy and nervous. They hear sound of growling, footfall,                                                                              creaks, groans, not made by other player characters (they are not real sounds, but                                                                                    sounds created by their nervous imagination)

Roll missed by 4                                               Character finds themselves jumpy and on edge. Any intelligence rolls have a +2-                                                                                      penalty due to stress with trouble in focusing thoughts. They also hear sounds.

Roll missed by 5                                               Character believes they see movements in the shadows or other visual stress induced                                                                             hallucinations. They may mistake another player character in the darkness for                                                                                           something else.  Intelligence roll with +2 penalty against friendly fire mistake.

Roll missed by 6                                               Character has Stress induced hallucinations seeing and hearing things that are not                                                                                    there, using their weapons to attack the imaginary foe. (game-master should tell                                                                                      player what their charters sees as if it was real)

Roll missed by 7 or more                                Character becomes frozen in fright their muscles unmoving, their gaze fixed and                                                                                       unseeing of their companions. Stress trance can be broken by a slap on the face or a                                                                               minor injury up to 3 points. In this state a serious wound will result in the character                                                                                   bolting and fleeing in total fear in any direction away from what they fear. (this fleeing                                                                             will not be a logical retreat back the way they came to a real safe place.)

Climbing as a skill: This character skill may also be used by a game-master to rate the difficulty of a climb as well as the needed skill to make the climb safely. Climbing as a skill is common with sailors, burglars, and hunters. Generally, a climb that is made slippery by rainwater, moss, lose sand, rocks, ice, oil, or other slippery substances will be rated a minimum of one skill higher than it would be if dry. It is the game-master’s final choice how much more dangerous it is due to the slippery nature of the climb. Any character may attempt a climb and their climbing speed is one foot per strength point up to one third their strength points. Those without the skill or the proper skill level have a greater chance of failure, injury or even death.  All characters may make a single “saving” roll on their dexterity in the event of a fall due to a failure of the climbing +dexterity roll.  Those with a climbing skill level +2 or higher may make an extra dexterity roll in addition to the basic “save” dexterity roll in their effort to stop a fall and prevent injury or death.  Climbing hand over hand up a rope on a cliff face requires character strength. This means if the character is climbing up a cliff face at 3 feet per game turn a character with a strength of 10 could climb a 30-foot cliff and reach the top physically exhausted and tired but safe. A character with a strength of 8 could climb up 24 feet at which point their muscles would start to convulse and tremor with fatigue. They would be unable to climb the rest of the way and if not pulled up, they would “freeze” clinging to the rope too physically exhausted to climb any higher. They could try to descend or after a number of game turns equal to half their strength points, they would fall with muscles too exhausted to even continue their death grip on the rope. So, Strength limits how high a character can climb in a single session without a rest break. Rope stirrups or a rock ledge may provide such a break.

Skill Level                    Results of Skill Level- type of object being climbed.

+1                          Hiking a steep incline, scrambling, maybe using your hands. Climbing trees, rope ladders. Speed 2 feet per game turn                                  faster than those with no skill in climbing.

+2                         Climbing a steeper hillside, boulders, a sloped roof, fair weather ship rigging. Hands are used in climbing. If a fall

                              occurs it may be short due to extra dexterity roll over what those without a skill are allowed by game-master to catch                                   yourself. Speed 3 feet per game turn faster than those with no skill. No skill penalty +2 on dexterity roll.

+3                       Ropes recommended as safety belay, Bad weather ship rigging, cliff, or wall angles steeper than 45 degrees. If a fall                                     occurs there is an extra dexterity roll to catch yourself. Speed 4 feet per game turn faster than those with no skill. No skill                              penalty +3 on dexterity roll.

+4                      Rope required due to steepness or lack of handholds. Cliff, or wall angles steeper than 65 degrees. Speed 5 feet per                                    game turn faster than those with no skill. No skill penalty +4 on dexterity roll. Climb not advised for those with a strength                              less than 7.

+5                    Near vertical cliff or wall with few/limited handholds Speed 3 feet per game turn. No skill penalty +6 on dexterity roll.                                    Climb not advised for those with a strength less than 8.

+6                    Vertical cliff or wall with few/limited handholds Total speed 3 feet per game turn. No skill penalty +8 on dexterity roll.                                    Climb not advised for those with a strength less than 9.

+7                   Vertical cliff or wall with overhangs. Only one or two hand holds. Total speed 3 feet per game turn. No skill penalty +10 on                           dexterity roll. Climb not advised for those with a strength less than 10.

+8                  Vertical cliff or wall with overhangs and no hand or foot holds. ropes and pitons must be used to prevent failure. Maximum                           speed 2 feet per game turn. The no skill penalty +12 on the dexterity roll. Climb not advised for those with a strength less                             than 12.

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