The mainstay of the campaign is the realm of the Dark Kamelot world of chivalry, knights, Celtic Druidism, and the like. Most players will probably wish to play Knights and Damosels or occultists and the like (please note that women may be Knights in this world). However, your character can come from any country or culture (American, Polish, Chinese, French, Japanese, Swahili, Tcho-Tcho, or whatever). You can be any race (black, white, asian, australian aboriginal, whatever), follow any religion (Christian, Taoist, Shintoist, Islamic, Satanist, Agnostic, Atheist, Dionysian, Erisian, whatever), have any profession (soldier, doctor, lawyer, teacher, prostitute, actor, rich dilettante, diplomat, singer, construction worker, bounty hunter, porn star, detective, reporter, priest, whatever), be whoever you want to be. You can have psionics, martial arts, magical spells, whatever you want - just have a good reason for having the stuff and note your Unusual Background when appropriate.
Since your adventures will take you all over the globe, I would suggest that you choose a profession which allows extended travel - most of you will choose professions associated with the Court but you may also choose other professions in addition to your Courtly responsibilities (journalist, teacher, researcher, millionaire playboy, something like that). If in doubt, ask for assistance or let the Directors set things for you. Do note that Knight is more a status of rank rather than an active profession so anyone who chooses to be a Knight should also have a backup profession. The duties of Knighthood come in addition to other responsibilities. Scenarios may require both combat (or magick) and research skills - albeit there's more mystery solving than bullet throwin' - so build characters who are versatile (Bruce Wayne, Batman, does research and fights so he'd be a good character as would an Indiana Jones type, but Rambo wouldn't be able to figure out where the bad guys are so he could find them and fight them so all his combat skills would go to waste). Of course, if you really would prefer to build a one dimensional character, go right ahead. Just make sure there's at least one other person in the group who has skills that can compliment yours (Bruno the Boxer is very good at fighting but has neither much brains nor an academic background so he hangs out with and protects Phelix the Professor who can't fend for himself in fisticuffs but is a wizard at figuring out clues).
Some good character types would be Knight Errant, Bard, Druid Priest, Detective, Investigator, Newspaper Reporter, Professor, Occultists, Psychologist, Squire, FBI Agent, Retired Military Specialist, Amerindian Shaman, Little Old Lady, whatever, or any interesting combinations thereof. Think Knightriders meets Cthulhu meets Chill meets Exalibur meets Highlander meets Night Stalker meets Pendragon meets the X Files meets Sliders meets Something Wicked This Way Comes. The feel I'll be going for is the Lovecraftian formula of regular folks caught up investigating something beyond their ken only to find themselves face to face with unspeakable horror and learning arcane arts to battle it.
This will be a cross-genre cross-dimensional campaign but the beginnings will be pretty much straightforward action-mystery-horror-pulp stuff.
Knight characters have additional rules described in this write-up. Bards may also have Bardic Immunity if they are registered with the Guild. If you are interested in running a Druid character, please let me know as I'm working on a section on their importance in Dark Kamelot. I'll eventually put a general introductory overview in this write-up but I'm not about to repeat work that's already very well done.
If you have questions, ask me. If there's some flavor you'd like to see in the game, be sure to let me know that too as it's not just the Director's game, it belongs to the players as well.
[NOTE - in no case here do I go into the actual system any more than I
have to. This is an adaptation of the excellent OTE system produced by Atlas Games.
Go through what is here, and let me worry about the numbers. If you want more, then please feel free to purchase their excellent Players
Survival Guide .]
Material from Over the Edge is Copyright 1992, 1997; John A. Nephew.
Your Character Includes
Note that there are certain traits and flaws that come with your type (as chosen above). These are assigned by the Director in addition to the ones you create here.
or what you are)
Traits and signs: one CENTRAL
TRAIT and two SIDE TRAITS, one of the
preceding three traits is your SUPERIOR TRAIT (Special Ability);
one FLAW (Special Disadvantage), a SIGN for
each trait (including the flaw).
Determine hit points (leave that to the Director)
One die in your experience pool (Director will explain later)
Motivation (why you do what you do)
Secret (the thing you don't want others to know)
Important person in your past (someone who
affected your life)
DRAWING (draw your
character - at least a rough sketch - or have an image that inspires you)
Name, background, equipment, finances, etc.
THE CUTUP METHOD
If you have problems coming up with a character concept,
try the random CUTUP METHOD.
INFORMATION AND ADVICE ON CHARACTER CREATION
A note to power gamers
Advice to players
First, get an idea of the character you will portray. Have a
good idea of who you want to be before you start any details.
For ideas as to what type of character to play, look everywhere:
modern day movies, pseudocyber books, supermarket tabloids, childhood daydreams,
other role-playing games, advertisement illustrations, New Age Philosophy,
and your own twisted imaginings.
(this a list - you don't have to pick one)
Former drug runner
Incarnation of Atlantean high priest
Creature of goodness from a higher plane
Creature of badness from a lower plane
Professor on sabbatical
Product of genetic experimentation
Charlatan religious leader
New Age dupe
Master of New Age wisdom
Defense Department research scientist
Expatriate Russian scientist
Avante garde musician
Demon-possessed punk rocker
Talking Irish cat
You have one central trait, essentially your identity - who you are
and what you do. This trait can take into account a variety of aptitudes,
skills, or characteristics. When you, as a player, describe your
character, you are likely to use this trait as the central concept.
For example "I'm a model," or "I'm a former secret agent." If you
want to be something weird, this trait must cover that identity.
Look at the Example Central Traits for the kind of identities that you
central trait can cover. Keep in mind that this list is not something
from which you must choose, but merely a series of examples to show you
how to invent your own central trait.
Once you have your central, identifying trait chosen, choose two side
traits. They may or may not be related to your central trait.
Unlike the central trait, side traits are very specific, representing discrete
characteristics or skills.
Just because a trait is your "side trait" does not mean that it is insignificant
to your character. For example, a professor with the side trait of
"hack writing" might be on Al Amarja to pursue her writing career, and
her attempts to gain inspiration for her fiction may be more important
in play than her teaching career. Indeed, she may be better at writing
Acute sense of smell
Do two things at once
Foiling security systems
Tells good jokes
This is the trait you like most, or think is most central to your character.
Note that there is no relation between your "central" trait and your "superior"
trait. The central trait is the trait that basically defines the
character, and the superior trait is what the character is best at.
For example, imagine for a moment a demon-possessed punk rocker.
The character's central trait would be "Punk Rocker". However, the
more important aspect of the character for a given player might be the
side trait "demonic taint". Thus the side trait would be superior,
and the central trait not.
Alternatively, this may be your SPECIAL ABILITY along the lines of special abilities used in other interactive dramas we play. Usually these are limited in use per session (the more powerful the ability, the fewer times you may use it . . . for instance being able to force someone to answer a Yes or No question might be used three times a day while causing someone to become your complete and utter mind slave for twenty minutes might only have one use per day and the ability to cause someone's farts to smell of tulips could have unlimited uses.
Once you have determined your character's first three traits (the central
trait and two side traits), and decided which of those three is your superior
trait, it is time to choose a flaw. A flaw is any disadvantage that
your character will have in play. It must be important enough that
it actually comes into play and makes a difference (being a bad cook just
doesn't cut it). Ideally the flaw should be something directly related
to the central trait or side traits, or to your character's concept, rather
than just a tack-on disadvantage.
Sometimes you can get away with a minor flaw, especially if it fits
your character concept and the traits you've invented are more wimpy than
Be careful not to invent a flaw that ruins
the fun for other players. While its certain that
being obnoxious would count as a flaw for your PC, it is also quite certain
that such a flaw would grate on other players nerves. Other players
are also going to count on your character to pull his or her own weight.
A flaw like "Can't keep a secret" might be good for comic relief, but it
may also keep the other players from having the sort of game they look
forward to. Likewise, the "loner" character concept is almost certain
trouble when playing a character in what is essentially a social pastime.
Think of any play you have ever seen, if the cast included more than one
person, chances are that none of the characters was a loner.
If your PC's flaw (or any other part of your PC) is a pain in the butt,
you take full responsibility for the trouble it causes to the other player.
Saying you are playing "in character" doesn't absolve you, because you
invented the character in the first place.
Flaws may also be the SPECIAL DISADVANTAGES as used in other scenarios. These are weaknesses that go beyond a simple quirk.
Believes in imaginary friend
Hard of hearing
New Age dupe
Prone to reckless violence
Strong body odor
Sucker for a pretty face
For each trait, including your flaw, describe one sign related to it
that others can notice. Use these signs when describing your character.
That way you can tell other players, "I'm a tall, slim man who walks with
a confident gait and wears a strange gold medallion around his neck."
Isn't that better than saying "I'm agile, I come from a wealthy British
family, and I dabble in magic"? Some signs are not always apparent.
They might appear only when you use the trait in question, or only occasionally.
Your signs must be evident in your costume and role play of your character.
Yes, I want one. No, I don't care if you suck as an artist.
I suck as an artist too.
If you really don't want to make the drawing yourself, find a photo, drawing,
etc. that is appropriate, scan it, and send it to me.
This is an image that inspires your character conception.
The Director (me) has final authority on what constitutes "reasonable" but
here are some things that you DON'T get
Other than that, I'll make the final decisions.
Grotesque wealth (if you want to be grotesquely
wealthy, make it a central trait. If you only want to be obscenely
wealthy, make it a side trait)
Weapons (this includes everything from an
A-10 to a survival knife. Al Amarjan C&I is very careful not
to allow people to bring such things onto the island with them).
Ridiculously unbalancing items (examples include
a functioning copy of the Necronomicon, a disk containing the Ultimate
Computer VirusTM, a working cyclotron [or
even a broken one], etc.)
Anything that gives you some major advantage for
free (such as a trained attack dog to give characters without any
combat skills the ability to mulch street thugs)
THE CUTUP METHOD
"Material from Over the Edge is Copyright 1992, 1997
John A. Nephew.
If you are really stuck for a character design,
you can try this method for making one. It relies on the CUTUP (Causally
Unrelated Thoughts Under Pressure) method to give you some raw data that
you then proceed to "make sense out of". Since the data are random,
you face creativity puzzles that you might not produce spontaneously, but
since you have the final say in what the data means, you retain creative
Here's how it works:
Step #1: roll three times on the
catch-words tables to determine random catch words that define your character.
In order to determine which table to roll on, roll a d6 - on a 1-3 make
the roll on Table #1, on a 4-6 roll on Table #2.
Step #2: using these catch-words,
try to develop a concept for your character. If you can, then simply
step back to the character creation section and work out your character
in the normal way. If not, or if you want more creative randomness
in your life, go on to step #3.
Step #3: roll two dice on the Central
Trait chart, and record your central trait. You are free to creatively
interpret these as you wish. Please note that these charts are modified
from those originally presented in Over the Edge. This was
done to make them more readily fit the overall party composition I want.
Step #4: roll twice on the Side Trait
chart and record your Side traits. If you roll the same trait twice,
reroll. Again, you have considerable leeway in interpreting these.
Step #5: Roll once on the Flaw Chart,
and record your flaw.
Step #6: My own addition to the process
in Over the Edge - roll for where you come from. Again, you
have some leeway here.
Now, the obvious statement - yes, absolutely you
can fudge on your die rolls if you get something you don't want.
If you do that, however, I don't see why you are working up a random character
in the first place.
Table #1: Catch-Words (use on
a d6 roll of 1-3)
Table #2: Catch-Words (use
on a d6 roll of 4-6)
Table #3: Central Trait
- Paranormal investigator, fringe scientist, fanatic cultist, were creature,
- Industrial, government, or secret society spy; ninja, assassin, front-man,
- Private investigator, investigative reporter, NATO observer, etc.
- Author, painter, singer, dancer, poet, sculptor, etc.
- Professor, doctor, business executive, investment broker, salesman, etc.
- Dilettante, vacationing laborer, etc.
- scam artist, cat burglar, serial killer, drug runner, leg-breaker, etc.
- Bodyguard, underworld thug, soldier, professional boxer or wrestler,
- psychologist, nutritionist, physicist, wildlife biologist, etc.
- Monk, nun, priest, witch doctor, spiritual healer, cult leader, etc.
- Mutant, psychic, alien, android, talking irish cat, loa of Barney, etc.
Table #4: Side Traits
||Fringe Power - telepathy,
automatic writing, ch'i, etc.
||Tough - pretty self-explanatory,
don't you think?
||Stealthy - good at sneaking
||Agile - good reflexes, fast,
||Performance - singing, dancing,
||Fighting - sword fighting,
brawling, scrap fighter, kung-fu, etc.
||Manipulation - Lying, buffaloing,
intimidating, browbeating, bluffing, etc.
||Technical - Electronics,
mechanics, computer programming, etc.
||Strong-willed - resistant
to mundane and paranormal influences
||Strong - pretty self-explanatory,
don't you think?
||Specialist - some unusual
field of knowledge, such as Persian history, government cover-ups, etc.
Table #5: Flaws
||Enemies - choose enemies
that fit your character's other traits
||Mental flaw - one-track
mind, gambling compulsion, depression, schizophrenia, etc.
||Social flaw - body odor,
hideous features, outspoken and inflexible beliefs, uncontrollable gas,
||Achilles heel- sucker for
a pretty face, bum leg, vulnerable to magic, etc.
||Physical flaw - Overweight,
weak, clumsy, low stamina, amputee, etc.
||Weird - allergic to sunlight,
eats rust, glows, etc.
TABLE #6: Where You're
Unusual - Iceland, Madagascar, New Guinea, etc.
Mediterranean - Greece, Sicily, Malta, etc.
Far East - China, Japan, Korea, etc.
WARNING TO POWER GAMERS
Power gamers out there will no doubt notice that you can pretty easily
create quite a powerful character. Just let me warn you that the
more powerful you are, the deeper you get into trouble before you realize
you are in serious danger.
In addition, a powerful character is seen as a threat or a potential
tool by the various power groups on Al Amarja. Those powerful enough
to attract attention to themselves may find themselves the targets of assassination
attempts, or kidnapping and brainwashing.
If a powerful character is what you want, go for it! Just don't
say you weren't warned.
ADVICE TO PLAYERS
PLAY YOUR CHARACTER WELL
- Play up your unique traits, revealing and withholding secrets the way
a good author does, so that other players know enough to be curious, but
not so much that their curiosity is immediately sated.
KEEP NOTES - The
events on Al Amarja are connected, and the guy who shines your shoes in
October may be the source of a vital clue in January. Keep notes
of what you think is important or you will miss a lot of vital information.
THINK - Since
the rules are loose, the tricks that you, as a player, invent and the actions
you have your character undertake are probably more important than your
character's skills or rolls. Your character is simple, so you can
pay attention to the world your character inhabits and guide your PC accordingly.
- players frequently miss interesting mysteries from not paying attention.
If something seems weird, even if the natives take it for granted, it might
be worth looking into. Don't become jaded by weirdness.
- do you know what they call a friendless person on Al Amarja? "D.O.A.".
It pays to have someone sticking up for you, especially someone who knows
BE CAUTIOUS -
in some games you can keep yourself out of trouble by staying out of the
really dangerous areas. As long as you are on the King's Highway
or the shallowest levels of the Underworld you are not going to run into
powerful enemies. On Al Amarja, however, the guy in the jitney in
front of you could be the world's best assassin. Just because a GMC
is in an adventure doesn't mean that the Director thinks you can take him on
and win. Use your head.
LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER
- if the PC's help each other out, they'll live longer and you'll have
more fun. You can play out your PC's flaws with more gusto if you
know the other PCs are watching out for him.
for all the hype and the murders and the perils to body and soul, Al Amarja
is still a livable place (as proved by the hundreds of thousands of people
who live here). Don't be afraid to kick back, relax, and enjoy yourself.
WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU?
Please write a brief background for your character, explaining who you are and where you come from and the like. You do not need to tell how you meet the other characters or how you join the Order Fianna as all new characters are recruited in game. If you can draw, produce a line drawing of your character, it will help others visualize her/him better (otherwise steal from another source like a comic book or magazine, cut the sucker out, and stick it on your character sheet - those who wish their character write-ups placed on the web page need only let me know and I'll be happy to provide the space)..
Please limit the length of your background descriptions to between 100 and 1000 words (typically 250-300 words) - at least for the version you give the Director (if you want to be more verbose for web or other versions, knock yourself out!). You can be more complete in your personal materials. This is just meant to be a general introduction to the character for the other players. Put anything you think is pertinent in the background but don't go crazy and write a novella.
Of course, those who wish to post to the topics discussion section of the troupe's Facebook group - their game notes as well as character-related stories and more - can consider this an open invitation.
SIR SPYDER MEI-LING CHANG
Incarnation: Sir Safir of Landok
Character Type: Knight
Nationality: U.P.N.A. (formerly of the Chinese Empire on Formosa)
Languages: Chinese (Mandarin, Taiwanese), English
One thing that can be said about Spyder Chang is that she loves her job. She never had the opportunity to work with Rhine or the other ground breaking researchers into the paranormal, but she's read everything they ever wrote, and she's been a "parapsychology groupie" since she was 16 when her family's home in Chiayi, Formosa, was haunted by a poltergeist phenomenon. It was at this time when she was first sent to the U.P.N.A. for schooling. Of course, the Manchu Dynasty soon after sent their pacification fleet to Formosa and she never returned to her war torn homeland.
Spyder always wanted to be a scientist, but discovered early she didn't have the mathematical aptitude for the "hard" sciences. In college she concentrated on sociology and psychology - the "soft" sciences. Through this study, she was further hooked by the lure of parapsychology. She first concentrated on describing and analyzing spontaneous manifestations of paranormal activity - hauntings, forerunners, poltergeists, etc. - and made something of a name for herself in the "fringe" community. But then she found she had a real knack for the experimental side of things.
Not that she has good experimental technique - quite the opposite, in fact. Her grasp of scientific method and good experimental paradigms is shaky enough to bring tears to the eyes of most scientists. She doesn't understand the necessity of control groups and couldn't care less about reproducibility. All she knows is that she gets results. Of course, all the critics of her work point to the glaring flaws in her experimental design and discount all her conclusions.
The thing is, she does get results, and those results do reflect reality. She has recorded real manifestations of paranormal activity. Those fuzzy pictures in her collection are ghosts; the "impossible" runs on the Rhine cards do demonstrate telepathy. Unfortunately, "real" scientists will never believe her.
Spyder has astounding luck in her investigations and seems to have a subliminal, intuitive sense for paranormal skills. She could well be subconsciously telepathic herself, but she'll never believe that: she's an observer - a scientist - not a participant.
Chang has a good grasp of the "trappings" of science: she uses the right tools and the right terms and seems to act like a "real" scientist. Lay people don't see the flaws in her technique and tend to trust even her most outragious conclusions . . . much to the irritation of the traditional scientific community, who would love to see her discredited immediately.
Despite her flaws, Spyder's intellectually honest and is eternally curious about anything she doesn't understand. She's never backed down on investigating something that interests her, no matter what the potential dangers to herself. Her knighthood is based less on real ability than on having been the lover of a now ex-Companion of the Table Round. This little tidbit is a Secret she would rather not got out.
"'I'll believe it when I see it?' Sometimes you have to believe before you see it..."
"Tired already? We've only gone through the Rhine cards 13 times..."
"In the four hours I observed it, it moved a whole centimeter! Absolutely amazing! Psychomicrointeractivity for certain..."
"Swords, what swords? We don't need no steenking swords."
Note that Traits and Flaws are listed with Signs in parenthesis.
- Psychic Impersonation: Having undergone intensive paranormal acting methods, Spyder is able to impersonate other individuals, even those of another gender, race, or body type. In order to do this, she must observe the subject for a period of weeks if not months. She has been taught to emulate another’s gestures, voice timbre, speech patterns, emotional projections, and posture. She can even unconsciously emit the same pheromones as the subject. While a still photo wouldn’t show much of a resemblance to the subject at all, except for the costume, these other cues are astonishingly effective on a face-to-face basis. This is not a fringe power — she has no psychic link to the subject, and knows nothing about him that she hasn’t learned from painstaking study. This trait also includes the ability to make vague, evasive answers seem perfectly natural, so as to avoid blowing one’s cover when confronted with acquaintances of the impersonated individual. May be used twice a day for ten minutes each use. (May look, sound, smell, feel and taste exactly like...you.)
- Parashadowing: Knows how to look inconspicuous while following a subject, and to avoid suspicion while inquiring after him. The secret of successful shadowing is to hide in plain sight - amateurs usually give themselves away by lurking in shadows and trying to avoid being seen by the subject. Spyder's lack of a vivid identity of her own helps her become eminently forgettable. Sometimes she shadows one subject in the guise of another. May use for fifteen minutes three times per day. (Perceptive.)
- Swordmaiden: When Spyder has a sword in her hands, she gains a bonus on any physical combat and two bonuses withing the swordcircle. Always on. (Confident manner and has obvious hobby of sword collecting.)
- Suggestible: Due to her lack of personal identity, Rosamund suffers a penalty on all actions requiring willpower. Any other character's special ability that affects the mind - for good or bad - affects Spyder twice as long or twice as powerfully. (Blank eyes.)
The Coming of the Bear Dogs . . .
She kept screaming his name. Over and over and over again. We tried everything we could to stop her but her grief was just too great. That baby was her entire life.
Lady Bluedove had to wrestle her down to the ground and hold on for dear life. Sir Kyrie took off her guantlets and shoved her fist into the poor woman's mouth to keep her quiet while Dr. Huang opened his black bag as quickly and as quietly as possible, taking out a syringe with clear liquid, injecting the poor woman. Kyrie let her sleep and came to my side.
The Bear Dogs were taking their time finishing off the woman's husband. At least you couldn't see the baby's body anymore, the big one had finished that one up rather quickly.
As soon as I saw Sir Tom and Dryer-Dan signal from the other side I nodded to Kyrie and we took out our swords. She was new to her shieldright and so felt uncomfortable using one as yet. I followed her example and took out my shortsword, Lorinkir's little brother I used to joke.
The Bear Dogs could smell us as soon as we stepped out into the wind. That's what we wanted. Fifteen is a lot, but I trusted Dryer-Dan's bow arm more than any other and knew five would be dead before they made it to us. We would be able to engage well enough if Tom could make it across the clearing to hit them from behind. If not, well, it's been a good life and at least Huang could get Bluedove and the woman to safety.
General Notes Regarding Culture
Being offered material charity is considered an insult in the world of Dark Kamelot. To simulate this in game terms, characters may not normally lend or borrow money or equipment. If a character wishes to use some item, he must earn it or purchase it himself. Wealthy characters selling expensive items to poor characters at bargain basement prices is also normally not allowed. Characters who take points for being poor need to feel the consequences in game, otherwise it's too easy for the disadvantage to be free points. So, if a character borrows money at any time, he must immediately lose points from his Reputation Pool (see below). Characters that sell items at extremely discounted rates as described above lose ten Reputation Pool points as does the purchaser.
In the world of Dark Kamelot, a person's reputation is everything. If it gets around a person is a coward or betrayer, then his status suffers. In game terms, we'll work reputation for heroic acts into the benefits and rewards of experience and wealth. So, the Director will award reputation points at the end of each game session . . . at times the Director may also deduct points from a player's reputation pool. This reputation pool is loosely associated with the Reputation advantage but represents honorable and heroic reputation rather than fame.
When characters figure any Wealth they gain at the end of a session, then the level of wealth is used as the base modifier with each point in the reputation pool counting as an additional one-tenth (don't worry about the mechanics, the Director does all this behind the scenes). Reputation pool points are likewise treated as tenths and added to any experience character points a character receives, often resulting in fractional character points (negative Reputation Pool points are subtracted from experience character points).
When a character has a negative total of Reputation Pool points, it takes two new positive Repubation points to buy off each negative point.
A Song . . .
Go here, go there, go every damned which way but where I feel like goin'. That's how he treats me. You'd think a grown man would have better things to do with his lover than to treat him like a gopher or fetch-me-this-little-one.
But . . . someone has to make the rules and give the orders, and he's no worse than any and much better than most. I've seen him keep his calm with a hundred screaming mad men breaking through the pikes. Hell, I've actually seen him walk into a Swordcircle nude with no body decorations, just a buckler and a knife against a man in full armor holding a pistol . . . and he never flinched. Of course he spent two months in a hospital with me hovering over him like a nervous nelliekins . . . the other guy got a box and a hole.
When we first hit the line, I thought we were goners. Those damned crawling things kept on coming on and on and on and on and we just got tired and weak and worn out, thirty-seven men fell in no time and they just kept coming and we kept falling. When it looked like it was the end, he stood up and began singing . . . I'm not making this up. He sang the Song of the Alamo and how Sir Davy and Sir Sam and the rest held up against the hordes and kept the Faith in the Grove and the Love of the Crown and I'll be damned if that song didn't fill us with that much more strength and that much more zeal . . . I swear to you, it was a song that kept us alive that day. None of us knew he'd been a Bard before his Knighthood, but we were thrice damned grateful for it. Who would've guessed.
Gotta go. No rest for the wicked.
KNIGHTHOOD (advantage, varies)
The path of Knighthood comes in three stages. At character creation, you may choose any of the stages of Knighthood, depending upon your preference. However, do note the responsibilities and obligations.
KNIGHTLY CANDIDATE: You are working to become a Knight. You have the right to wear a Coat of Arms and to use a shield in combat, to accept quests, to make and answer Swordcircle challenges, and to hospitality from all allied people and nobles. However you have no extra Status nor Legal Enforcement Powers unless specifically given a mission by royal or druidical decree. Your knightly rights are provisional - at the end of a given time, you must return to court and give a true account of your deeds to prove yourself worthy of knighthood. Note that some knights merely get their knighthood from being born into a noble family (via Status); if you are such and become a knight "the hard way" by first being a knightly candidate, it will aid the later development of your Reputation.
KNIGHTHOOD: You receive all the benefits of a Knightly Candidate as well as more Status, Wealth, and Legal Enforcement Powers at the highest level. You may only be legally punished by challenge from another Knight. You gain the right to be called Sir. You have a Duty to the King and the High Druid. All Knights automatically gain the Kamelot Chivalric Code of Honor disadvantage at zero point value.
COMPANION OF THE TABLE ROUND: Prerequisite: Knighthood and Director Approval (may NOT choose this level at character creation but must earn it in session play). This incorporates additional Status, Wealth, Reputation, Patron: Table Round and a personal Duty to King Mordred XIV. A Companion of the Table Round may grant knighthoods. You may not choose Companion at character creation. It has to be earned through experience and deeds. In other words, a player may not just pick this advantage, the character has to earn it through exceptional action.
TRUE KNIGHT'S INVULNERABILITY
The prerequisite for this advantage is any level of the Knighthood advantage. The person with the advantage believes he or she is invulnerable in battle so long as they're not wearing any clothing (torc or small decorative arm bands are allowed). If the character is nude, then once the battle begins make a Will roll (the Director has the statistics for this mechanic). If the Will roll is successful, the character receives advantages in combat.
KAMELOT CHIVALRIC CODE OF HONOR
Player Characters taking the Knighthood advantage gain this code as an automatic Flaw with no advantageous value. While there are Kamelot Ronin who have the status and trappings of knights, they are not true Knights. If you don't want to follow the letter of this code then you should try to gain your status in some way other than becoming a Knight.
You take pride in this set of principles which you follow at all times. This code requires brave and honorable behaviour at all times. A Knight would rather risk death than be thought dishonorable.
As a Knight you must . . . never break your word, never ignore an insult to yourself, to a Lady, or to the U.P.N.A. flag. Insults may only be wiped out by apology or a duel in the Swordcircle of Honor (not necessarily to the death). Never take advantage of an honorable opponent in any way - weapons and circumstances must be equal (except in open war or in the battle against The Shadow - however, even in open war, sides and weapons must be equal if the foe is noble and chivalric). You must resent any insult to your Lord, the King, or the High Druid. You must protect any Lady and anyone weaker than yourself. You must accept any challenge to the Swordcircle of Honor from anyone of greater or equal rank.
Note: Women may be Knights, in that case a Knight may take up arms against a Lady Knight, in lethal combat or otherwise. However some notable Knight Companions of the Table Round such as Sir Bob of Kansas City will not inflict lethal damage even against a Lady opponent who is using a lethal weapon. This is, however, considered rather extreme behaviour even for a midwesterner.
COAT OF ARMS
While these aren't actually rules related, those characters who choose to be of the Knight class type Kamelot Code of Chivalry and must have a Coat of Arms. Include your character's coat of arms design with your character description (a drawing is preferred). For those with characters who are incarnations of persons from the Arthurian legends, you may wish to use a coat of arms traditionally associated with that character (or a modification of the source coat of arms).
Here are some helpful real world places you can look for ideas.
GUNS and GUNNERY
To reflect the chivalrous culture and the general disdain of the use of guns and the lack of training facilities available, gun related skills are more difficult to master in the world of Dark Kamelot. Note the changes in the defaults as well. Do take heed that only persons with the Gun Permit advantage may legally own a gun albeit you may learn how to use one without the permit.
GUNS, ARMOR, AND THINGS THAT GO BOOM
This is a world where the demand for guns simply isn't as high as it is in our own. This is partly because of governmental restraints on manufacturing but mostly because of the Chivalric Code which dictates that a man settle differences honorably by meeting his adversary face-to-face in the Swordcircle of Honor and sticking a sword or other sharp weapon into his gullet.
So . . . you may still buy a gun, ammo, or explosive weapon but the cost is 100 times that listed in the rulebook. Obviously, there ain't a lot of that stuff on the street.
Most Knights don't use armor and it is usually out of the price range for a commoner. When going into battle a Knight would normally rather stand nude and proud with his body decorated in body paints and personally significant jewellry such as a torc or hand and wrist bracelets than to don what would be considered unattractive armor. The only exception might be a small shield or buckler which a Knight would use more as a decoration for his Coat of Arms than as a purely defencive item. Because of this cultural mores and the coinciding lowered manufacturing levels, armor costs are also higher in this world.
Those with any level of the Knighthood advantage may use a sparring weapon that is essentially a blade that delivers a non-lethal electrical shock rather than cutting or impaling damage. These weapons are normally used for training of for Swordcircle of Honor duels or combats in which the participants have agreed the insult is not worth the other's life. It is considered an insult to carry a nonlethal weapon into the Swordcircle against an opponent who has chosen a lethal weapon. However, one's Reputation is enhanced if one spares an opponent in this manner. Calculate a stunblade's damage the same as the lethal variation of the blade - one fourth is lethal "real" damage and the rest is figured as stun only. It is illegal for those not in a Knightly Order to own a stunblade. Stunblades cost twice as much as lethal variations of the same weapon.
The Song of the Gesa . . .
My father always said, "Never face a man in the Swordcircle of Honor whose hand you wouldn't be proud to shake." That seems like reasonable enough advice, why give honor to a man you don't respect.
Of course my father never lived to see me become a Knight. He was killed in the Chinese Incursion into New Delhi in '80. The Eastern Empire was moving big and a lot of our guys died trying to stop it. They say he died on his feet, a hundred arrows and a score more sword cuts all over his body . . . singing the Hymn of the Tuatha while they cut away at him. They say he looked magnificent, a true hero, his smooth dark skin covered in bright blue body paint and shining in the sun, grandfather's golden torc about his neck like a badge of honor, mother's willow wands still tucked into his belt, and his hair spiked straight up in a windmill pattern. His gesa kept him goin' they say until his men were safely fallen back, and then he fell.
I didn't believe in the power or the gesa growin' up but I did after that old beserker died. When the battle rage comes upon me, I can sometimes feel my father with me, singing, and whispering that some day my gesa will arrive too and I know I'll not let him down.
WHO'S RUNNING THIS SHOW ANYWAY?
While I've prepared this campaign background and will very likely be running most of the games, I certainly have no problems with others jumping in and running games of their own. The more the merrier. We'd like to see more folks getting their feet wet with running some games. Once this campaign has been established, others are welcome to run one-shots but it's still my campaign (now, doesn't that read like a schoolboy).
This particular campaign background is based upon a series of flash fiction stories that I began writing while still a student at university in the early 1980s . . . I've always wanted to revisit the world of Dark Kamelot in another medium and here we are.
A Knight's Life of Ease . . .
No one ever said being a Knight would be easy. Well, that's not true, in seventh grade Richie Knowles used to say that's the only reason he wanted to be a Knight. Of course, Sir Richie's dead now . . . half his face eaten away by something big, ugly, and rather unfriendly somewhere in these damned woods. Richie died getting a girl and her dog to safety, amazing how some people turn out differently than you'd expect.
If we had a Druid with us, I'd feel a lot better about entering a dark grove, but we don't and I don't feel good about it at all.
We should have sent someone back into town the moment we found the first corpse, but like idiots we decided to split up and search to make better time. Sir Kai and Sir Michelle are dead for certain, we've found what's left of their bodies, and we can only assume the same of Sir Fred and Sir Ted as they haven't reported in on their walkie-talkies for a good three hours.
By the time we found enough sense to get in the cars and head back to town, the damned thyng had already slashed the tires and torn out the engines. What kind of animal can rip out a Chevy engine? This is ridiculous. Well, it's going to be another one of those nights. Sir Steve and Constable Punch are probably less than particularly glad they decided to come along for the ride this time.
That's it for now. I will keep you posted as things develop. If there's something you would like for your character, feel free to let me know (not all of these folks are what they seem to be . . . in fact, a few of them will be downright different or perhaps even alien). Some of you have already contacted me about your characters and I've tried to incorporate your suggestions and desires into the characters and plots as they develop (more will come later, this is just the teaser).
If you're not on this list of players/characters and you would still like to join the game, please email the Directors (that's us, Brian David Phillips at email@example.com and Lorraine Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org -the sooner, the better so we can write the character into the plots). Feel free to consult the troupe web page at http://www.interactivedramas.info/taiwan.htm for more information and future updates.
The Green Man's Bar Bet . . .
If a stranger walks up to you in a bar and spills his drink on you, don't sweat it. If he doesn't apologize, that's okay, he's probably a little tipsy anyway. If he reaches over, takes your drink, and spills it on himself . . . well then, get out. He's just trouble waiting to happen to someone, don't let it be you. Drunken bets should be taken as air talking, never take someone up on one, no matter how stupid it may sound. Mad men should be left babbling and mumbling to themselves.
I wish I could have the good presence of mind to follow my own advice someday. It'd be so much nicer to be in another bar enjoying a brew and a friendly girl's company than standing out here in the cold next to a headless dead man's body bleeding on the snow.
Actually anyplace would be nicer than standing out here watching a dead man's headless body stand up and hearing that raspy voice croak from the bodyless head upon the ground, "Well, good Sir Knight, it looks like half our deal is done . . . you've taken my head with one stroke as you said you could . . . and now it's my turn to show you I can do the same to you."
If you have not contacted the Directors by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for a character assignment, then please do so now! Players under the age of eighteen need to have parental permission to play and should contact Lorraine with contact particulars (she needs to confirm with your parent or guardian - no bid deal, but we do need to cross our t's and dot our i's with underage players; minimum age for membership in the troupe is sixteen - like many troupes of this type, actual player age range is very very wide from high school students to university students to career professionals and beyond . . . we are all brought together through our common enjoyment of the activity).
If you have not yet joined the troupe's Facebook troupe at http://tinyurl.com/tindrama do it now. Also, be sure to mark yourself as Attending on the scenario event page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178297325513899 although that alone is not enough, you need to contact the Director as soon as possible for a character assignment.
Please remember . . . directly after the interactive drama, we will have a potluck New Year's Day party . . . you are invited and encouraged to stick around and socialize with the other players out of character and in good company. Non-player significant others and friends are invited to join us for this AfterLARP event as well.
Please let us know whether or not you are staying and do coordinate with Lorraine on dishes and beverages.
More information to come as we have a better idea of who will be playing and as Brian makes it up.
Until then, see you in Kamelot . . .
. . . that is.
Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society